Sunday, April 29, 2012

Down to the wire - quilting homework.

Pot holder fronts - Bee a {modern} Swapper

Today I made two potholders, which I love. I want to keep these and hope I find time to make some for me too. The fabrics are by Malka Dubrawsky and Melody Miller. If I had thought of it sooner I would have used another Melody Miller print for the centre of the blue one.

Pot holder - Bee a {modern} Swapper

These are for my secret partner in a pot holder swap in the Bee a {modern} Swapper group. These are not the first set of pot holders I made for this swap - but the other ones were quite awful. In fact these are not the second idea I had either. I have decided that when I want to keep them, they are probably good enough to send along to my partner. Who knew pot holders would be so hard.

Pot holder - Bee a {modern} Swapper

I have to tell you that when I put that little bit of red sashing around that cup print, I suddenly knew what I was going to do with the rest of my bits of this fabric. A quilt or some pillows with brightly coloured sashed fussy cuts would look so cool. But I was not distracted - today is my very last day to finish these potholders, they have to be sent tomorrow. I pressed on and finished them.

Pot holder backs - Bee a {modern} Swapper

Here are the backs. There is a layer of insu-brite in them (don't use two, they get too puffy - I know this by way of recent experience, it added to the horribleness of the first set) and I thought that the linen blend in the Melody Miller fabrics would add extra heat protection. These pot holders finished at about 8.25" squares.

Star using HSTs for Shanna, Aqua and Orange Bee

I made that lovely star last night for the Aqua and Orange Bee. Shanna (from Fiber of all Sorts) asked for anything using half square triangles. I am sure this star with the diamond inside has a name but I don't know it, let me know if you do.

Shoo Flies using HSTs for Shanna, Aqua and Orange Bee

This is the other block I made for her. Both blocks finish at 12". It seems I love all Shoo Fly blocks, even the non-wonky kind.

Aqua and Orange Bee - Blocks for Shanna

These blocks look good together. Shanna picked just the best fabrics, there is something about their values and colour range that is just so nice. I think she will have a lovely quilt.

I am off now to finish the lanyard for my partner's name tag for the Fat Quarterly Retreat. The sewing is done on the name tag and the lanyard, but I have a plan that involves stamps and permanent ink - wish me luck.

For all of these projects tomorrow is the last mailing date so I also have to gather some extras for the swaps, prepare mailing envelopes and customs forms. Sometimes it seems like there is a lot of quilting homework.

I hope you have had a lovely weekend.



Wednesday, April 25, 2012

It's Wednesday - some progress and more swaps received

Name tag so far - for my secret partner for the FQ retreat

I have been making a name tag for my secret partner for the Fat Quarterly Retreat in London which I leave for in about one exact month (yahoo!). I am going to put my partner's blog and flickr name on the lanyard using recycled hardware from one I kept after a conference - and technology has wiped out the name in the middle for now. The fabric is Hometown by Sweetwater, in case you were wondering.

Knitting mittens

Since I was travelling last week, I pulled out my knitting. This is very soft 100% alpaca yarn called Melange by Blue Sky Alpacas. I am making mittens, the pattern is called Ceangaltas by Robin Melanson from her book Knitting New Mittens & Gloves. I tend to knit mittens, hats and sweaters in the summer, and shawls in the winter. I don't know why but I just go with it.

Name tag and goodies for me

This loot arrived this week for me from Catherine at Sew Wonderful Life. You might remember that I made a Christmas table runner for Catherine last fall so it was so nice to be partnered with her. It is my name tag for the FQ Retreat. She carefully hand cut and created that Canadian flag, maple leaf and all. And look, a zippered bag too, for my sewing bits - it is perfect, thank you Catherine!

Name tag for me for FQ Retreat

And a close up too, just because it is so cute.

DQS 12 for me from Betsy

This amazing little quilt arrived for me from my secret partner - Betsy from Lily Petunia (BetsyLynn50 on Flickr) in Doll Quilt Swap 12. It is perfect in every way. Carefully pieced tiny log cabins (the logs are about 1/2"), shot cottons, and hand stitching. And those tiny triangles in the corners finish it off so nicely.

