Friday, July 31, 2015

on the move


Well, my family is in Lethbridge to meet our stuff*, which just arrived a few minutes ago. I will join them on the weekend, just in time for my dear spouse to return back here to work and such for August. Living in two cities for the foreseeable future is going to be interesting.

I will be unpacking over the long weekend and the month. Hopefully I will have the sewing room operational soon and also have some time to be properly back in this space. 

Please stand by, and I will try to instagram a bit this weekend too, maybe I can share some of the unpacking mess with you there.

*yup, we filled the truck, could it be all the fabric??


Sunday, July 26, 2015

if you were shopping... #42

Welcome to if you're shopping.... On Fridays, and often Saturdays, now Sunday, instead,  I share news from my sponsors, in case you want to do a little shopping, or even window shopping, this weekend.

Oakshott Fabrics has beautiful bundles!

Fabric Spark is has new fabric every week, just is are some beautiful Cotton + Steel selections.

Fluffy Sheep Quilting has lovely fabrics, and this one from Paint by Carrie Bloomston is one of my favourites.

Sew Sisters Quilt Shop is getting ready for the holidays.

If you want a little of many fabrics - say for a scrappy quilt or pillow, Becca from Sew Me a Song is making the most fantasic fat 16th bundles. A huge variety of stunning fabrics for a great price.

The Fat Quarter Shop is celebrating the one year birthday of their book Fat Quarter Style on their blog with inspiration and other surprises.

This weekend only, at Green Fairy Quilts has 40% off their thread!

I'm packing and working and moving and I do have more to share here soon.



Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Scraptastic Tuesday winners

I'm popping in briefly this morning to share the winners of the July Scraptastic Tuesday link up prizes, sponsored by these generous folks:

A huge thank you to our generous sponsors for providing the following prizes:
Thank you all for the inspiring scrappy links and congratulations to all the winners, we will email you over the course of Tuesday to get you connected to your prizes, and if they are not done before, I'll finish those emails tonight.

Inukshuk - Inuvik

That's an inukshuk, a marker often used to point the way home. I'm leaving Inuvik shortly - ending my stay north of  the Arctic Circle. The quilters here are lovely and generous and I'll share more of my visit later this week. I will be back at my own home tonight, after a trip through Norman Wells and Yellowknife.

Please plan to join Nicky at Mrs. Sew and Sow and I for the August Scraptastic Tuesday link up which will be the second Tuesday of the month - August 11, 2015.



Sunday, July 19, 2015

North of the Arctic Circle


I'm in Canada's far north, teaching quilting in Inuvik. It is a beautiful spot and my keen group of quilters are learning to love the quilting part of quilting.

I'll try to share some more photos tonight, but it is also the Great Northern Arts Festival and so it is a happening place this week.



Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Scraptastic Tuesday - July Link Up

Scraptastic Tuesday

It's the second Tuesday of the month, and time for the Scraptastic Tuesday link up hosted by Nicky - Mrs. Sew and Sow and me.

I have been thinking a lot about my scraps this past month, but using them less, but I've just been sewing less too - its too hot, and it's busy at work and then there is that move. As I've been packing my fabrics, mostly by colour, I've been planning my new quilting space. I still need to figure out the best way to keep the scraps close at hand but protected from becoming cat beds and protected from dust.

Magenta and Navy courthouse steps

 In between times, this weekend I did finish the quilting on my magenta and navy courthouse steps quilt. While this quilt started out with a Blogger's Bundle I curated for Fabric Spark, when I decided to make it bigger - its 70" square - I added bits and scraps to finish it off.

Magenta and Navy courthouse steps - detail.

I decided to quilt a lot of lines, changing directions and it is going to be great after the wash. It's fairly stiff right now and you can see there is some tension where the lanterns meet up. A good wash and dry will solve that and make it a soft drapey blanket too. But first is to figure out the binding - maybe purple or maybe scrappy, and mend in all those thread ends.

4 Pickle Dish Blocks

As soon as I move I am going to get my double wedding ring quilts back out to join my friends, Nicky, Mrs. Sew and Sow; Judith, Just Jude; and Trudi, Quilting Prolifically to finish them. You can read more about the double wedding ring group over at Nicky's today and maybe you will join in too. I am so excited to get back to that pickle dish version. It is going to be king size and looks just amazing when it is all laid out.

