Saturday, December 31, 2011

Glancing back, 2011 was a very good year.

2011 - finished quilts and some of their backs

These are the quilts I finished in 2011. For me, this is a lot of quilts. I started quilting in March of 2010 and I started blogging in March of 2011, so some of you would have seen most of these quilts on this blog already. I want to thank all of you who visit my blog and flickr pages, providing encouragement and support - it is so fun and inspiring to be part of the quilting internet community.

2011 - Other things I made

Here are many of the other things I made in 2011. I have not included Quilting Bee Blocks in this group.

2011 - Wall quilts, swap quilts I sent

This group is mini quilts and swap quilts I made, as well as the mug rug I sent off. I see that I put the fabric basket I sent with the scrap swap in the group above, it seems that mosaic making is not my strong suit.

2011 - Things made for me

And the best are last, these are the things that my internet friends have sent to me over this year. Swap items, pay it forward gifts, bee blocks, and the wonderful pillow I won. Although things seem to take a long time to get to my house, I sure have received some wonderful pieces from wonderful quilters.

I hope that you have had a creative and fun 2011. I am looking forward to 2012 where we can all continue our quilting journey. All the best to you and yours for the new year!

p.s. I have linked up to Lynne's Fresh Sewing Day. I hope you visit there and check out everyone's projects.

Fresh Sewing Day


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Winter break

A little trimming.

In between the several days of Christmas guests, I managed to sew a few blocks. These HSTs are made by sewing a big double X across two pieces of a layer cake turned right sides together and then cutting a + and then cutting an X. I will photograph it for you next time I make some more units. You get 8 HST units out of that process. Then I trimmed them to size - they are 4" squares.

A few more blocks - Summer's Blush quilt

Here are the 9 blocks I have finished so far. The pattern is called Summer's Blush by Roslyn at Bloom. I am using a Reunion layer cake (by Sweetwater). As I have said, this version is not very blushy but these colours bring out the bold geometric design. I am keen to get to the sashing, which makes the light grey corners into nine patches.

Making cranberry jelly

This is one of my favourite Christmas photos, I think. Making the cranberry jelly - the colours always just capture the holiday for me.

The FUNC is hanging out with the pretty wall quilts.

And an update for Rhonda at Quilter in the Gap, you can see the FUNC. He is hanging out with the pretty wall quilts in my sewing room. I will try to take him out to see the sights this weekend, as he is off on the road again on Tuesday for sure. These pretty quilts were made for me, the one on the right (the churn dashes - this is the back, I turn it over from time to time)  is from Karen who blogs at KarensCosmos for DQS 11 and the one on the left is from Shevvy who blogs at Shevvy, quilting in London for my pay it forward gift.

I hope you all have been enjoying the holidays, with family, friends and community. I have had the best time - the guests were wonderful, the gifts just right, the food yummy, and now I am enjoying the quiet lazy days at the very end of this year.



Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Greetings on the Winter Solstice.

241 Tote

I made another 241 Tote (pattern by Anna Graham at Noodlehead here), this one is a Christmas present. It seems that I have succumbed to the urge to make handmade gifts.

241 Tote, inside detail

The fabrics are Echo by Lotta Jansdotter. I decided to make this bag at the last minute, and in 2.5 hours it was ready to go - this is an easy pattern with a great result and I recommend it. I am not planning any other handmade gifts, unless another last minute urge strikes.

Modern Christmas Table Runner - received from Vicky

This is the Modern Christmas Table Runner that I received from my secret partner, Vicky, who blogs at Patchwork Palace. It is perfect! It has trees and stars, just what I was hoping for. And she picked fabrics that work perfectly with my cherry coloured table.

Modern Christmas Table Runner - received from Vicky

It fits exactly right and will be on my table for the holidays. This room has a lot of ambiance - well it is fairly dark all the time - these pictures were taken just after lunch.

Modern Christmas Table Runner - detail

Here you can see the quilting details, which are lovely. Thank you Vicky, I am thrilled with this runner!