DQS 12 for me from Betsy - detail

Look at the details!

DQS 12 for me from Betsy - the whole package

And the whole package. Well there was a magazine too but it migrated immediately to the side of my bed. This last picture did not capture the purples well, you can see the colours better in the other photos. Thank you Betsy, this package and the quilt especially is wonderful!

I need to get back into the Wednesday WIP habit, and I am linking this with WIP Wednesday that Lee hosts at Freshly Pieced, and with the Needle and Thread Network. Both buttons are over on the right side of my blog. So allow me a small list about the rest of my work in progress (next week I will get pictures taken and organized better, I promise):

  • I have prepared backs and basted both the Mystery Quilt and the Summer's Blush quilt - you can read about them here. I hope to have time to do some quilting later this week or on the weekend, although this may have to wait on my finishing some of the other things on this list.
  • I have to figure out what to make and make 4 sample things to swap for the FQ Retreat Sample swap. Any ideas?
  • I just received fabric for a bee block that is due by the end of the month.
  • I have two potholders to pick a design and fabrics for, make and send out by the end of the month.
  • I have three or four other projects I am just itching to start but they are going to have to wait a week or a month or so, I expect.
So wish me luck and I hope to report on all these immediately due items soon.



Saturday, April 21, 2012

Red - Ta Da!


Here is Red. Finished, washed and at her cottage home. Red will hang out with the comfortable leather sofa for cuddling in after a day at the beach or in the garden.


This quilt began with a bunch of Oakshott shot cottons. I pulled the warmer colours from my ColourBox and cut a bunch of strips. I made these blocks with no real plan. I laid out some of the strips on my table and when I liked what I saw I sewed some together. Then I laid out some more. I need to have the pile of strips to do this, it is not my process to work with drawings and coloured pencils or computer images, although I know that works for some.


You can see the shimmer of the shot cottons in this photo. They are woven with a different warp and weft thread which provides the depth of colour and interest to the solid fabrics.

Once I had three blocks of shimmering shot cottons I pieced them with putty coloured Essex linen/cotton blend. The size was determined by how much of the linen was on hand. I found a piece of putty coloured Kona cotton for the back too. I guess you would say that the pattern is my own. You can read more about the process of making Red to this point here.


This picture is of the quilting before I added the binding. I quilted the coloured panels in very dense straightish lines using a red/purple variegated Sulky thread, which I also used in the bobbin to add just a bit of colour to the plain back. Then I quilted the solid part in straightish lines using a putty coloured Valdani thread.

Red - back detail

You can see the quilting on this shot of the back after washing. All the negative space made me worry that my lines would tip to one side, so first I drew guidelines about 3" apart with my hera marker. I quilted the guidelines first and then went back and added more lines until I was happy with the effect.


Here is an indoor picture, after washing and travelling. You can see that the different density of quilting on the coloured panels gives the outside edge a bit of a flare. But since people are not flat, I am not worried at all.


Here is the quilting out in good outdoor light. The texture added to the negative space from the wash and dry is one of my favourite parts.


Red is posing for the artsy shots in the field (you can see the 200 year (or something like that) old Oak tree behind her). I bound her with Essex linen in putty. I am thrilled with the impact created by that little bit of bright lipstick red binding. Red continues to have the sassy, unpredictable nature that sums up red for me.


Red looks good lying horizontal too. She is about 48" by 65" after washing and drying.


And one last shot. She likes the deck, which is good, as it is a great place to stargaze as it gets really very dark here away from the city. The nights here are chilly enough, even in the summer, that a quilt is necessary for star watching - and it is worth staying awake and bundling up, the milky way is easy to see and meteor showers are spectacular.

I almost forgot, Red is my first finish in this quarter of Rhonda at Quilter in the Gap's Finish-A-Long!