  Florid Blooms in progress

Both my DWRs are scrappy and I am excited to have a group to get them finished. This one is the Florid Blooms pattern from Victoria's book, Double Wedding Ring Quilts - which I highly recommend by the way. I started this version in Victoria's class at QuiltCon.

Black Liberty fabrics

 But don't be surprised if what you see here next week is more work on my Liberty Medallion - I was adding the next border of black Liberty fabrics on Monday night but it was too hot for final pressing and photos, and also the start of my version of the My Small World quilt. I have packed all fabric but my solids and scraps and so that is going to be the scrap focus for a while until I have unpacked at the other end.

Now, its time for you to link up and share your scrappy projects to inspire us all.

A huge thank you to our generous sponsors for providing the following prizes:
  • Massdrop - 2 Mixology Fat Quarter Bundles - so two prizes
Please join Nicky from Mrs. Sew and Sow and I by linking up a blog post or flickr or instagram photo sharing a scrappy project, in progress or finished, or your thoughts on dealing with your scrap mountain:
  • You don't have to have joined us before, everyone is welcome.
  • One link per person, and it will be your entry into the random draw for the prizes. It is the same link up here and at Nicky's blog - Mrs. Sew and Sow - so you only need to link up on one of our blogs.
  • Please visit at least a few of the links, they are very inspiring, and leave comments too as everyone loves to connect. 
  • Use the Scraptastic Tuesday button if you like (code is on the sidebar) and invite your friends to join us too. 
  • The link is open until next Monday night at 10:00 pm MST. We will announce the winners next Tuesday. 
  • If you have trouble linking up, let me or Nicky know and we will get you sorted.
Just a note, Michael Oakshott gave us an extra charm pack for the winner this week as it's his birthday today. Do consider popping over to Oakshott Fabrics or Oakshott's Shotthrough Blog and leaving him a birthday greeting - he is a generous and enthusiastic sponsor and a lovely person!



Sunday, July 12, 2015

Q3 FAL my whole UFO list - yikes

2015 - Unfinished projects list

As those of you who follow me on instagram know, we are moving house this summer. This has forced me to start packing fabric and organizing my quilting and sewing supplies. It seemed to me that it was also time to own up to all or at least most of the UFOs scattered about here and there.

So I have collected them all - well I am now remembering one, two, more, oops and I have edited below to add the missing projects - and made a mosaic. If you want to see the pictures in more detail, click this link to go to the Flickr album or this link to go to the Pinterest board.

Given that there is no penalty for not finishing, I'm going to put them all on my Q3 FAL list too, although I expect a large number will carry over. I am hoping that having the list will get them either on the way to being done or maybe given away or something.

Because you know I have many new projects to start and finish too - which is a good thing as there is a lot of fabric around here and packing it up only reminds me of that. I'll share more on packing and moving soon.

So following the mosaic, here are the projects in order and what is next to do  (left to right, top to bottom):

