Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A pattern give away!

My friend Jess, from Elven Garden Quilts has given me a copy of her new pattern, Block Flower to give away to one of my readers. This is a fun and fast fat quarter friendly pattern which is great for showing off larger scale prints.

Jess is my incredibly talented and smart partner in the Decipher Your Quilt project, which has been moving slowly this summer - there will be a post about circles on Thursday this week and then we are off for another month until September 18. We did not think you would mind getting the quilt math in slow doses while we cope with the stuff that life throws at us. But I digress.

Jess's pattern testers did great work and you can see many different and beautiful versions of this lovely pattern on Jess's blog here. Go and have a look and then come back here, I'll wait. You can buy a copy of this pattern for the next two weeks at 50% off in Jess's Craftsy shop, here. If you buy one now and then win a copy, Jess will happily refund you your purchase price.

To enter the draw to win my copy of the pattern, just leave me one comment per person on this post letting me know if you are making quilts these days or working on other things. I will keep the draw open until Thursday noon and announce the winner on Thursday evening. If you win, you could always start working on this pattern for the weekend.

Courthouse step block

And just a short update on my own sewing. Tonight I made that courthouse step block from some Cotton + Steel basics fabrics. I am hoping that with some quilting, it will represent the theme urban contrasts for my Four in Art group. I need to finish it before August 1, so you will know soon if I manage to pull this one off. Regardless, it has affirmed my huge desire to make a courthouse step block quilt.

cross stitched flying geese

And there are my 11 rows of cross stitch flying geese - which is all the stitched geese there will be. I need to finish this project off as it is due to be mailed on August 4 to my secret partner for the Big Stitch Swap. Right now I am leaning towards finishing it off as a hoop, but we shall see. Those few cross stitched geese (165 geese in total) took me about 11 hours to stitch up, so I am thinking that maybe they deserve to be celebrated as they are. I also think I am a very slow cross stitcher but I love the effect of cross stitched quilt blocks.

So don't forget to enter the draw to win Jess's lovely pattern.



Saturday, July 26, 2014

Some work In progress

cross stitched geese - in progress

I thought I would talk about some work in progress as things seem to move much slower when I am at the coast and there are no finishes to show off. I am stitching some flying geese for my secret partner in The Big Stitch Swap. I'm still not sure what this will be - maybe a hoop of colourful geese, maybe part of some kind of pouch or bag.  I have a week to get it done before it is time to mail.

I went shopping for hoops and new threads and linen yesterday. I'm excited to start stitching. #bigstitchswap

You can see my limited colour scheme from the shopping trip last week. I should have bought the 50 colour pack of threads but this felt like a lot. I might get some more tomorrow. It's been a long while since I cross stitched, and it is lovely to be doing it again. It used to be something I was always working on.

My new gazebo

I've been stitching in my new gazebo. I have already tied up all that netting, it is rather useless as the insects fly in and then cannot leave and it flies about in the wind. But the gazebo is a great place to sit and stitch or nap or read.

Improv log cabin blocks

At Quilt Market I picked up a bundle fabrics called color:FULL by Jennifer Sampou, which the internet says will not be for sale until October. I so love this group of prints and textured woven fabrics so I decided to make them into improv log cabins which are hopefully not wonky. The picture above shows the beautiful saturated colours.

The blocks so far, although the light is poor.

As of tonight I have 9 blocks done, and the light is not great anymore but you get the idea. This is going to be a nice, soft and tactile winter quilt, with an old fashioned air to it. In fact I am imagining it on the sofa in front of the roaring fire in a beautiful log cabin while the snow falls outside. Maybe I am the only one who loves to work on winter quilts in the heat of the summer and dream of living in a log cabin?

Tomorrow is a day at the beach. I think I will take those flying geese along and see what happens next. I hope you are having a lovely weekend.



Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Pointed - Ta Da!


I finished and named this quilt Pointed yesterday. She is 50" square and is made from Michael Miller fabrics and a bunch of solids that were on my shelf. After the helpful input of the Instagrammers, I decided on a black binding to match the sashing. I have to say that working with black is not the easiest thing, but it sure makes the colours pop.

The Michael Miller fabrics in Pointed

Pointed is the quilt I made for the Modern Quilt Guild Michael Miller fabric challenge. The lovely folks at Michael Miller Fabrics send participating modern quilt guilds and members the above set of fat eights of fabric. The challenge was to make something quilted with them. The rule was that you could add any solid or any other Michael Miller print or solid you wanted to but no other fabric.

Improv diamonds

I decided to make improv diamonds using a white and grey solids. I trimmed each diamond to a rectangular shape.

Improv diamond top in progress

I decided to use some Kona black fabric for the background. I laid out the improv diamonds in a roughly diamond shape and then measured and cut pieces to fill in the spaces. There were a few resulting Y seams, which I, invariably encounter when working this way. I like to think they are there to remind me that improv is not that easy.


I quilted Pointed with wavy lines using a light grey slightly variegated Wonderfil thread. I wanted the quilting to be a strong feature and to not obliterate the feature fabrics.


By the time I had the top together, all that black and orange was looking a lot like Halloween to me. So I embraced that theme and picked these Michael Miller fabrics for the back. The oranges are by Laura Gunn and the black birds are by Violet Craft - two of my most favourite fabric designers. This quilt is going to be my fall lap quilt, with just enough Halloween-y feel to it to work.


