Friday, May 31, 2013

3 baby robins, already helping out

Baby robins

This picture is so cute. Do you think the mommy robin arranged the three babies to keep that last egg really warm while she went for her breakfast?

I will keep you posted on the last egg - my photo correspondent continues to do his best, despite the risks of that mommy bird being less than amused.



Thursday, May 30, 2013

Baby robins are hatching

The robins are hatching! The nest is at my front door.

Two of the robin eggs have hatched! I gather this picture was brought to us after some careful gymnastics to remain low to the ground, so the mom bird would not dive bomb the photographing intruder, while holding the iphone up high to capture the photo of the babies. They are no more than an hour or two old in the picture.

They are just little fluffballs - so cute.  More tomorrow if my photo correspondent can catch the mom off the nest, she does not leave for long. If you have missed this story, read back a post or two - the eggs took about 11 days to hatch.



Monday, May 27, 2013

Bee blocks and the robin is doing fine

Diamond Ripples Block for Rhonda

I have not been sewing much in the last week. But I have been catching up on my bee blocks. That one is Diamond Ripples from the 99 Modern Blocks book for Rhonda, Quilter in the Gap, in the Modern Stitching Bee. It is really a lovely block when it is all done and you are over the fact that 36 hsts are needed for a 12.5" square. I have a second different block to make for Rhonda too, maybe this week.

16 Patch for Bee Blessed

That is a 16 patch for Bee Blessed, a charity bee run by Judith, Just Jude and Sarah, Sew Me. There is also a group on flickr called the St Louis 16 Patch Along where they are making these blocks too, which I have been eying. I have to say that they are very fast and easy to make.

16 patch for Bee Blessed

If you are the observant type you will see that I just cut an extra 3.5" strip off some of the fabrics I had out to make Rhonda's block. I am certain there is a quilt or two in my future with these blocks, you could just make one every now and again from fabrics that were out for other things. They take about 10 minutes to sew up.

Polaroid Block for Debbie

Debbie, A Quilter's Table, who hosted the wildly successful polaroid swap last summer, asked for polaroid blocks in Always Bee Learning. I decided to split up her polaroids and make her two of these 18.5" blocks.

Polaroid Block for Debbie

I had all my black fabrics out to find one with the right coloured lines - she was after white, not cream. I realized I have a lot of black and white/cream fabric, so I am thinking about a quilt pattern with a lot of black in it.

Today a mail run is on the list, I carried around blocks to mail all week last week and had no time to stop. Now I have more to get in the mail so no more excuses.

4 Pickle Dish Blocks

There is a shot of four of my pickle dish blocks sitting together. This quilt is going to be so dramatic, I am so happy with it. The four blocks are 40" square. However,  I have concluded that it will not be finished by the end of June given my work schedule. Oh well, it will be done before winter sets in, which should be just fine.

The Robin - update, a week later

Finally, the robin update. That photo was yesterday afternoon. She has been sitting on that nest for the week. She takes regular short breaks. She and her nest have survived some big winds and rain, the spot at my front door is nicely sheltered. The mail is now delivered at the sidewalk, the walk to the front door is blocked, and we use the side door through the garage.

I am hoping that soon there will be baby birds, we did put some soft mats on the concrete step in case they fell out of the nest. I will provide more updates as we go.

For those of you on a long weekend, enjoy your day. We had our long weekend last week so I am off to work shortly.



Monday, May 20, 2013

In a pickle

2 Pickle Dish blocks

It is a long weekend at my house. So I worked on the pickle dishes. I made two blocks, you can see them there. I need to add the eyes to most of them, I have experimented and I am going to English Paper Piece the eyes in, there is no way I can nicely piece them by machine or by hand. Some movies will be in order.

But the blocks are fantastic! They are about 20" square so I will need to make the quilt 25 blocks to be somewhat close to king size.

Pickle dish blocks in progress

That was where I started yesterday. I made the L shapes wider so that I could piece them onto the dish units and trim. Much faster than trying to get every one pieced perfectly. I have ordered more background as I did not have enough.

Basket weave star block

I also made this 12.5" square bee block for Mary in the Always Bee Learning Bee. The tutorial/pattern is by Nydia at the ADD Crafter here. I have wanted to make this paper pieced Basket Weave Star for a long time so it was fun to get a chance in my bee.

And here is today's pickle. See that robin, she nested on the wreath that is adjacent to my front door  (you can see the side window of the door). We noticed as she dive bombed us when we went out today, obviously we are not observant as we go in and out or we might have noticed this nest before it was done.

