Sunday, 4 October 2015

Nothing Like a Deadline...

There's nothing like a deadline to force a girl back to her sewing machine.

I have been in a bit of a slump lately, and a birthday invitation for one of my kids was just what I needed to get back into action.

The party was today, so in typical "me" fashion, I started at 9:00 pm last night.  No time for fancy patchwork  there (plus, quite frankly, if I really feel like sewing something fancy, it will not be for a 10 year old boy).

I really like the vibrant orange against the black and white, and the bold letters.  The layout wasn't planned... I cut my letters way too big and I did not feel like starting over again.  I liked the look so I finished it before I changed my mind!  The raw edge appliqué also serves as part of the quilting, and for the background, I used this:

Well, that wasn't so bad!  except that the birthday party was for two kids, not one!

After much debate, I used one of my "comma" fabrics and some bright blue.  I had planned on using black thread, but I was not too happy with the contrast so I went for cream instead which adds a little bit of definition to the letters.

For the quilting, I went with simple straight lines (well, maybe not that straight) but I forgot to quilt the piece before I appliquéd the letters.  What do you do in such a case?  If you notice, the lines do not go through behind the name.  I just turned around every time I hit a letter, and tried to continue the line on the other side, like this:

More "Comma" fabric for the back...

And here they are together:

I always find it hard to choose fabrics for boys, especially as they get older.  My stash just does not have that much fabric that is appropriate and that will stay relevant for many years.

Seems like I found my happy combination with black &white and a bold colour.  Big thumbs up from my own kids and hopefully the little recipients like it too.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Hot Christmas in July (a mixed quilting/refashioning post)

Today was the July Sew-In of my Guild.  I was only able to go for a couple hours so I needed a low-fuss project with not too many moving parts.  The weather was on the cool side, so I though a little Christmas quilting would be appropriate...  Remember this Christmas-sy top?

Well it's now all sandwiched an pinned and I started quilting a couple days ago.  I thought it would be a great project to take with me.

There was only one problem, though.  I was dressed for cool temperatures but our sewing room felt more like the beach (minus the sun, the sand and the water).  Thankfully my back-up project was not a quilt, but a re-fashion I had been meaning to do ever since I started following Gillian's blog, the Refashionista (go see her blog even if you are only interested in quilting... it's worth it!).  Anyhoo, rather than buy ugly clothes from second hand stores, I figured I might as well work with my own unloved closet.

Today's project is a dress from my early 2000s April Cornell period (anyone remember La Cache stores?  I used to love these stores...) I have not worn this for years, yet I could not bear to give it away.    Here is the before picture:

This is so 2003...

Yikes!  This dress is big, ill-fitting, does not do anything for my shape, and although I like the colour, it's not particularly good for my skin tone.

My plan was very simple:  take in the sides a little, and chop it to make a top.    I would love to show you a picture of the big chop, but whoever tried to take the picture did not actually press on the button... Ironically one of the reasons I waited that long to work on this dress is I wanted help in documenting the how-to...  Well, at least I have this one... thanks Linda!

Notice I am wearing long sleeves?  Man that was hot!

So, one chop and one hem later, I had a new outfit for a hot sewing day!  The whole process probably took 20 minutes...

Don't be fooled, though, it was still cool outside...

I wasn't entirely sure about the angle and the pointy side, but my top got rave reviews from my guild mates and I have to say, it's comfy!  The colour is still not the best for me, but there is less of it, and I think it looks pretty sharp.

And so, dressed with my weather appropriate outfit, I enjoyed working on the Christmas quilt for an hour or so.

Anyone else intrigued by re-fashioning / upcycling? 

PS: to check out my other upcycling / refashioning projects, check the "Upcycling" tab at the top of the page.  It's a work in progress...

Monday, 6 July 2015

T-Shirts to Skirts: the Upcycling Edition

I set aside the quilting yesterday afternoon, dug out the old serger, and transformed three t-shirts and a nightgown into little girls skirts.  So.  Much.  Fun.  It helped that there was already red thread on the serger.  I can't tell you how much I dislike threading that thing...

So, this is what I started with:

I wished I had thought of unfolding the t-shirts, but you get the idea

2 hours and 27 seams later, I have skirts for my girl and her two best friends, twins, who have a birthday coming up.  Here's the first one...

The red one for little Miss L.

And the second one:  goes well with it, but not identical... just like the twins.

The blue one for little Miss O.

As for the third one, it's for my daughter and it's a mish mash of what I had leftover.  The t-shirts actually did not yield that much fabric because they were covered in sponsor logos which I did not want to include.  I worked with what I had, and I have to say, it worked out all right!

This back is kind of interesting.  It was the side of the nightgown, which had a slit and a little ribbon with a heart.   I am glad I thought of keeping it.

And here they are all together.  Not bad for two hours of work and recycled materials, eh?

Now to go make one for myself...

Saturday, 4 July 2015


It's swapping time again!  Last Winter, my guild, Maritime Modern Quilt Guild, had a successful zippered pouch swap with MQG Victoria.  This time, we are swapping pillows with the Edmonton MQG.

Here's mine:

It was hard to get a good picture today.  I know it's kind of weird to take a picture on the the deck, but this is the best I could do inside:

I enjoyed quilting the pebbles but the amount of time it took reminded me never to attempt quilting pebbles on a full size quilt !

I used some leftover bits on the back and inserted a small piece of batting behind the colour bar, and quilted just a few more pebbles.  The rest of the envelope back is plain and unquilted.

 I used velcro for the closure and used permanent ink to include some details.

