Saturday, January 24, 2015

Make It, Take It

You guys, I've got some awesome news. My beautiful, awesome and talented friend the one and only Krista Hennebury (Poppyprint) has written a book. A delightful book. Make It, Take It is about retreats and sewing with friends and it's full of fantastic projects, all of which you're going to want to make immediately. I'm one of the contributors, I'm proud to say.

 Images courtesy Martingale

The book will be available for purchase on February 10th at Martingale before shops and Amazon have received their shipments. Plus, purchases direct from Martingale will include a free digital copy that you can download to your laptop, tablet or phone to bring along on retreat!

Lonestar quilt designed by Lynne Goldsworthy 
Photo from Make It, Take It by Brent Kane, Martingale 2014

More details, photos and a giveaway to come - this is just a teaser! If you're heading to QuiltCon, you'll be happy to know the book is debuting there, and Krista is scheduled to do a couple of signings. Details to come on her blog.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

2015 Finish Along Q1 Goals

Another year, another Finish Along! This time, it's being hosted by Adrianne of On the Windy Side. My finish stats were not bad last year - I "registered" a total of 22 projects (though some were repeated from quarter to quarter) and finished 14. A 64% finish rate isn't great but that doesn't count finishes that didn't make it onto the lists. Besides, this is my hobby that's supposed to be fun and relaxing. I refuse to get stressed out by it.

Anyhoo, let's get my 2015 list kicked off, shall we?

1. Pillow using Krista Poppyprint's Improv technique. This is going to be for a fundraiser for my coworker's ringette team. Past projects were another pillow and a quilt.

Improv piecing for pillow

2. Chess on the Steps. This quilt top is done and it now needs basting. The kind of quilting I'm planning really requires spray basting, which I can't do at home, hence the delay.

My version of Chess on the Steps, by Krista Hennebury, all ready for basting.

I used the leftover greys from this quilt to start the pillows. I love me some grey!

3. Jeweled Squares. I made some progress on this during my Loon Lake weekend retreat and it's a long overdue finish, so even though this photo is really old (2011!!), I assure you more has been done:
Jewel Box Squares so far...

And that's it. I have QuiltCon and I'm considering starting a new quilt to enter into the CQA's National Juried Show but I'm trying to be realistic about what I can accomplish between now and the entry deadline of February 4th while maintaining a semblance of sanity and not getting divorced. Wish me luck!

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

QuiltCon Preparations

QuiltCon is about 6 weeks away - incredible that it's come up so fast! I've been doing a few things to get ready!

Jules Procrasticraft organized a fun QuiltCon-related swap of lanyards. It's been so fun to check out the #quiltcon2015lanyardswap hashtag on Instagram! My camera ate the good photos I took so you'll have to settle for this (sorry!):
Lanyard

It's a secret, blind swap and my partner very generously said she would love a lanyard that reflects where the maker comes from. I chose blue for the ocean and green for the lush trees and greenery we have here in Vancouver, plus I couldn't resist a little red/white to signify Canada. The maple leaves were my husband's suggestion and I think they're sweet too. I've mailed the lanyard and a coordinating little pouch that can hold a room key and a few bucks. I hope my partner likes it!

Secondly, there's a Facebook group of Canadians going to QuiltCon and the lovely Julie has designed a T-shirt for us all!
Canadians going to quiltcon can buy a t-shirt with this logo thanks to Julie (owlydesign.ca)

I am putting in an order forthwith - I'm so looking forward to meeting fellow quilters in Austin in a few short weeks.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

2014 Roundup (with Bonus Q4 Finish Along Report)

Well now, that was quite a year! I was a busy little quiltmaker during 2014 as I worked on achieving my goal of making a quilt for each of the six nieces and nephews on my side of the family.

