Thursday, August 23, 2012

"Do you need a bag?", the clerk asked.

Modern Shopping Bag

This is my Modern Shopping Bag. It is a prototype for the tutorial I am writing for one of the Fluffy Sheep Quilting Newsletters that Cindy will be sending out this fall. You might want to head over and sign up for the newsletter so that the pattern will arrive in your inbox. I wanted to make shopping bags that I would not forget all the time. So they needed to be modern and functional. The pattern is simple but bold, inspired by many quilters but especially by Katie at Sew Katie Did who regularly makes the most beautiful quilts with HSTs which play with colour and value.

Modern Shopping Bag

The newsletter bag will be made blues and greens, made from one of Cindy's new Fat 1/8 Bundles. But I did not want to cut into that until I worked out the kinks so I used my winnings from the contest Hadley from Flying Blind on a Rocket Cycle ran back when Cindy opened her shop.

Modern Shopping Bag - detail

You can see that this bag has a layer of batting to allow for dense, modern, purposely not straight line quilting - and to be strong too for carrying the milk and such.  I used a bright red Aurafil thread that bought from Cindy. Oh, and I washed it, again it was just too flat for me before washing.

Modern Shopping Bag - before washing

See that picture above, nice, but flat before the wash does its texture creating magic. The bag is strong and big enough for groceries or other shopping. My plan is to make a collection of similar bags over this fall, so I stop forgetting my bags when I head out to the store.

Modern Shopping Bag

I lined this one with a print of the London subway system - to remind me of my friends and of one of my favourite cities.

Mod Pop

I will let you know more about the Mod Pop Quiltalong next post - I am just sorting out how to make groups and get sponsors and a button and such. For those of you who might have missed it (say because you were on a beautiful beach somewhere or something) you can go back and read about it here. I am excited to hear that there are some folks who will quilt along with me while I make another Mod Pop - Julie's pattern has stolen my heart and I can't wait to make a bigger one. If you don't want to wait or don't want me to be lonely, click here and join in while I hammer in the nails and tidy up.

I am heading back to the big city this weekend, summer is not over but it is time to get the kids to school. So there have been a few days now of making jam and battening down the hatches and a few more before I go.



Friday, August 17, 2012


Mod Pop

Thank you to everyone who entered my draw to win a copy of Julie from Distant Pickles's Mod Pop pattern. All the wonderful comments on the pattern were so fun to read and I know that Julie has really appreciated the support for her first pattern.

And the name ideas were great, thank you. Some made songs stick in my head, some made laugh, and most of them were inspired by water in some way. I have decided to call the my quilt Whitewater, although I have to say that lava lamp was a close second.

The winner of a copy of Julie's pattern (click here to buy one if you are not the winner) is Jenny - Narcoleptic in the Cupboard's Mum! I had the great pleasure of meeting my friend Sarah in person this summer at the Fat Quarterly Retreat in London and I am sure hoping that Jenny will come next year so I can meet her too. Jenny I will send you an email with the details to collect your pattern.

Now a question: Would you quilt along with me? 

I have decided that I am going to make another Mod Pop this fall. I love the pattern and want a bigger quilt, but I need some company to make it again. If there are some of you who will join me, I will set up a flickr group and round up some prizes and it would be fun. Julie has agreed to provide help with the pattern if we need it and I have a few tricks to help you with sewing the curves. It would be a leisurely QAL - are you in? 

Whether or not you want to quilt along, I bet you do want to make the pattern. You can go here to purchase a copy from Julie. If you are still on the fence, you should head over to Julie's blog Distant Pickles here to see all the pattern tester's versions, they are all great.

Mod Pop - on the double hammock

I hope you enjoy your weekend. I have plans to be on the hammock a lot of the time.



Tuesday, August 14, 2012

It's Wednesday and I have some progress to show

Windmills and Trees - top

I spent some time over the weekend and last night working on attempt #2 at the Windmills and Trees pattern by Lynne from Lily's Quilts and I have finished the top. You will recall that my first attempt was not successful (or go here to read about it). I love this version which is about 40" x 48".

Windmills and Trees - detail

I have to confess that this is the first time I have done any real applique on a quilt top. (I know, Katy, volunteering to test something you have never done is not likely to get you the top grade, but it is too cute a pattern and I did not actually confess this weakness when I volunteered to do the testing, oops.)

Windmills and Trees - detail

So my first thought was to use a blanket stitch - the stitch I would use if I was hand sewing an applique.  And look, it turned out just as it should. I was worried about puckering and drawing in but the sticky stuff I used - Heat and Bond Lite - added enough stabilizer that it looks great, especially after pressing.