I hope the recipient likes it.  I am looking forward to receiving my own pillow!

Have you ever participated in a swap?

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Happy - a Finished Quilt

It's a finish! I have not been quilting a lot lately, but every rare minute I have had to sew was spent on this quilt.

Because I don't make that many quilts, I am pretty selective when it comes to giving them away.  Not everyone who deserves a quilt will get one but I can't think of anyone more quilt-worthy than the recipient of this one.

As I mentioned in my last post, this quilt is for a very special lady who works at my kids' school and who is moving this summer.  For the last three years, she has been a strong presence in one of my kids' life, and I wanted to express my gratitude by giving her what amounts to a permanent hug.

The quilt is a generous 64" x 80".  It is made of twenty 16-patch blocks that finish at 16".  There are no real modern fabrics in there, in fact, there are quite a lot of oldies.  I was focused on colour rather than pattern or style.  I started with the three primary colours, then added the secondary colours but found that purple just wasn't working, so I stuck to cheerful fabrics in yellow, blue, red, green, and orange. Lots of florals, lots of dots, some stripes or gingham. Basically, things that make me smile.

I quilted loops in a bright yellow thread.  I am glad I did not go for white.

The Back

I love pieced backings.  I love the look of them, I love using scraps and leftover fabrics, and the fact that you can do whatever you want (well, technically you can do that with the front too).  What I don't like, however, is the amount of creative juice it usually take for what is "just a back".  Not the case here.  I did not overthink it, and it came together like a charm. Of all the pieced backs I have ever made, this was the easiest and the most fun to make. 

Of course, while proudly staring at the quilt back, I could not help but notice some unintentional puckers.  Oh well.  Despite its imperfections, it was made with a lot of love.

Here's a picture taken after the wash.  Can you see the texture?

All nice and crinkled!

Of course, I couldn't resist a nice big quilt roll...


  I tried a few pictures of the folded quilt but, nah...  I'll get back to quilt rolls.


And I include this next one, just because.

How about that quilt holder ???

Goodbyes can be bittersweet, but I am looking forward to last day of school to give the quilt to its new owner.  I know she will appreciate it, and it gives me great joy to be able to thank her that way.

 Made with love and gratitude.
Linking up to TGIFF, hosted this week by Adrienne at Chezzetcook Modern Quilts and to Finish Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Sunday, 31 May 2015

A Happy Quilt Top

The end of June is coming up and I am busy working on a quilt for a seriously quilt-worthy recipient. It will be a thank you and, sadly, a good-bye quilt for someone who has been a bright light in one of my kids' school life for the past three years.

I wanted a large quilt that was not too time consuming (these days, I rarely work in more than 30 minutes increments, and that's when I am lucky...).  I settled on large 16-patch blocks.  Each square is 4" (finished) so the blocks finish at 16".  With a few (short) evenings of work, and a few longer stretches this week-end, I have a quilt top!

Boy is is ever difficult to get a good picture of a large quilt top on a rainy day!

Because I don't know the recipient that well, I wasn't sure what her favourite colours were, so I went with bright, happy colours and fabrics that make me smile.

Now to piece a quilt backing and quilt this baby in the next few weeks.

Stay tuned...

Friday, 29 May 2015

Flying Geese for my Bee Mates

June is coming up, and that means that I am Queen Bee for the Canadians Quilt Bee 2015.

June is a busy time in my household and, I suspect, many of my bee mates' as well.  So it is with "quick and easy" in mind that I chose Flying Geese as my block.

But first...

The Colour Inspiration

Inspiration can come from all sorts of places.  For me, it is my favourite running dress.   (I pause to put in a free publicity plug here: if you run, bike, play tennis, do yoga, or just like to walk around town in stylish sportsy clothes, nuu-muu are the cutest and most awesome athletic dresses you will find).

Instead of using a fancy schmancy palette generator, I just went to the Kona website and copied swatches here.  It does not mean that you need to use these exact colours.  These are just here as a guide, and because it was fun to do!

Top: Basil, Wasabi, Emerald, Grass Green, Sage
Bottom: Chartreuse, Black, Pickle, Leprechaun, Glacier

You can also use whites and light grays, but I did not include swatches because they are too hard to see.

Types of Fabrics

Solids, tone on tone, small prints, flowers, stripes, geometrics...   I would prefer if it did not include other colours in any meaningful way.  Large prints probably would not be the best choice, but if you find one that you think works, go for it.  Here is my first fabric pull, I am sure I will uncover more once I start digging.


I am asking my bee mates for two sets of four geese.  For each set of four, you need four matching 3 7/8" squares and one contrasting 7 1/4" square.

The second set can be identical as the first, or it can be reversed, or it can use one common fabric and one different, or if can be all different.

The Method

I used the quick method that makes four identical geese at the same time.  There are many, many tutorials available using this method, including this one or that one, so no need to re-do another one. Just watch out because some tutorials use slightly different formula for sizes which will result in small inaccuracies.

In a matter of minutes, you will have four geese.  Cut the little "ears" and press.  They should all be 3 1/2" x 6 1/2".  Two of my geese came a little big, so I had to trim them a bit.

The Layout

Once you have one set, sew two geese together in the same direction like this:

Then, sew these two sets together any way you like!  Here are some options:


Repeat with the second set, but please do not sew the two sets together so I can have some flexibility in the layout.

Parting words

I've been wanting to make these flying geese for a long time, but I have to admit they scared me a little.  I can't believe I waited that long! These are very, very easy to make.  I am glad that being the June queen bee provided me the incentive to give it a try.