  • Magenta and navy courthouse steps: I am almost finished with the quilting now, then bind and it's done.
  • Scrappy Liberty Medallion: I need to finish a couple more rounds of the top, make the back, quilt, bind.
  • Scrappy blocks neutral: These need to be made into a quilt.
  • Scrappy blobs: These might be added to the scrappy blocks or become their own quilt, either way they need to be a quilt.
  • Blocks from Luke Hanes QuiltCon workshop: I might make these into a series of coasters, sort of mug rug sized or maybe a quilt.
  • Liberty sampler: I need to make these into a quilt, maybe adding more from Nicky's sampler or maybe finishing them as is. Also they might become the back of the Liberty Medallion?
  • Improv scrappy Xs: I need more of these and then they need to be a bed sized quilt. 
  • Improv guitar case: I need more "fabric" and then to design and finish the case.
  • Giant pluses: I started this with some of the magenta and navy fabrics and I need to finish this quilt.
  • Improv Log Cabins: A quilt, and soon.
  • Pickle Dishes: Also a king size quilt and soon. Luckily Nicky has a DWR along going on and that might help.
  • Beachy neutrals: I need to finish this project, as I remember how much I love it.
  • Mystery Quilt: This one needs quilting, and I am now totally ready to do it. 
  • Jungle Abstract Lion: This quilt is a priority as it needs to be done by the end of August. I have the fabrics and the pattern is printed, so I am ready to go on it.
  • Pillows: I am going to make this beautiful fabric into pillows for the new house.
  • Lightning quilt for Christa's blog hop: The top is ready to quilt, I just need to make the back and get to it. It is also a priority.
  • Florid Blooms: This is dwr #2 from Victoria's class at QuiltCon. That DWR along will help.
  • Farmer's wife blocks: I have more of the fabric but this project has been stalled forever. I might just finish them into a smaller quilt and call it a day.
  • Blue Bee Blocks: these were from the 4 x 5 bee, and are beautiful. They are ready to be a quilt.
  • Improv back: This needs to be taken apart and either more blocks made or pieced into a white background. Initially it was to be the back for the beachy neutral quilt but I don't thinks so now. It would make an excellent baby quilt.
  • Liberty one patch: I put this together ages ago to be a quilting practice quilt so now I should quilt it.
  • Irish chain in green: I forgot about this one, time to finish it.
  • Polaroid blocks: I am going to piece these into an i-spy quilt.
  • Bee blocks: I started quilting these and the quilting was horrid. So it is on a time out but it's time to pick out the quilting and start again to finish the quilt.
  • Bee blocks: these are wonderful blocks and they need to be a quilt.
  • Bee blocks: these are from my very first bee and they are wonderful. They need to be one or two quilts.
  • Quilt kit: this is my only ever quilt kit and it's beautiful so I need to finish it too.
  • Bee blocks: the stars are fantastic and will be a quilt too.
  • Place mats: I have three in various stages, time to finish them.
  • Hexagons: These could be a nice pillow, why aren't they already?
  - not included in the mosaic, but not forgotten:
  • No quilt - I have some great blocks, I need to make some more and finish this quilt. With so much quilting on my list, I need to say "No" a lot more a the day job.
  • Blended scraps - I started another version of this quilt, and I need to make more blocks and finish.
  • Giant star:  I made a top and it has not even been photographed, so I need to get it out and quilt it and take photos.
  • Pink Allium quilt: again, no photos, but blocks are made. This one is a priority as I would like to sell the pattern.
  • Another Allium blue quilt: The top is done, why it is not quilted and finished and photographed is not at all clear to me. It is a different layout and could also be a pattern. 
30 35 projects, yikes. And I've now remembered some that I forgot to add, oops. I do consider quilting a process and am not really stressed that they are not done. But the thing is that I really like all these projects so maybe the list will help finish them off - maybe even more than one finish will happen this quarter.

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

If you have not joined in yet, the Finish Along is a low key way to try to get some of your UFOs out of the sewing room - go to Adrianne's blog On the Windy Side here to join the Q3 link up. Everyone is welcome, and you have until 11 p.m. PST to link up your list. By the way, you don't have to own up to all your UFOs, one can just link up a few or even one project to finish.

I'm off to sew and pack and such today.



Saturday, July 11, 2015

if you were shopping... #41

Welcome to if you're shopping.... On Fridays, and often Saturdays instead,  I share news from my sponsors, in case you want to do a little shopping, or even window shopping, this weekend.

Oakshott Fabrics has a new free pattern ezine of bags with links to the patterns made by talented bloggers.

Fabric Spark is has beautiful new Nani Iro double gauzes, but hurry as they are selling fast.

Fluffy Sheep Quilting has lovely fabrics, and this one from Paint by Carrie Bloomston is one of my favourites.

Sew Sisters Quilt Shop has one of my favourite collections ever on sale - Doe by Carolyn Friedlander. I'm off to put my order in today.

If you want a little of many fabrics - say for a scrappy quilt or pillow, Becca from Sew Me a Song is making the most fantasic fat 16th bundles. A huge variety of stunning fabrics for a great price.

There is always something new at the Fat Quarter Shop. Their exclusive Aurifil Thread Boxes are quite wonderful.

This weekend only, at Green Fairy Quilts has their fat quarter bundles on at clearance prices and now they have Kona solids!

I have lots to share on the blog, I just need to make time for writing. See you tomorrow.