Windmills and Trees - detail

Not content to leave well enough alone, I also tried another stitch that exists on the little sewing machine I have out on the coast. I am not sure what this one is called but you can see it on the tree part.

Windmills and Trees - detail

It is easier to see here. I like this one and it causes even less drawing in but the edge will probably fray just a little more than the blanket stitch. Especially since I have to admit to not following the directions and overheating the sticky stuff so it did not stick perfectly well. I am planning a lot of quilting to ensure it all holds together. Another lesson - read the directions of any new equipment first. This project has been a true learning experience for me.

Windmills and Trees - top

The colours are fairly true in that picture - the grass here gets sort of brownish in the hot summer months. The quilt is made from various light and darker grey fabrics and bright prints by Kaffe Fassetts, Brandon Mably, and Philip Jacobs. Now I have to make the back and get on with the quilting.

I don't have a big enough single piece of fabric with me for the back so tonight my thought is to do something like that photo above, which is from a wonderful book called Quilting Modern by Jacquie Gering and Katie Pederson. It looks like fun and will hopefully complement the forest on the front if I use the left over fabrics. I have been looking for an opportunity to play with an idea from this excellent book and I think this is the chance. I'll keep you posted.

English paper piecing

Another work in progress is my English Paper Piecing project. I think I need one or two more groups and then they will be appliquéd to the low volume top, something like the set up in next picture. I have been eyeing other EPP projects, it seems that I have become rather enchanted.

Low volume top and EPP

So although I wanted to machine stitch the EPP onto that top, armed with my new applique experience, I am thinking that it will work so much better if I do it by hand as there will be no stabilizer in place. I  would love any advice on that.

That beautiful bundle of fabrics arrived a while ago from my  friend Cindy at Fluffy Sheep Quilting. She still delivers faster from Ireland to me in Canada than the US shops. I am going to make a tutorial of a something for her September newsletter. It is my current WIP, that and making another secret pillow for the Modern Quilted Pillow Swap and some bee blocks. A fair bit to do before the end of this month, but it is all so fun.

Proverbial Quilt for Krista's QAL

I almost forgot, I joined Krista from Poppyprint's Proverbial Quilt-A-Long. She has promised a leisurely pace which is what I need. I still have to pick some words but I have the pattern in hand, delivered quickly from Flare Fabrics which is a Canadian shop. Krista's wonderful quilt is here, go and look and you will might be joining the QAL too. Just saying.

By the way, if you have not yet entered to win a copy of the Mod Pop pattern by Julie from Distant Pickles, click HERE as there is still time.

I am going to link to both WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced and the Needle and Thread Network, buttons for both are on the right. I have missed linking for the summer - my progress has not been available to report remotely near a Wednesday. Do check out everyone else's projects there too, they are always inspiring.



Friday, August 10, 2012

Mod Pop - Ta Da!

Mod Pop

My Mod Pop pattern testing quilt is all finished - quilted, bound, washed and dried. I am in love with this little quilt. I think I might need to make a larger one this fall.

Mod Pop

It is about 42" x 49" and I used a Kona Poseidon Bundle and maybe a few extra greens and blues together with Kona Snow for the top and the scrappy binding.

Mod Pop

I love this modern design made from squares and quarter circles. The pattern is by Julie Avant from Distant Pickles and will be available to buy in a few days. If you click here you can see the version Julie made with prints, it is wonderful. Julie has also given me one pattern to give away to one of you - I have made the grade, finally, as a pattern tester.

Mod Pop - on the double hammock

I had so much fun quilting this one. I wanted to densely quilt it and also to make it appear that the white  chains were on top of the background swooshes and circles.

Mod Pop - detail

I used a creamy white Superior Threads King Tut thread for the white chains and followed the edges rather organically.

Mod Pop - detail

The coloured parts are quilted with a variegated blue Sulky thread. I marked the cross hatch with a hera marker, although I did not strive for perfect lines - I just tried to keep them on mostly the same angles so your eyes would see them as continuing under the white bits.

Mod Pop - detail before washing

That picture above is before washing where you can see the quilting lines before the thread and batting shrinkage has made them tighten up. Also, I just love the swooshes that the background makes.

Mod Pop - before washing

That picture is the whole quilt before washing. I have to say that it is just so much better after the wash and dry.