I'm proud to say I achieved that goal! These are the quilts I made, and only one was a 2013 project:

Niece/Nephew Quilts
(click on the photo to get the links to each quilt)

I made some other quilts, too - they're featured in this mosaic along with the ones above:

2014 Collage of Quilts
(Triangle Garden is missing from the mosaic.Oops.)

There were times when I was a bit stressed by the deadlines, mainly because the kids' birthdays are mostly grouped in the April/May/June months, but I do have to say that having a deadline made me significantly more productive. Plus, I converted a few languishing WIPs into finished quilts that I really love so that's a big win in my book.

You'll recall that I once again participated in the 2014 Finish Along party.

Finish Along 2014

All righty - let's recap my Q4 FAL goal list and see how I did:

1. The Elsa Costume. YES! Mentioned in this post.

2. Co-worker mug rug. YES! This post will count as the link for that project.

3. Michael Miller Spring Cotton Couture Challenge quilt. YES! Pastel Curves is going to live with my Mother-in-Law in her care home.

Pastel Curves

4. Wonderland and 5. Mod Mood. NOPE. Carried over to Q1, perhaps?

In addition to the foregoing, I made 9 (!) reusable shopping totes for Christmas gifts for teachers (no photos due to sewing to a deadline), a tote for work, a sewing kit for the Teeny Weeny Swap, and a bunch of clothes (for my kid and her doll). I'm pleased with my output!

2015 promises to be full of fun (QuiltCon!) and projects, but I'm not sure exactly which ones. Stay tuned!


2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

Friday, January 2, 2015

Teeny Weeny Swap

Late last year, the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild was invited by the Great Western Sydney MQG to participate in an inter-guild swap that ultimately expanded to also include the Brisbane MQG. The brainchild of Berene Happy Sew Lucky and Lorena lorena_in_syd, the unique feature of the Teeny Weeny Swap was that it needed to feature "teeny weeny" piecing - no piece larger than 2"! There were practical reasons for this, too, considering the cost of shipping goodies back and forth between our two countries.

My partner Kathy, not a fan of pink, said she liked grey with bright colours especially yellow. Hello, one of my favourite colour combos!
quilting closeup

I made her this needle/sewing case using this tutorial.

Sewing kit folded up
it's fastened on the back because I wanted to use a button and loop rather than a strap

Here's what it looks like opened up:
Sewing Kit inside

There's a strap to hold two narrow spools of thread, some black felt for needles, a scissor spot plus a couple of pockets.

Kathy loved it (it even matched the outfit she had on at the meeting when she received it)! Whew! And this is what she made me in return (yes, those sneaky swap mamas had each pair making for each other, without our knowing it!):


Isn't it awesome? And the best part is that it's lined with some gorgeous pink fabric, which I know was a stretch for Kathy. So thoughtful! There are bits of Anna Maria Horner in the centre of those churn dashes! And we both used that Robert Kaufman yarn-dyed black in the projects we made. So funny. I feel so lucky to receive this beautiful dilly bag. Thank you, Kathy, and thanks to Berene, Amy and Lorena for coordinating a fun swap.

Roundup of Random Crap I Made and Forgot to Blog

Who doesn't love a catchy blog post title, amirite?

Anyway, there were a few things I made this past quarter that I didn't make time to blog about, so here's a quick compilation:

1. Elsa Costume. My child was one of the legion of kids dressed as Elsa this Hallowe'en. She was absolutely thrilled with the costume, and I was happy too.


2. Mugrug for my Boss.  Terrible cellphone photo but you can kind of see the subtle design I quilted on here. It's a large dandelion with floating seeds and it says "wish."


I was inspired by this mug she uses with a similar image that says "some see weeds, others see wishes."


3. Clothing for LĂ©onie, G's new doll:
I made a matching one for G


For the top and leggings, I used Rachael Imagine Gnats' wonderful free patterns (Eva pants and Chloe tee). If you plan to make these pants, I recommend assembling them slightly differently than the tutorial suggests - rather than sewing the inseams together first, start by sewing the front and back seams from waist to crotch. Then sew the leg seams together from ankle to ankle in one long seam. Much less fussy.

A couple of these makes were on my Q4 FAL goal list so big yay for that! 