Tuesday, July 7, 2015

It's Tuesday - quilting progress

Quilting - ready to start

My occasional small scrap project lists (the last one was here) have been helping me to keep from starting new scrappy projects every time I sit down to the machine. And it reminds me that this project went from using my blogger's bundle to being a scrappy one as I hunted for more fabric to finish her off. This last weekend I was working on quilting the magenta and navy courthouse steps quilt. I settled on making this quilt a nice 70" square.

Quilting detail

I decided - wait for it - on quilting some lines on the quilt. This time I decided to quilt each lantern separately, rather than an all over set of lines. The lines in the lanterns are unevenly spaced but about 1/4" to 1/2" apart freehand on my long arm Millennium. Also, I purposely decided to not stitch the outline of the lantern - either in the ditch or away from the edge. I wanted to see how it would work without that more "finished" or traditional approach to motif stitching.

Quilting detail

I'm also changing threads to sort of match the lanterns - dark blue, variegated pink and ivory/sand. The motif quilting and the changing threads is making this a much slower quilting project, but also fun and relaxing.

I know that some folks mend in their threads as they go. So far, I can't bring myself to do that, when I am in a quilting frame of mind I am too impatient to do a nice job on the mending in. I am thinking all the thread changes on this quilt and the subsequent time to mend them in later might reform me some, we shall see.

Quilting in progress

Here is where I stopped. I am hoping to get time to finish her off this week.

I also wanted to remind you that next Tuesday, July 14, is the July Scraptastic Tuesday link up, so please plan to join us to share your scrappy projects in progress or finished or your thoughts on taming the scrap mountain. Oh and check out Nicky's post at Mrs. Sew and Sow, she is starting a DWR scrappy quilt!



Monday, July 6, 2015

FAL Q2 - one Finish to report


I've waited until the last day to post Q2 FAL finishes over at Adrianne's blog, On the Windy Side, as I had a faint hope that I could finish one more quilt, but it is not to be.

So I am very proud to say that I did finish Winter - you can read all about her in this post. This quilt was made from blocks received from my bee mates in the Always Bee Learning Bee and then I added a bunch more blocks so that it would finish with three full O's forming on all sides. She is about 70" square and the holiday fabrics - although not that themed - make her a perfect quilt to pull out in November and use until it warms up in spring.

Here is my Q2 FAL list, and I can report that I am almost finished the magenta and navy courthouse steps quilt but did nothing on the rainbow guitar case. Oh well, one finish is good and it is so nice to have put those beautiful bee blocks into a quilt.

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

You have just under 17 hours (so until about midnight MST today) to get your last finished posted, head over to Adrianne's to do that. And if you are looking for some inspiring reading, pursuing the links is a great way to be inspired. I am part of the new FAL Cheerleading Team, and have seen some beautiful projects while visiting some of the links this weekend.



Friday, July 3, 2015

if you were shopping... #40

Welcome to if you're shopping.... On Fridays, and often Saturdays instead,  I share news from my sponsors, in case you want to do a little shopping, or even window shopping, this weekend.

This weekend only, at Green Fairy Quilts use the bonus code JULY4 for huge discounts on everything in the store, including preorders!

Mad about Patchwork has this beautiful Kona Sea Spectrum stash builder bundle on at 10% off for July.

This weekend only, Oakshott Fabrics is celebrating Independence Day with £8 flat shipping to the USA on orders of £45. It's time to get your orders in!

Fabric Spark is featuring a summer of fabric love promotions and surprises. Keep an eye out for their next surprise.

New fabrics keep appearing at Fluffy Sheep Quilting!

Sew Sisters Quilt Shop has a fantastic deal of the month!

The Collection Quilt pattern by Carolyn Friedlander has arrived at Sew Me a Song! Becca and I are going to work on this Block of the Month pattern together, and my copy of the pattern is already ordered and on the way. This might have been my favourite thing at Quilt Market - a chance to finally learn appliqué on a modern quilt.

There is always something new at the Fat Quarter Shop. Their exclusive Aurifil Thread Boxes are quite wonderful.

Happy Independence Day to those of you in the USA! Enjoy your weekend!