Beautiful felt owl from Vicky

And look at the cute little owl she also sent me. He is already on my Christmas tree. This owl is made from the most beautiful feeling felt. I had never experienced felt like this so I have already ordered some for me from Vicky's source - Laura at Lupin Handmade and Laura's lovely blog is Bugs and Fishes.

Tomorrow I am hoping to finish working at noon and then start some holidays. Oh, and I have to tell you that the F.U.N.C. has arrived at my house, all the way from Judith in Ireland. I am going to take him out to show him the sights and I think he will have to spend Christmas at my house before I send him on his next journey. I'll see if I can get some pictures before he heads off next week.

And, today is the winter solstice, the darkest day of the year, but that also means that starting tomorrow the days get longer again, which makes it one of my favourite days of the year.

All the best to you and yours for this holiday season! I hope that you savour the moments, have plenty of laughs, and relax too.



Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Stars Quilt - Done in time for the holidays!

Christmas Stars

My Christmas Stars Quilt is all finished, washed and dried! I started this quilt a long time ago, by Christmas last year I had finished the wonky stars and basted it. Then it went on the pile.

Christmas Stars

It was always my plan to give hand quilting a try with this quilt, and that is why it stayed on the pile - I did not really know how to hand quilt. Then when Rhonda, from Quilter in the Gap, and Rachel, from Contented, made the Duo QAL with its focus on the quilting, both free motion and hand quilting, I knew it was time to take it off the pile. So as to play along nicely with the QAL, first I made the ROYGBIV Log Cabin Quilt, but then they let me sneak in this one for the hand quilting.

The finished quilt is about 48" x 60" and is made out of Kate Spain's 12 Days of Christmas fabrics with Kona White. The binding is a light pink flannel with red dots and the back is flannel too.

Christmas Stars

I used perle cotton and hand stitched around each of the 20 stars. I learned that the stitches are going to be organic, adding texture and colour, not fine needlework. I do love how the hand stitches look, but my very sore fingers are not really fond of this hand stitching - they would rather knit, or do cross stitch, petit point, or embroidery, anything but this.

Christmas stars

So, after I outlined the 20 stars, using 4 different colours, I took the quilt to my machine and added big asterisk - * - stars in the resulting empty squares and smaller asterisk stars in the middle of the wonky stars so that there was enough quilting to keep the quilt together. The amount of quilting is still fairly light and the finished quilt is soft and snuggly.

Christmas Stars

We actually had a little sun this afternoon and so this is a shot before I bound it and washed it. I applied the binding by machine, following the careful coaching that Marianne (The Quilting Edge) provided. Although I clearly need a lot of practice, she is right - it is so much easier and far faster to do the binding by machine.

Package from Sarah

And this loveliness is from Sarah, Narcoleptic in the Cupboard. Several weeks ago she mentioned that she was happy to give this wonderful fabric away. Well I put my hand up immediately. She sent it to me along with the lovely fabric box and matching perle cotton.

Fabric box in use

I have decided this little box is perfect for keeping my scissors, seam ripper and other tools that I need handy tidy on my sewing table. They fall off a lot less now.

Christmas tree 2011

We did decorate our Christmas tree yesterday but I am still challenged to get a nice overall photo. Here is a little peek instead.

I hope you are enjoying the last week of holiday fun and excitement. I finally made a shopping list and spent a wonderful couple of hours at the bookstore with my kids last night. Despite all the fuss, I love this time of year, with bright lights and shiny ornaments - a time for sharing and for family, friends, and community.

I've added a link to Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story and the Needle and Thread Network. There are lovely projects there if you have a minute or to to be inspired.

Fresh Poppy Design



Friday, December 16, 2011

The winners are....

241 Tote

The Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day (for a week) is over. Thank you for the opportunity to participate in such a huge giveaway event!

Of the 420 entries for the 241 Tote (made with Anna Graham's lovely pattern), Debra has won!