It is too late to disturb the nest as there are 4 little blue eggs in it (no we did not touch the eggs or the nest, just took a blurry picture). So now I have to keep everyone away from the front door, including the mail carrier. It is a hassel and will require the services of a locksmith tomorrow to fix the other door's lock so that it works properly from the outside. But it is hard to be a bird in the city and birds are cool - they are related to dinosaurs. I figure we will do our part to give her and the babies a fighting chance. And I know that I should have taken the wreath down already but remember we had snow three weeks ago, oops.

I guess I will give you bird updates, I expect there is a good chance of a tragic ending for the babies, but cross your fingers.



Sunday, May 19, 2013

Mod Pop for Blogger's Quilt Festival

Mod Pop

Welcome to my entry into the Blogger's Quilt Festival. This is my king size Mod Pop quilt, which still has no name, although she lives on my bed. I worked on this quilt a lot over the fall and winter, so my regular readers already know all about her.

This king size quilt is 98" x 91", which is 8.2 feet tall by 7.6 feet wide. She is made from cottons in pink, orange and red, most but not all of them are Konas. The turquoise and royal blue chains are Essex linen. Julie from Distant Pickles designed this excellent pattern and it is available here.

Mod Pop - detail

I quilted this quilt my self on my Janome Horizon - which has an extra wide harp for quilting. I free motioned a squareish stipple on the background red bits and I used my walking foot to echo the chains.

Quilting monster quilts

I used a whole bunch of red/orange/pink and blue/turquoise variegated and plain threads - Aurafil, Superior Threads King Tut and Sulky.

 Mod Pop back

You can see the quilting on the back a bit better - for the back I used a king size grey sheet. That photo was taken before I washed her.

Mod Pop - detail

I call this quilting "modern industrial" because it is not even close to perfect. The heavy quilt - there are a lot of seams - pulled the needle every time I stopped and although I tried hard to hold everything in place, the quilt shifted and pulled on the needle, often making little jogs, especially in the lines echoing the chains. But as I expected, you really don't notice that at all once the quilt is washed and dried.

Mod Pop after washing.

There she is on my king size bed. I made the binding out of left over bits of the reds, pinks and oranges.

Scrappy binding ready for the quilt.

In the spirit of modern industrial, and because I could not bring my self to hand stitch about 41 feet, I machine stitched the binding down. I followed the excellent tutorials from my friend Marianne from The Quilting Edge here and here. I did have to redo a couple of the corners, but I am getting better at them.

Mod Pop

These next two photos are from before I washed this quilt. If you look you can see that there is a fair bit of drawing in from the wash and dry. I pre-washed all the fabrics, so that draw in is coming from the shrinkage in the cotton batting and the thread.

Mod Pop

The colours for this quilt were inspired to a large degree by the Andy Warhol portraits that use the turquoise and navy with aquas and blues. His images and colours are sort etched in my brain and they just felt like the right fit for this pattern. These colours are really hard to photograph, all I can say it that she is pretty bright in real life, sometimes I wonder if sunglasses are required.


This last photo is how she looks in a perfect afternoon light, with a mini quilt in progress.

I hope you are enjoying the Blogger's Quilt Festival. Thank you to Amy who does so much work to make this happen each year. I hope you are enjoying all the other quilts, I sure am.



Monday, May 13, 2013

A trivet and its tale

A trivet

Yesterday I made this trivet - it took all morning, afternoon and well into the evening, full disclosure is important. It is a 10.5" square, the patchwork piece is about 6.25" square. It is made with Liberty Lifestyle quilting cottons, an Architextures print for the background, and navy Essex linen with an insulbright batting to allow it to protect the table from heat. There were a lot of things that led to this my choices for this trivet.

First, the inner patchwork is taken from the pattern for the Sweet Trips Embroidery Pouch in Ayumi Takahashi's new book Patchwork, Please! but I made the cover panel a little smaller. I have been enjoying this book.

A trivet

That is a spool of aurafil thread, the one that I used to quilt the navy Essex linen, mostly for scale.

My second inspiration for this trivet was Hadley's version of the Sweet Trips Embroider Pouch which you can read about here on her blog, Flying Blind With a Rocket Cycle. Every time I saw her progress I wanted to make and have that patchwork panel. So I basically copied Hadley, I am sure she knows that is because her idea was fantastic.

A trivet

A long while back I won some of the beautiful Liberty Lifestyle quilting cottons from my friend Sarah who blogs at Sew Me. I have long been wanting to just make something for me from those beauties.

A trivet

The Give Me Liberty sew along that Krista, who blogs at Krista Stitched and Nicole, who blogs at Bold Goods are running has had me thinking of using the fabrics Sarah had sent me in the way that Hadley did to make the beautiful panel in my new book. I will link this up to the sew along, where more Liberty fabric projects can be found.