Thursday, July 2, 2015

Pow - Ta Da! and a tutorial


Let me tell you about this quilt - I named her Pow. Pow - I hope that this quilt is full of courage and strength and happiness and love. And she is also my "cancer sucks" quilt. You might have noticed me making her on instagram over the last month or so. A young friend - he is about 25 - is stuck in the hospital for 8 weeks or more having very aggressive chemo treatments for a kind of cancer can be beaten but there are no sure bets with cancer. But this kid grew up with one of mine, he was always about, and he should be laughing and building cars, not doing this. By the way, he is still laughing a lot, this guy is one of the good ones.

So, I did what I knew, I made him a quilt. He likes it too, when he said his favourite colour was orange he meant it.

Plus quilt - tutorial

Several people have asked me for a pattern or a tutorial for my style of giant plus quilts (you can see some others here and here and here). So I shared my process on instagram and I will share it with you. This pattern turns out differently each time and is easy to make. First pick a bunch of fabrics, scraps, charm squares and other bits.


I cut all the fabrics into 5" squares. That way I can use charm squares if I want to. I just cut a bunch - you can add more as you go and left over ones are easily added to your scrap bin. From a fat quarter I cut two 5" strips and then cross cut those into 8 squares. From other pieces I cut 5" strips and then cross cut them. Pick one fabric for the "background" and cut a lot of squares from it.

Now, you certainly can cut two squares and one rectangle to make the pluses instead. If you are starting with 5" squares, your rectangles will need to be cut at 14". But I don't do that as there is less flexibility if you have rectangles - you cannot take out the centre square. Also, you can do a bit of both if you like, cut some rectangles and for other pluses cut only squares. This quilt is pretty flexible to make.


Head over to your design wall or design floor or design bed and start laying out your squares into plus shapes. If you look at the photo you can see how they tesselate - the pluses repeat on the diagonal and between each plus moving up and down the rows are two other squares (look at the photo and you will see what I mean). Make some of the pluses complete and take the middle square out of others and put a background fabric in the middle.

The "floating" or modern effect that my quilts have is caused by making some of the pluses out of the background fabric or even just out of fabric close to the background and also by taking out that middle square on some of the pluses. For this quilt, in my mind I designated the Architectures print you see to the left and down one from the orange feathers, as the background but really all the white low volumes read as background too.


Sew together the rows. I sew the rows from top to bottom. Also, as my design wall is not big enough to hold a good size lap quilt (this one is about 66" square after a wash and dry), I start on the wall, sew the strips and then move them to my design bed (actually my own bed). Then I can lay out some more pluses around the strips and sew them on the top and bottom of the strips until I am happy with the design and the size of the quilt.

Plus quilt - tutorial

After you have sewn the strips, press the seams. If you lay out the strips and then press them in order, you can press the seams one way on one strip, the other way on the next. That means you can then sew together the strips without pins, just nest the seams as you go. Soon you will have your quilt top done and give it a good press and admire it.

By the way, if at this stage some fabric placement is really bugging you, it is really easy to rip open the seams and change it out. I don't usually bother but as you are randomly placing those fabrics to start, remember how easy it is to change something you don't like. I find that in the end the random placements make me very happy.

Plus quilt - tutorial

Then layer your top with batting and a back and quilt it (I have a basting tutorial here). I like to use a bright thread to add an additional little spark to the giant plus quilts. I think I used that bright orange Aurifil at the top of the photo. Feel free to also change thread colours as you go. I quilted randomly spaced straightish lines for my favourite industrial modern feel - sort of a fierce and defiant look, which I think is perfect for this quilt.

Plus quilt - tutorial

Bind the quilt  - I have a binding tutorial here. I stitched this one on by machine as I was trying to hurry the finish - given that, well, cancer sucks and one feels like the clock is ticking and you want to get that quilt to that guy quickly.

Pow - back

Here is her back. I chose bold, masculine prints, all of which were also favourites of mine. I have to say that these large 6 - 8 print pieced backs are becoming a bit of a signature for me and I just love each one. The back is interesting enough to be another front, but it does not compete with the front either.


There she is again with a bit of scale. Pow!

I love this quilt and I was so glad to be able to give it to my young friend, who once was a 3 year old playing in my family room. I sure hope he is better soon too, he is brave and courageous and kind and goodhearted, and maybe this orange hug will help a little too.