I've got one more project to blog about plus my Q4 FAL roundup plus my Q1 2015 Finish Along goals. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Pastel Curves: a Final Finish for 2014

Hello! I've been thoroughly enjoying my holidays this Christmas. I'm off work and we've been having lots of fun as a family. I hope your holidays were merry and bright.

I'd like to share my final quilty finish of 2014 - Pastel Curves.
Pastel Curves

I finished up this mini quilt in late November, in time to submit it to the QuiltCon show as part of the Michael Miller Spring Cotton Couture Challenge (it wasn't accepted).

The palette of pastels was outside my normal colour range, and I ended up sticking to just three of the six colours in the bundle. The fabrics themselves are very fine - quite thin, actually. In the lighter pastel shades, there was a lot of show-through of the seam allowances. Using a white batting helped but not entirely. I probably won't choose these again, not that it's likely anyway since Cotton Couture solids don't seem to be available in Canada.

Pastel Curves_detail

I wanted a design with a fair bit of negative space so I could continue to work on my FMQ skills. I tried a few different motifs, and because I used some lovely Aurifil 50 weight thread in white, it blended in beautifully while highlighting all the quilty texture. I'm really pleased!

Pastel Curves feather

The curved pieces were created using Julie Distant Pickles' template intended for her Mod Pop and Tunnel Vision patterns. I hoped to be able to use it to cut the convex curve on the corner of a larger piece of fabric, so I could then piece on the concave piece, and it worked!

Pastel Curves feather

For the label, I applied fusible web to the back of one of my labels, then cut it with pinking shears. I jotted the quilt's information inside the letters - I kind of like the effect, actually.

Pastel Curves label

This measures about 23" square, and it'll hang in my mother-in-law's room at the care home she recently moved into.

This is a Finish Along finish (that's a link to my Q4 goal list)! Hooray! Even though I didn't finish a lot of what I intended to in 2014, I loved the camaraderie and motivation of the Finish Along - think about joining us for 2015, when it will be hosted by Adrianne On the Windy Side!

Finish Along 2014


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Rainbow in the Round

Rainbow in the Round_full

Isn't this just the happiest quilt you've ever seen? The Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild did a Round Robin quilt activity this year, organized by yours truly. I modeled it on something similar we did in my former guild called "tinners". Participants put their starting block (or row), a journal and a focus fabric in a tin, then each month we got a tin to work on, based on that month's instructions.

The Round Robin worked similarly. We started with a centre block, then each month, instructions were posted on the VMQG blog for how many borders to add, how big they were to be, plus a theme (stars, triangles, curves, etc.). Some folks opted to include some fabric they wanted used throughout the quilt, and others didn't.

My starting "block" was a green scrappy square I made using the slab technique outlined in Sunday Morning Quilts. I asked that each month's additions be monochromatic and scrappy, with the colour being up to the contributor.

Green slab starter block

I was so happy with my quilt that I went home and almost immediately got to work adding a few more borders to increase its size (I added the red and yellow to complete the rainbow, plus the wide black and white border to contain it all).

I quilted it simply, with straight lines about 2" apart using my walking foot, then FMQ'd in between with Christina A Few Scraps' "beads on a string" design from her Craftsy class (more on that in another post).

Rainbow in the Round quilting

I wasn't too sure what colour thread to choose since this quilt has ALL THE COLOURS so I chose white Aurifil 50 weight thread and it worked perfectly, I think. The 50 weight means it's nice and fine and it blended surprisingly well. 

Rainbow in the Round detail

I chose green for the binding to echo the centre, where it all began. The quilt is 64"x75" before washing - we'll see how much it shrinks up. I entered it in the QuiltCon show, so we'll see whether it's accepted. In any case, I'm looking forward to snuggling under it as the holiday season approaches.

Rainbow in the Round

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Naramata Summer

For the past few summers, my family and I have spent a week or so in the Okanagan - a beautiful area about 4 hours' drive from Vancouver. Much of the fruit we eat in BC is grown in the Okanagan Valley and no trip there is complete without stopping at many fruit stands to buy juicy peaches and other scrumptious fruit.