Last, that new to me, old to the world dining room table needs trivets, and I needed a break from making placemats.

I wish you all a great week, me included.



Saturday, May 11, 2013

SMS Giveaway - the winner

Thank you all for sharing your upcoming sewing plans with me and for entering my Sew Mama Sew giveaway. I had a difficult, hard week at work and the cheerful, inspiring comments that kept popping up on my phone really kept me smiling, when other things were not. So thank you again.
But there can be only one winner, and it is the lovely Lindsay who blogs at for the love of cotton.

Glimma for Giveaway Day

Lindsay, the Glimma fat quarters will be in the mail to you on Monday - I hope you have fun with them. I do so love these fabrics, it is a good thing that I have another set for me too.

Placemat in progress

For the rest of the weekend, I will be playing with these Oakshott bits and pieces and making them into placemats, and there are some pickle dishes with my name on them too. And some bee blocks, working too hard gets in the way of sewing in a most annoying manner.

Enjoy Mother's Day tomorrow, I am planning to do just that.



Monday, May 6, 2013

Glimma for Giveaway Day

Glimma for Giveaway Day

Welcome, it is the time for the Sew Mama, Sew Giveaway Day week again. I have this bunch of fat quarters of Glimma by Lotta Jansdotter for you.

Glimma for Giveaway Day

*** The giveaway is now closed, thank you for your interest.***To enter to win, leave me a comment and if you like, let me know what quilt or sewing projects are on your list to make this spring or that you wish were on your list. For a second entry, follow my blog in some manner (be a follower, via bloglovin, as a subscription, by email, or whatever - there are buttons on the right if you are new here) and let me know that you do and how you follow in a second comment.

This giveaway is open internationally and will close on Friday May 10 at 6 pm MST. After that I will draw the winner using the random number generator.

Please, please, put your email in your comment or make sure it is connected to your profile. If it is not you will not be the winner. I will draw another.

One more time, this giveaway has been open for one hour and I already have a number of comments without emails attached to profiles. Last time, please make sure your email is in your profile or in your comment (leave it like this: name [at] provided [dot] com or whatever and the email strippers will not get it for email lists) or if I draw you you will not win. 

I will not be replying to comments for this giveaway but I will be reading them and thank you for sharing your sewing plans which always inspire me. I will be off entering the other giveaways linked at Sew, Mama, Sew. I expect you will be too.

Oh and if you are not familiar with this huge giveaway week, there are five catagories of giveaways, each in a separate May 6 post at Sew, Mama, Sew - be sure to check out all of them, bloggers from all over the world participate.

***This giveaway is now closed, thank you for your support.****


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Fire - a mini quilt


Fire is the third mini quilt I have made as part of the Four in Art group. Fire is also the theme this round, which I picked. Fire is a 12" square mini quilt made with navy Essex Linen and multiple strips of Oakshott shot cotton. That picture above is actually the best representation of how dark the navy is in real life - it is almost as hard to photograph well as the Oakshotts.


I quilted her with navy Aurafil 50wt thread and also with a variegated red/orange/purple Superior Threads King Tut 50 wt. The King Tut is thicker than the Aurafil, despite them being the same labeled weight, must be a different country thing.


The picture above is before I washed and dried her. There is a subtle addition of texture from the wash which I like.

Over time I have wanted to make efforts to quilt the elements, which is why I picked fire as the theme this round. I made Fire by cutting a bunch of strips and thinking about how fire felt and how its colours looked. That was the whole plan - not very complicated.


This picture made me very happy. The angle and the lighting made the Oakshots glow and the quilting seems to lift the fire off the quilt, sort of three dimensionally. It feels like fire to me. A friendly, life supporting fire, not a terrible out of control dangerous fire.


When I picked the navy linen, I was thinking about a campfire in the night or a star in space. I wanted the quilting to represent the light and the warmth of the fire. The swirls are mostly for fun but maybe you see the impact of the warmth, swirling the air, warming beyond the fire.

Fire - good morning light

That picture is before I sandwiched and quilted her. Again, it is as close to the real colours as I could manage.

Fire - blazing in the morning sun

There you can see the glow of the Oakshots as the morning sun hit her. These fabrics are perfect to represent fire.


Fire is a powerful thing, and I suppose it is rather silly to try to represent this amazing element of nature in a tiny quilt.


But, can you feel it?

My friends in the Four in Art group are posting their mini quilts inspired by the theme fire today too, Elizabeth at Occasional Piece, Rachel at Life of Riley and Betty on flickr - I hope you check them out.