I am out to garden today - it looks like it will be a sunny day, and then I go back to the city tomorrow. Enjoy your weekend.

ps. I am linking this finish up to Fabric Tuesday over at Quilt Story, where you can find other wonderful projects. The button is over on the right of this blog.



Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Flowers in yesterday's rain


Some flowers for your day. A daffodil.


Some cheeky orange daffodils.

Grape Hyacynths

There are grape hyacinths everywhere hiding in the weeds.

Magnolia in the rain

The Magnolia received bad snow damage but it is blooming for me nonetheless.

I took these all late yesterday when I arrived on the west coast. It was raining and cold - I made a roaring fire in the wood stove and fell asleep reading a book.


The Camellia bush is right at my back door. The deer eat most of the flowers but a few that are sheltered are beautiful.

Spring flowers

If it would stop raining, I could rest here after some gardening, pruning and grass cutting. It looks like some blue sky might overcome the clouds and the rain has stopped for now. If the rain wins out, I have a sewing project or two ready to do, so I am good either way.



Sunday, April 15, 2012

A QAL, a swap and a bee.

Stained QAL blocks 1 and 2

There are the first half of my blocks for the Stained QAL which is being hosted by Sarah from Narcoleptic in the Cupboard. Although keeping all those lines of sashing even remotely straight is beyond me, these blocks are a dream to make, perfect after a long week. I hope to make the rest of the blocks soon, maybe today. These fabrics are Echo by Lotta Jansdotter and Kona Charcoal.

Crocus mug rug for me from Karen, sewgentle

Take a good look at that beautiful mug rug. It arrived this week for me in the Scrappy Mug Rug Swap from my secret partner Karen - sewgentle on flickr. Do you notice the earthworms quilted into the dirt? Can you see the layers on layers of applique? The crocuses are prefect! And the background fabric is all about spring flowers! This is stunning, even the binding is brilliant and I am thrilled to have it.

Crocus mug rug for me from Karen, sewgentle

I wanted to show you the whole package. I mentioned somewhere that I was drawn recently to red and orange colours so she found some fabrics with both for me. And that note paper - it was hand silk screened 45 years ago! I was so spoiled with this package, thank you Karen!

Baby Geese

I cannot resist  again showing you the mug rug I sent to Aylin - Nilya2011 on flickr. She is an awesome quilter and designer, and I am happy to report that she has now received it and loves it.

The coaster

And that little "coaster" above is the extra I sent to Aylin. It felt wrong not to provide a functional mug rug and the tiny geese were not made for a mug to be set upon. This rainbow coaster is happy to hold a mug of drippy coffee or tea any time.

Wonky stars received so far from the Twelve Month Quilting Bee

These are the wonky stars that I have received so far from my bee mates in the Twelve Month Quilting Bee. I am the last person on the roster and then this bee is completed. There are a couple more to arrive, and I am so excited to make these into a quilt. The largest ones are 18" squares and that tiny purple on is 3". I might add a few small ones as I figure out how to arrange these, but it is going to be an awesome quilt. The women in this bee are lovely and it has been a pleasure to be a part of it.

It was a short working week last week but it felt like an eternity - some difficult projects are underway - so there was not a lot of quilting done. I am planning a few days at my cottage next week, so if it is not raining I may be able to send you some spring flower pictures. Here at my house it has been snowing again - all day yesterday and it just stopped late this morning. It will certainly melt in a day or two, but it means my small garden here has to wait, again.

I am off to decide what projects to pack and then to do a little shopping. I leave Tuesday, unless some work gets in the way - cross your fingers for me please. Enjoy your Sunday.



Monday, April 9, 2012

Finish - A - Long - Q2

Mystery Quilt - basted

I'm in for Quarter 2 of Rhonda at Quilter in the Gap's Finish - A - Long. In Q1 I got 3 quilts done, amoungst a bunch of swaps, bee blocks, tutorials, and such. The FAL truly works for me.

My list still includes the Mystery Quilt from the Mystery QAL Sheila at the Bluepatch Quilter patiently ran last spring. I am way behind on the finishing but at least now it is basted. I welcome ideas on the quilting, I am still not sure what to do. I need to quilt and bind this wonderful quilt.