This past summer, we stayed on the grounds of a fruit winery in Naramata BC and it was fabulous. Because we were there toward the end of the summer, picking season was in full swing. One day I was walking along the road beside the orchard and noticed a few stacks of pallets awaiting their tour of duty holding the big bins of picked fruit. The pallets were mostly brown but two were this bright blue. I didn't have a camera with me but I sketched what I saw, knowing one day it would turn into a quilt. Amazingly, it did, and in record time, too! This is Naramata Summer.

Naramata Summer front

She's about 31"x29" and made entirely of scraps/stash fabric: Robert Kaufman Essex Linen in (I think) Natural, some Kona cotton in some colours I can't remember but they're left over from my Oceanic Supernova, and Kona Stone.

Naramata Summer quilting

The quilting? Well let me tell you about the quilting. I was all set to make this a quick finish with some straight line quilting and call it a day. The short-sightedness of that plan was pointed out to me at my annual Loon Lake retreat, where I had registered for a short workshop with Krista Withers - a preview of the one she's teaching at QuiltCon on Compositional Quilting, an approach to quilting the negative space found in many modern quilts. Thank goodness I have friends who will kick my ass around the block when needed.

Naramata Summer quilting back_
Because in that workshop? Mind: BLOWN. Seriously. I'll never look at quilting the same way again, and even though we didn't sew one stitch in the workshop, my Free Motion Quilting game was upped *significantly*. I didn't realize I had this in me:

Naramata Summer quilting back

I'm so happy I waited. SO so happy. I will enter this in the QuiltCon quilt show but even if it doesn't get in, I'm extremely proud of the work I've done on this quilt: the design, the execution and the quilting (which was done with Aurifil 40 weight in a lovely turquoise (5006)).

Naramata Summer

And one last full frontal just because:

Naramata Summer Front_

Monday, November 17, 2014

Tutorial: Folded Fabric Star Ornaments



I learned how to make these adorable folded star ornaments at my traditional guild at least 10 years ago and haven't seen them anywhere since. I used this activity as a final assignment in an introductory Instructional Design course and boy was it ever fun to watch a 6'5" man who works as a parole officer learn how to thread a needle!

Here's a brief tutorial for making these ornaments, which can be for a Christmas tree or a Solstice celebration or even as a way to celebrate a graduation - anywhere you'd use a star. It's all about the fabric choices.

Materials:

  • 3 strips of fabric 2" x 7" - can be all the same colour, all different or any combo you like.
  • one or two buttons, no more than ½" wide. If choosing two buttons make sure their holes line up.
  • 8" length of twine or embroidery floss


Directions:

Create Triangles:
1. Lay strip of fabric right side down, short end closest to you.

2. Fold up bottom corner to opposite side of strip and line up fabric edges, creating a right-angle triangle. Make sure the bottom corner is pointy.

3. Fold triangle up so that the side aligns with the edge of the strip.

4. Fold again, aligning side of triangle with the edge of the strip.
5. Continue folding the triangles until there's only a small flap of fabric left.

6. Tuck this rectangle into the folded triangle like a tab.

7. Press if desired.
8. Repeat steps 1-7 for two remaining strips of fabric.


Assemble Ornament:
1. Lay one triangle long side up, and the other triangles on either side, with the long sides facing out.

2. Place the middle triangle on top of the left triangle,
3. Stack the right triangle on top, aligning the triangles as shown.

4. Secure the stack with a couple of hand stitches.
5. Attach the buttons on both sides of the ornament passing the needle all the way through both buttons from one side to the other (this is why you want the holes to line up). (Alternative: no buttons or just one button sewn and another glued).

6. Make a loop with the jute and knot the end.
7. Slip the loop around the top triangle, bringing it in behind.

8. Tug the loop up to catch on the button stitches.

9. Finished! Enjoy!