For those of you who did not win, I recommend this pattern. It is easy to follow, and the tote is a fairly quick project.

And of the 763 entries for the Echo fat quarter bundle, by Lotta Jansdotter, (read about her here at Windham FabricsRachael has won!

Congratulations to you both! 

I also am a winner, because I now have a great number of book and movie recommendations for relaxing by the fire over the holidays and baking ideas for this weekend and next week in preparation for the holidays. I have tried to respond to each comment, but there were so many that I was not able to get to all of you. 

Thank you to everyone for taking the time to share their ideas and recommendations with me as you visited all the giveaways. 

And welcome to all the new followers - although following my blog did not give people an extra entry in the contests, I am happy to see that some of my visitors thought they should follow along for the future. 

Now that all that excitement is over, I hope to get back to sewing and baking this weekend. Oh, and time to get some shopping done too. Enjoy the weekend!



Monday, December 12, 2011

Would you like a 241 Tote? Giveaway Day begins.

241 Tote

Welcome to Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway Day. I am giving away this 241 Tote, which I made from the pattern by Anna Graham at Noodlehead. It is made from Amy Butler fabrics that were in my stash.

241 Tote

The inside features a large pocket and a snap closure. I had a lot of fun making this tote and I recommend the pattern.

241 Tote

My name is Leanne and welcome to my blog. I hope you might take a minute to look around at the quilting projects that I share here. You do not need to follow this blog to enter the contest, but if you like what you see, I would love you to follow along.

241 Tote

It could be hanging on your door handle. If you would like to enter to win this tote you need to leave me a comment on this post. Only one comment per person, please (I will remove extra ones). I plan to relax a lot over the holidays, so please recommend a book or a movie to enjoy while sitting by the fire.

I will draw a random winner after 6 pm on Friday December 16, 2011. If you have not attached an email to your profile, please leave it in the comment. If there is no way to contact you, I will draw again immediately. I am happy to ship anywhere in the world from my home in Canada.

Edited to add: Already I have a bunch of "no-reply" comments. Please add your email to your comment if you are not certain your email address is attached to your profile. If I cannot reach you and you are the winner, I will draw again.

I am also giving away some fabric - Echo by Lotta Jansdotter, so if you have not entered that contest, please click here to do that now. And click the button to go back to Sew Mama Sew so you can enter the rest of the give aways.

Thank you everyone, this giveaway is now closed. The winner is Debra

Enjoy the contest hopping!



Sunday, December 11, 2011

Swaps are fun!

Christmas Scrappy Mug Rug - from Dawn (guiltyquilter) to me

This wonderful mug rug was made for me by Dawn, who is guiltquilter on Flickr, for the Christmas Scrappy Mug Rug Swap. There is no way a mug will ever get near it - it is going on the wall in a place of honour.

And for the photography types, that picture made it to Explore on Flickr.

Christmas Scrappy Mug Rug - from Dawn (guiltyquilter) to me

Look at those embroidered reindeer, even Rudolf with a red beaded nose - they are beyond cute.

Christmas Scrappy Mug Rug - from Dawn (guiltyquilter) to me

The trees are decorated too, with carefully placed beads.

Christmas Scrappy Mug Rug - from Dawn (guiltyquilter) to me

And here is the whole package, Dawn really spoiled me - she was a great partner to draw.

Scrappy Mug Rug Swap - sneak peak

This is the close up of a corner of the mug rug I sent Dawn. This swap was not secret, instead we were assigned partners. As a result, the pictures we posted as we went were only sneak peaks.

Scrappy Mug Rug Swap - sneak peak

This is another sneak peak. You can see the fmq star I made. I think you might see those stars again on another project soon.

Scrappy Mug Rug Swap - for Dawn, guiltyquilter

And here is the entire mug rug. I paper pieced the tree using this a free pattern from Forest Quilting. I  thank Karen from Laughter in Quilts for the inspiration. She used the tree in her wonderful table runner (do click that link and take a look, it is wonderful) for the Modern Christmas Table Runner Swap and pointed out the source of this lovely pattern.