You can see the scale better on my new garden swing - the swing will seat three people. Also, you can see that we are in the height of summer here when the grass turns brown if you don't water it and since water is in short supply on this island, the grass is not watered.


The grass is also longish, so it makes the quilt a bit bumpy - maybe more like it might appear draped over a person - when you toss it down but in real life it is square.

Finish Along 2014
A Lovely Year of Finishes

This quilt is also a finish for Q3 of the FAL and my July finish for AYOLF.



Sunday, July 20, 2014

Breathe - Ta Da!


Here is Breathe. She is about 65" square after washing - she pulled in about 5" on each axis when I washed her. She is made from Kona cottons and Essex linen borders and binding. The matchstick quilting was done with Aurifil and Superior cotton threads in various colours.

I quilted her on my Millennium APQS longarm and the lines were all placed freehand without any computer or channel lock assistance. I need to point out that this is not that hard a thing to do on my nicely levelled Millennium as the machine likes to go horizontally. It is more a matter of not "over steering" than anything else to make the lines straight. In fact the harder part is to wobble them every so slightly while keeping the lines really close together for the industrial modern look I am trying to achieve.


I was trying to capture the concept of air, breath, calm and lightness. It is only fitting that when I had decent light and enough quilt holders, it was a bit windy.


There she is, breathing. And showing off my team of expert quilt holders in their chosen beach footwear.


The binding and borders are Essex linen. I think it is my favourite fabric ever. After washing, both the binding and the quilt have the industrial modern - think warehouse loft - texture and feel that I am hoping to achieve. You can also see a bit of the thread colours in this shot. I used whites, greys, blues, yellows, and purples, changing them randomly or when the bobbin was done.


Breathe is part of a series of quilts I call my Cycles quilts because the series began with a mini called Cycles. If you want to see them all, check out the My Quilts tab at the top of the blog.


While I made this quilt, I was stressed and worried and too busy, pulled in too many directions, and trying my best to manage everything everyone needed. I kept reminding myself to just breathe.


The back of this quilt was pieced to feature fabrics that I had on hand which also evoked the feeling of air.


The quilting and the thread changes look great on the back too.

You can see a bit of the yellow thread at the bottom of this photo of the back.


Despite the look of the photos, she really is square and flat.

I took that picture above to give you a bit of scale. She is lying on my king size bed below the pillows.


To me the darkest blue circle goes at the bottom right, but I think she looks good from most any angle.


I did keep breathing as I made this quilt. The outside forces have calmed for the summer now, and everything got done, all goals were achieved for everyone and we are now left, in my family, to try to just relax, refocus and to breathe, before the onslaught of new challenges in the fall.

Enjoy your Sunday, I plan to be back in this space much more often now.



Saturday, July 12, 2014

Q3 FAL Hopes and Dreams list

Finish Along 2014

Q3 in the FAL is always my hardest to decide on the list. I am going to be at the beach for a good chunk of it (leaving soon I hope) and there is just less time and inclination to sew there. So in many respects, work on the list may be pushed in September, but who knows what one wants to work on then??

I hope you are making your list too, it is time to link it up over at Katy's blog, the Littlest Thistle. You can jump into the FAL now, no need to have been part of it up to now, but you only have till July 14 at midnight, Scotland time to get your Q3 list linked, so time to get to it.

So here is my list for Q3:

No - for the No quilt

1. The No quilt is a project near to my heart, and has sat mostly stalled. I am putting it on the list because I really, really want this quilt finished. I have sent this project out to the beach ahead of me, so maybe it will come together.

Mystery Quilt - basted

2. Mystery quilt - This is the most beautiful quilt top I have made - Sheila's pattern and teaching have a lot to do with that. I have been too scared to quilt it, but now I have the long arm. I have had a fair bit of practice.  I am hoping this will be a September quilting project and finish.

Ocean Waves - top

3. Ocean Waves - these are the blocks are from my bee mates in Always Bee Learning. I'm going to cut the fabrics for six more blocks so I can finish off those open "circles" at the top that have been bugging me. If I can get the blocks done this summer, I can quilt the top in September and have it ready for the holiday. You might not see it well but these are lovely winter, holiday fabrics.

The improv diamond quilt is quilted

4. Modern Quilt Guild Michael Miller Fabric Challenge quilt - clearly it needs a better name. This is due soon, and needs a binding and a wash, so I am hopeful it will for sure be done. A project with an impending deadline will ensure I have at least one finish to report later, right?

Pillow in progress - Canvas pattern

5. Quilt this mod 70's style Canvas pillow top and make a back and install the zip. It's going in my suitcase, finished or not. I wanted it for the sofa at the coast, I best get it done.

Pillow in progress - Canvas pattern

6. The other mod 70's Canvas pillow: ditto.

Scarf - in progress

7. Patchwork-like knitted scarf: I started this last summer at the coast, so it is fitting that I finish it this summer. I have a dream of wearing it in November with a new fall jacket. Maybe a cool leather jacker? I have about half finished now, so totally possible, another for the suitcase.

Canvas baby quilts, in progress

8. Two bindings - It seems like a cheat to list these separately as they have always been a pair in progress. The Canvas baby quilt on the left needs to be trimmed and bound, the one on the right needs a binding removal and replacement. Why has this been stalled for a couple of months now, it is a project that takes no time at all? Putting it on the list may get it done.

It's a beautiful day and besides this list, my yard needs my attention and I need new running shoes. Enjoy your Saturday, link up your Q3 lists.