I am adding in Red. That might be cheating a bit, as I just started her last week. But since Red is not finished, maybe I can squeeze her in, she needs to be bound - I finished the quilting on the weekend.

Top done

This quilt top is made from the Summer's Blush pattern. I prepared a darker grey back last night and so it needs to be basted, quilted and bound. I want this as a picnic quilt so need to get on with it before picnic season.

And then there were 9

These beautiful butterfly blocks need to be made into a quilt. I am waffling between sashing and no sashing (if none, I will need to make more blocks so you can guess which way I am leaning). This screams spring to me so it needs to be done soon or spring will be gone. It needs to be finished into a top, basted, quilted and bound.

A Kiss in Time, so far

A Kiss in Time is still on the pile, another hold over from Q1. I did not even pull this one out all quarter, so I will try harder this spring. It needs to be finished, basted, quilted and bound.

And then there were 4 - LBSP Blocks

The last holdover from Q1 - these LBSP blocks need some friends. I did make some more HST units last quarter, but then I got distracted. Let's see if I can get this one finished too.

Cutting the Stained Quilt - on my new table

 Finally, I want to finish my Stained Quilt from Sarah at Narcoleptic in a Cupboard's QAL. I am embarrassed to admit that I have only cut about a third of the fabrics so far, so I am so far behind it is sad. however, I set up a new cutting table in my sewing area yesterday and am so excited that I can now cut without having to either set up in the kitchen or suffer a screaming back. So I am going to finish cutting, making the blocks, basting, quilting and binding this one. I am using Echo, with is so wonderful, that I am sure I can do it this quarter.

Well, today I am the optimistic one. I do have some other quilting homework too - swaps, bee blocks, FQ Retreat samples and name tag, and then there is my old friend Startitis, who gets really bad in the spring. One can dream, let's see how I do.

If you have not yet joined the FAL, you have a few more days to link up your plan.

2012 Finish-A-Long

I hope everyone is enjoying a lovely Easter weekend. I am going to enjoy this beautiful and sunny  Monday mostly off from work, and I am back at it tomorrow.



Thursday, April 5, 2012



Meet Red.

Red needs a back and then I plan to heavily quilt her with straightish lines. The background is a putty coloured Essex Linen and the red parts are Oakshott shot cottons from my ColourBox.


A couple of nights ago, after finishing most, but not all, of my quilting homework that is due anytime soon, I just wanted to make something for me. So I pulled all the warm shades from the stack of Oakshotts and cut two strips from each.


That is the first panel I made and that is the best picture I could take of it until this afternoon. I have so wanted to make something just for me using this stacked strip modern art sort of approach since I made the solids quilt last summer and the solids sewing machine cover recently for my secret partners.


Last night I made two more panels, and I picked the background. It was between this putty colour and the lighter creamy colour of Essex Linen. Today was snow day - we had a storm and over 1 foot of snow, although it is now melting and turning to ice - so I skipped work and spent some of the afternoon piecing the top.


It is really hard for my camera to take pictures of these various warm shades together but just the right amount of sun came out. Now you can see the shine on these 100% cotton shot cottons.


In person they are even shinier.


Those three pictures gave you a close up of each of the coloured panels, they can all be called red but one is more purple and one is more orange and the last one is more red.


This picture shows you  the different warp and weft thread colours and now you can look for that in the other pictures. Besides being thinner and shinier than regular quilting cotton, shot cottons have a lot of depth and interest caused by these different coloured threads, and thus the colours blend well in this kind of block.


There is Red with her colours in the sun, although the background is slightly darker in real life, more like the shady side. I wanted to orient this quilt to have the colours at the top right of the rectangle because that is the place my brain least wants those colours, and the focus of the quilt, to be. It is just a bit unbalanced, unpredictable, on the edge, out there, sassy, which is how I feel about Red.

I am so looking forward to several hours of quilting this one, it is about 60" by 75".