When I made this mug rug, my plan was to just make the tree. But as I looked at it, I realized that it was unlikely anyone would put a mug on it. So I added the 1" patchwork squares which make a big enough surface for my large size mugs.  This fabric is 12 Days of Christmas by Kate Spain and was the left over scraps from the Wonky Christmas Stars Quilt I started last year.

By the way, this photograph also made it to Flickr's Explore - pretty cool.

I am working on the hand quilting on the Wonky Stars Christmas Quilt and will soon show it off, but hand quilting is slow and my fingers hurt.

Come back tomorrow, as I will have a couple of give aways for the Sew Mama Sew give away week.



Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Sewing curves is not hard - Seriously

I came home from work today and opened my Google Reader to see that a friend was having trouble sewing Drunkard's Path Curves. So I was compelled to make a real video and post it on Youtube. I enlisted my youngest son to be cameraperson and also technical advisor.

This video was made in one take (since all he did was  pause the video game he was playing) - there was no time to practice, set up, rehearse, or write a script. The video is 1:18 minutes. It shows you exactly what I do in exactly the time it takes. The only editing was to add the title screen at the front via iMovie and then we uploaded it to Youtube.

Drunkard's Path unit after pressing
Here is the unit from the video, after I pressed it. I did not invent this approach but maybe it will help you to see that I can do it, and I am not a quilting superstar or pro or anything but a still relatively new quilter.

Here are the tricks to sewing Drunkard's path curves:

1. Remember that the two fabrics need to meet only at the point of the needle.

2. In the video, I mention that I am lining the pieces with my 1/4" foot because I have one that I use for piecing. But you don't need a 1/4" foot, just line the pieces with the spot on your usual piecing foot where you usually line up the fabric to piece with a 1/4" seam. The point is to have the pieces lined up at the 1/4" mark as they go under the foot. Then they will be at that spot when they get to the needle because the foot will hold them in place as the feed dogs move the fabric forward.

3. Don't pull hard on either of the fabric pieces, they will stretch if you do because you have cut curves which are therefore cut on the bias of the fabric.

4. Keep the top piece up while you are sewing, like in the video.

5. Sew relatively slowly, but it is not a slow process.

6. When you iron the unit, press the wrong side first and press the seam allowance from the L shape side to the curve shape side (toward the the orange side on this one) gently, then turn and press the front toward the curve shape (orange part).

That's it.

More butterfly blocks

Here is one of the blocks I have been working on again so you can see the curves, all nicely pressed. No curve was pinned and not one was ripped out. I did trim the quarter circle units down to size for this butterfly block. This block was inspired by Megan at Canoe Ridge Creations tutorial which is here.

You too can sew curves easily, without pins or special stuff. Seriously. You can.

Let me know how you do.


ps. I will edit this post as people point out things that are not covered or that don't make sense.

Wednesday's progress - new projects, old projects.

More hand quilting

This is my first attempt at hand quilting. After doing the first two stars on Sunday night, I asked my internet friends, via Flickr, for encouragement. And encouragement came - loads of it, so I carried on. Now I have 5 stars outlined, this is four of them.  I am learning to embrace the large and uneven stitches as folksy organic (I am editing this and am going with Marg's expertise on this - see her comment) and adding texture and colour. Fine needlework, this is not, I need a lot of practice.

Christmas Stars - finishing last year's project

Here is the entire Christmas Wonky Star quilt. I made this top last year about this time, sandwiched it and put it away. I hope to get it finished in time for some holiday TV and movie watching. So, it is an old project, but feels new again.

And then there were 9

You might remember the blocks I did for the 5 x 4 Bee this fall. Well, I am not done with the funky butterfly version of the drunkards path block. My blocks were inspired by Megan, at Canoe Ridge Creations' tutorial.

I think I will make 12 or 16 blocks and then sash them with larger white strips so the butterflies float. This fabric is Terrain by Kate Spain. This photograph does not do the colours justice. I promise to take the next project photograph in the daylight, but it is dark here a lot of the time now.

