Sunday, June 12, 2016

Bee-ing Sewcial - June

It's my turn again to have my amazing Bee Sewcial bee mates make some blocks for me. I'm still finishing my quilt from last year (Winter) because I really want to take my time with the quilting.

But here we are at my month once more and once more, I'm in the throes of packing and moving. During my first Bee Sewical month, I was preparing to move out of our townhouse that we'd sold. This time, I'm preparing to move from our rental apartment to our new home, and I couldn't be happier.

In fact, my new community is the inspiration for the Bee Sewcial blocks I'm asking my bee mates to create. Naramata, located in BC's wine country and perched on Okanagan Lake, is absolutely beautiful. I mean, really beautiful.

My inspiration prompt is Lake Country, and these were my directions:

I plan to put together an impressionistic-looking lake/tree/sky quilt, and I want the blocks to feature strips vs. squares. And please have all of the strips oriented in the same direction of your block which can be any size so long as the final size of the block(s) are equivalent of 12"x12" finished.

As for colours, I would like the blocks to be in lake country colours - greens and blues. One colour per block, as shown in my samples:

Bee Sewcial June Bee Sewcial June

I'd also like the blocks to have a little less value contrast than the ones I made for my examples. So keep it to medium/dark or medium/light if that makes sense.

If you're sewing along with us, the hashtag is #inspiredbybeesewcial. Check out what my lovely bee mates are working on with #beesewcial.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Small Study

While at QuiltCon West in Pasadena this past February, I took a workshop with the inimitable Gwen Marston. A once in a lifetime opportunity, really, since she is not going to be travelling and teaching anymore. I'm not even certain she will be continuing her retreats on Beaver Island.

Surreptitious selfie with Gwen Marston

The day I spent learning from her was the absolute highlight of the entire trip for me, and that's saying something since it was a pretty fabulous trip all around.

This is the finished product, which is about 10½" square. Working with 3/4" strips was challenging but I loved the ability to see my composition come together right before my eyes.

Small Study

Gwen is a really marvelous teacher, and the work that came out of the class in just one day was absolutely wonderful:

A selection of Small Sketches by students in Gwen Marston's QuiltCon West workshop.

And finally, here we are after the class.
Gwen and me.

This sweet lil' mini is on my Q2 Finish Along goals list. Yay for finishes (it was my only one for the quarter)!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Bee Sewcial: March and April

March in Bee Sewcial was Hillary's month. We got a photo prompt with the concept of "layers" and a wonderful colour palette. Here are my blocks:

Layers, second block for Hillary @entropyalwayswins
Layers for Hillary @entropyalwayswins 

And then April came along and we made triangles with a repeating theme for Marci, in blue. I love blue so much. SO MUCH. The first block started out with the triangles both pointing up, but it was missing something. So I flipped one triangle over and that was that. 
April Bee Sewcial blocks for Marci.
Improvisational piecing doesn't have to look messy or random. It can be controlled and measured.

My second block was less controlled and measured. I began with the triangles, then added the strips to bring the block to the desired size of 12½".

April Bee Sewcial blocks for Marci.

Follow Bee Sewcial on Instagram via our hashtag #beesewcial, and participate using #inspiredbybeesewcial.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Fancy Foxes

Need a quick, fun quilt for a baby or small child? I highly recommend Elizabeth Hartman's Fancy Fox II pattern.

Fancy Foxes for L

The VMQG had a workshop taught by Jade Stitch Mischief and it gave me the opportunity to piece the quilt top in a day, and then a Quilt By The Bay day retreat hosted my dear Krista Poppyprint resulted in a finished quilt.

I kept the quilting very simple - organic straight lines done with a walking foot but without any marking. I switched up the space between the lines to add a bit of interest. Also because the close-together quilting was taking FOREVER.

  Fancy Foxes quilting 

This one is for my newest nephew, L. His mom, my sister in law, told me they were going with a navy/grey theme in the baby's room so I had a lot of fun choosing fabrics from my stash. There's some William Morris reproduction fabric, some London Calling by Robert Kaufman (Liberty-adjacent pattern), a Moda Essentials print, some Kona solids and a blender (the grey jewels) whose name I've forgotten.

  Fancy Foxes 

 I can't wait to meet him this summer when I see my family - until then, I hope this quilt is a nice virtual hug.

P.S. This pattern, while quick to put together, has a lot of fabric waste as you cut off corner triangles on a couple of large pieces. If you want to save the bits, go ahead and stitch a second line ½" from the first and cut between the stitched lines as in this tutorial by Cluck Cluck Sew. That gives you a pieced HST for use in another project (or the quilt back, perhaps).

P.P.S. Did you notice the glasses? The pattern comes with a template for glasses. I modified it to make the glasses cat's eyes like mine.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Finish Along: Q2 Goals

Welp here we are again, setting goals for the quarter. I didn't have a great showing last quarter but what're ya gonna do? Life happened. Day job work and life in general are busy and stressful at the moment, so much so that I contemplated not putting a list together. I don't have much in the tank in the evenings, even for quilty stuff. But the goals are very motivating for me and help me stay focused on what I want to do so let's do this!

1. I came very close to finishing my Bee Sewcial quilt in time for my Q1 goal. I've (possibly temporarily) named it Winter. I didn't want to rush the quilting like I usually do and regret the output. As it stands, I've begun some walking foot quilting but I already know I want the quilting lines to be closer together. Back on the list it goes!