Mod Pop - back

For the back I wanted a funky 70's style large print and this one from Karavan by Valori Wells was perfect. Also, I swear she used a Poseidon bundle to inspire her colours as the matches between the colours are amazing.

Mod Pop

The pattern is easy to follow and is multi-sized. To win a copy of the pattern, just leave me a comment. Let me know what you think of this wonderful pattern and my quilted version of it - I will make sure to share the comments with Julie too - this is her first pattern, I am hoping she makes more.

And if you want a second chance to win, leave me a second comment with a name suggestion for my quilt, I think it should get its own name now that it is done, but I am out of ideas today.  I will draw the winner next Friday.

** the giveaway is over, thank you for joining in.***

Edited to add: Please, please, make sure that your profile has your email or you add your email to your comments. I need to be able to reach you if you win!

I'm now hosting a QAL for this wonderful pattern, feel free to join us. You can read about it here.

I hope everyone has the best weekend, it looks like the sun will be out here.



Thursday, August 2, 2012

The things your kids can do

If you look at the cover of that new knitting book you will see that my daughter, Rebecca, is there - named on the cover. More about the book can be found here at Cooperative Press.  If you go to Rebecca's blog, Doilies Are Stylish you can read about the stunning shawl she designed - Iris.

I have been knitting with her forever, since she was about 10, maybe younger, although I think it was her grandmother who first taught her. She is a pretty excellent knitter.

Man, do you suppose she will autograph the book I am about to buy?

In quilting news, I have pieced the top of Mod Pop, and I am in love with it. I hope to quilt it right away, starting this weekend. I am already planning a larger one too.

Mod Pop - Top done

I told you already that Julie from Distant Pickles designed this one, right? She is going to give me a copy of the pattern to give away as soon as I finish, as long as my grade is high enough on this pattern testing venture, so stay tuned.

I have declared tomorrow another Friday off, it is a long weekend after all and I have great guests and beautiful weather.



Wednesday, August 1, 2012

July 2012

July 2012

There is my July 2012 mosaic. Bee blocks, pattern testing and a pillow swap - and don't forget the hammock and the gazebo where naps and EPP happen from time to time.

Filmstrip block for Karen - Bee a {modern} Swapper

Since I have not shown off the bee blocks yet, I will do that now. This is a filmstrip block for Karen in Bee a {modern} Swapper. The pictures are from Summersville with some black Quilters Linen.

Filmstrip block for Karen - Bee a {modern} Swapper

This is the other film strip block. These fabrics are Children at Play and a bit more Summersville. I like the skinnier borders better, especially with these delicate pictures.

Free Bee for Stacey

This block is for Stacey in the Free Bee. She asked for blocks inspired by Rosie Lee Tompkins. This block had me worried but it was far more fun to make than I expected. Apparently it does not turn into a busy mess which was what I expected I would manage. Also, it has a substantial weight, with all those seams and all.

Hexies for Kristina

That is my first hexie blob for Megan in Always Bee Learning. I think she is working on a full bed size quilt in 1" hexies. I will be making some hexies for myself soon, I now know why they are so popular.

Block for Kristina - Always Bee Learning Bee

That is Megan's block for Always Bee Learning. I love that flower print in the middle.

I should also mention that I failed to produce a block for Debbie in the Modern Blocks Bee. I was piecing it and my iron spit on one of the pieces for which there was no extra. Close examination revealed a stain that persisted after dumping water on it so I sent her back all the bits. She has graciously agreed to fix it and is not the slightest bit annoyed at me.

Sometimes you mess up, luckily quilting bees are filled with quilters who work together and step in to help each other out. The possibility of making a mistake is no reason to avoid all the fun and friendship in the internet quilting bees.

Granny Square Block

August is my month in two bees. I have asked for granny squares in bright colours for my turn in the Modern Stitching Bee. I have asked everyone to sash the blocks so the quilt should come together quickly when I get to it. I have serious granny square envy and I am hopeful that I will soon have a beautiful granny square quilt of my own.

Free Bee - example block for my month

August is also my month in the Free Bee. That is my example block. I have asked for a focus bit of improv in any style and colour that people like surrounded by neutrals. I am hoping for a sampler of small improv blocks surrounded by neutrals - which will be a quilt in line with some of the things I have been playing with lately.

Lily's Quilts

As always, for the first of the month I am linking to Fresh Sewing Day over at Lily's Quilts. I hope you will do that too and also head over and explore all the projects you will find linked there.

I am looking forward to the hot August nights and more summer to enjoy, before the busy fall begins.