A new project - I bought a pattern

And these are just for fun. I purchased a pattern called Summer's Blush from Bloom (you should click through to see her version, the name is perfect for her fabrics) because I loved the bold geometric block. The sashing will add another light square so that there will be a nine patch at each corner. The fabric I am using is a layercake of Reunion by Sweetwater that just appeared at my LQS a month ago (the fabric is not out yet).

So there is a story to these blocks. First, they are a joy to put together, almost no tricky seams and the pattern is easy to follow.

But, I prewash every fabric I can and so I threw the layercake in the washer and dryer. Well, it shrunk, as all fabric does. After the wash the pieces were 9.25" x 9.5" instead of 10" x 10". This pattern  cleverly uses the 10" x 10" layercake very effectively so I did not have big enough layercake fabric pieces anymore. I have adapted the size of each pattern piece, so my blocks are not quite the same as the pattern, but they are still good, I think.

I still have to decide if I am sewing anything for people for Christmas and if so, get moving on that. Also, it is time to start knitting some hats to give away.

And I am happy to report that the ROYGBIV quilt has reached Claire and she was immediately all wrapped up in it - clearly a success!

Lee at Freshly Pieced has taken a well earned break from WIP Wednesday for the month, so no link there but I am linking to my Canadian friends. I hope you have time to give them a visit, they are a talented group.



Sunday, December 4, 2011

Ta Da! The ROYGBIV Log Cabin quilt is all done!

The ROYGBIV Log Cabin quilt for Claire is all done. It is washed, dried and had a short visit outside.
ROYGBIV Log Cabins
By the time I got out, it was late afternoon. The light was already turning a bit purple. But even still, the colours are more true in the outside pictures.
ROYGBIV Log Cabin - back
Here is the back, I am so pleased with how square this giant log cabin managed to end up.
ROYGBIV Log Cabins
Here it is on my king size bed. The quilt has finished at about 70" x 90" - designed to fit a twin bed with lots to spare on the sides.
ROYGBIV Log Cabin - back
The back makes a nice alternative front.
Before washing, ROYGBIV back
This picture of the back is actually before it was washed.
Before washing, ROYGBIV front
Here is some detail of the quilting on the front before I washed the finished quilt. All the fabrics on this one were pre-washed in warm water and dried in a regular warm dryer.
Before washing, ROYGBIV front
A closer shot of the quilting before I washed the quilt.
ROYGBIV Log Cabins
This is a close up of the quilting after the quilt was washed and dried, again in warm water and in a regular warm dryer. You can see how the washing shrinks the batting and thread a bit, pulling the stitches in just a bit. The entire quilt lost about 3" - 4" in both directions after it was washed.
ROYGBIV Log Cabins
Another close up shot of the quilt after it was washed. You can see how it has become more bumpy and soft. The drape of this quilt really softened up after the wash too. It is very snuggly now.
ROYGBIV Log Cabins
Tomorrow or the next day, I am packing it up and sending it to Claire's dad. It is for her, for Christmas. I hope she likes it - I sure do, and it was just a joy to make.

This quilt was made from a pile of fabrics that Claire chose and then I just cut strips off of most everything bright and colourful that I had. Most of the fabrics are cotton but there are also some flannels, some linen blends, some decor weight. They all play nicely together. The blocks feature red centres (or pink flannel cats) - the red centres in traditional log cabin blocks symbolize the warm hearth of the home.

I am fairly sure there are more ROYGBIV quilts in my future. I highly recommend them, they just make you smile all the time.

As I made this quilt, Rhonda from Quilter in the Gap and Rachel from Contented set up the Duo QAL (see my sidebar for the button) and this quilt became my contribution to the QAL, - where I enjoyed loads of help with free motion quilting and lots of friendship too.

I have linked this post to Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story, I hope you will go and visit the lovely projects linked up.

Fresh Poppy Design