Winter quilting

2. My piece that I made during the Small Studies workshop I took with Gwen Marston at QuiltCon this past February. I really feel like the class was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me. Gwen is the bee's knees. Looking forward to finishing this little piece (it's about 8"x9"). I've got a few more parts that didn't make it into the final piece, only because I temporarily lost them on my worktable during the workshop. I may or may not add them. We'll have to see how things shape up.

Small study 

I'm leaving the list at this because I'm a dummy and signed up for/committed to two different challenges that are due in the coming 6 weeks. I've not started either one, though I at least have a design in mind for the one that's due May 1st!

2016 FAL

Sunday, April 3, 2016

2016 Finish Along Q1 report

My Q1 Finish Along list was pretty simple - four projects. That's it. How did I do?

1. Bee Sewcial Winter quilt. Not yet finished, and probably won't be before the deadline. I've begun quilting this quilt, and it's going okay but I don't want to rush it just for the sake of getting it in under the wire. I will carry this project forward to Q2.

Winter quilt, quilting

2. Modern Stripes. YES! It was admittedly a "gimme" (only had the binding left to do when I put it on my Q1 list) but hey. It's a finish. The link with all the photos is here but I will link up this post to report on it.

Modern Stripes quilting 

3. Gee's Bend Mini. No. It's currently AWOL, actually. I blame the move. Sigh.

4. Mod Corsage. Actually, I did a bit more appliqué and used this sweet block as my starter block for this year's VMQG Round Robin.

  Mod Corsage Round Robin starter block

The Finish along really helps keep me focused on finishing the projects I really want to finish. Why not join us for Q2?

A Sunny Mini

A friend and co-worker left our department and I gave her the choice of what handmade item she'd like as a going away gift: a pillow, pouch or mini quilt.

Lesley chose a mini, and I'm so glad she did because I had the perfect design all set to go. Lesley is easily one of the most cheerful, sunny, positive people I know. So something involving a bright sun was a no-brainer option for her gift, which I called "Let Your Light Shine Bright."

Let Your Light Shine Bright

It's not very big - maybe 13"x14"? I can't exactly remember. But it began with two improvised "slabs" of fabric - one blue and one yellow. I used a circle ruler to make the inset half-circle. The letters and sun rays were cut out of fabric to which I'd adhered fusible web. I drew the letters freehand (and in mirror image!).

Stitching down the appliqué via freemotion quilting plus some fun designs in the sun was the only quilting I did on the piece.

Half-circle sun and quilting

A cute yellow binding was a nice finish, I think.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Bee Sewcial January and February

I re-upped my commitment to Bee Sewcial when Leanne and Stephanie decided to keep it running for another year. I absolutely LOVE the monthly challenges and besides, one of our members (Debbie A Quilter's Table) won First Place in Group Quilts at QuiltCon West with a Bee Sewcial quilt - who wouldn't want to continue in a group like that if they could?

Speaking of QuiltCon, many of us Bee Sewcialites (current and former) met up at QuiltCon, had our photo taken in front of the quilt and had a great lunch together. A QuiltCon highlight for sure.

Now. While my Bee Sewcial participation has been timely, my blogging about it has not been! January flitted by and so did February and well here we are.

Stephanie Spontaneous Threads kicked off January with a prompt about lines and intersections, and chose some of my very very favourite colours - shades of grey + curry + a pop of colour.

Bee Sewcial block 1 for Stephanie

Block 2 for @spontaneousthreads, #beesewcial #inspiredbybeesewcial. It's a fair bit like the first one but I was enjoying the lines so much, I just kept going. 

Then for February, Karen Capitola Quilter had a really cool idea combining form and function and colour ("Stretch Denim (Let's Get Comfortable)") and oh it was great. My first block was kind of typical of me - some improv waves, some chambray.

Bee Sewcial February block 1 for   Karen

For Block 2, I waited until the Bee Sewcial ladies could give me an in-person tutorial on insetting shapes into backgrounds. Success! Check out that "hole in my jeans"!

Bee Sewcial February block 2 for  Karen.

The technique is a combination of the 6 minute circle (you can search it on youtube) and some others and now I know how to do it yaaaaaay!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Fancy Fox II: Pillow

Every year, I donate something handmade to the silent auction at my friend/former co-worker's ringette team fundraiser. First it was a quilt, then I downsized a bit to pillows (this one, and this one).

I made four Fancy Fox II blocks into a quilt top in a VMQG workshop a few weeks ago, and they were so fast to make, I thought of the pattern right away for this year's Beaver Bash pillow.

fancy fox pillow

This is a 100% stash project. Foxy's face fabric is by Kate and Birdie (Canadian!) for Moda. The line is called Autumn Woods, from a couple years ago. The grey paisley is also Moda - the selvage says Moda Classics. Fancy Fox II is a pattern by Elizabeth Hartman.

It's quilted very sparsely - just an echo around the face and some stippling in the background. Since I used fusible fleece, I wasn't too worried about quilting density.

The pillow cover is about 20" square, and I stuffed it with a 22" pillow form to make it nice and plump.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

New Placemats

Finally! The placemats I made back in 2011 were so old and worn out, I decided it was time to make some new ones.

I used two charm packs of Mochi by Rashida Coleman-Hale for Cotton + Steel. Such fun, bright, funky fabrics! The pattern is just a quick Disappearing 9-Patch.

I backed them with some fun Moda grunge, which I also used for the bindings. And the quilting is different on each placemat. 
New placemats made with Mochi by Rashida Coleman-Hale for Cotton + Steel.

What have you sewn lately?