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!

Blogathon Canada 2014

Did you hear? Sew Sisters Quilt Shop is once again sponsoring Blogathon Canada: Canadian Quilters Connect. Each day between November 17th and 22nd, Canadian quilting blogs will be featured along with giveaways at each stop on the tour AND on the Sew Sisters blog too!


Sew Sisters Blog

Today the Blogathon kicks off with two Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild members! Stacey of Stacey in Stitches and Jessica of Momiji Studio. Go check out their posts and their giveaways and don't forget to click around a bit and admire their wonderful work.

Each stop on the blog tour lists bloggers from that region so this is a great way to find some new blogs for inspiration.

If you're here because of Blogathon Canada, welcome! I'm delighted that you're visiting - please take a look around and enjoy your stay. I've got a few fun posts coming up, including a tutorial and some finishes so if you want, you can follow me on Bloglovin' or Feedly, or get new posts by email over there on the sidebar.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Bloggers' Quilt Festival: Miss Kate in the Stars

Have you seen the wonderful quilts that are being shared in the Bloggers' Quilt Festival over at Amy's Creative Side? They're awesome!

I've already shared one quilt in the Large Quilt category, and now I'm sharing a little something in the Mini category! Regular readers of my sporadic blogging have seen Miss Kate in the Stars before, but since we're allowed to share two quilts, I thought I'd share this lovely again.

Miss Kate in the Stars

I made this for Jade (Stitch Mischief) in a mini quilt swap we did at the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild. More details are here in my original blog post, but Jade loves Bonnie and Camille so I was so happy to put a charm pack of Miss Kate to good use in a quilt for her. The design is a block by Judy Martin called Star Struck, which I adjusted slightly so that I could use the full charm squares, and so that I didn't have to figure out flying geese math. The mini is about 18" square.

Miss Kate closeup

I am particularly happy with the quilting I did on this quilt. Lots of loops, and some feathers, too.

Miss Kate quilting closeup

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy the Festival!

AmysCreativeSide.com

Friday, October 24, 2014

Bloggers' Quilt Festival Fall 2014: Liberty Goes to the Circus

I do so enjoy the Bloggers' Quilt Festival hosted by Amy Ellis twice a year at Amy's Creative Side. She rounds up great sponsors and creates a fantastic online quilt show for our viewing and inspiration. It's wonderful!

My BQF entry this year - in the Large Quilt category - is called Liberty Goes to the Circus.

Liberty Goes to the Circus_

I was gifted a half-dozen packages of Liberty of London tana lawn fat quarters by my neighbour who's in the clothing design business. He'd had them hanging around in his office for a while and one day offered them to me. I could barely squeak out a thank you, knowing what I did about how precious Liberty fabric is.

I paired each FQ with a coordinating Kona solid...

Liberty plus Kona solids quilt status: fabrics paired up. #squee #liberty #wip

...and used this tutorial to create a total of 42 St. Louis 16-patch blocks. I hoped that the brightness of the solids would unify the disparate patterns and backgrounds of the various Liberty fabrics.

Liberty Goes to the Circus quilting

I do believe the solids did their job of unifying the whole thing. Having said that, however, I'm reminded of my sister and brother-in-law's first home that had different coloured carpet in every room in the house (colours included burgundy, purple and royal blue) and she commented that it seemed like the previous owners used "Circus" as inspiration when they were choosing their d├ęcor theme. Which is why I'm calling this Liberty Goes to the Circus.

Liberty Goes to the Circus hanging

The quilt is the biggest I've made - 87"x101" and I wasn't able to use my usual strategy of pinning the quilt to the wooden arbours in our courtyard (seen above) for photography purposes. Instead, I had my husband hang it over the railing of our top balcony.

Liberty Goes to the Circus

It's free-motion quilted with an neutral(ish) Aurifil thread in 40 wt (colour 2324) in a petal/leaf motif in each square.

Liberty Goes to the Circus quilted block

The backing is a fabulous Martha Negley print plus a little bit of Jay McCarroll Habitat and an extra block.

Liberty Goes to the Circus back

I was originally going to use a dark solid of some kind as binding, but instead I went with a favourite "neutral" of mine - Kona Curry. It is a surprisingly versatile shade, and provides a nice pop of colour there (like this thing needs more colour ha ha) along the edge. Plus, this lighter shade will wear a little more nicely than a darker fabric that will fade after many washings.

Kona Curry Binding

I puffy heart love this quilt, and it's mine alllll mine. Except when the kid steals it for afternoon reading/snuggling purposes.

Liberty Quilt + arbour

Thanks for stopping by for the Bloggers' Quilt Festival! This quilt is entered in the Large Quilt category.

AmysCreativeSide.com

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Finish Along Q4 Goals

Hmmm. What to do, what to do? I've got many MANY more WIPs than there is time in this final quarter of the year. It's a bit hard to predict everything I'm going to work on. I know some that are "for sure" additions to the list but I want to make this aspirational.

1. My top priority right now is making an Elsa costume (of course) for my sweet G. For the longest time, she insisted she would be an Enchantress and had even drawn up a diagram of what her gown was to look like, together with an additional drawing of the cloak and wand that were required to complete the outfit:

Enchantress cloak diagram.

I think that's like 6 pockets - yikes!


At this point, I'm kind of glad I get to sew with a pattern (even if the yoke has to be adjusted to look like the "real" Elsa dress and I have to make a detachable train/cape because ELSA'S CAPE ISN'T ATTACHED IN THE FRONT MAMA ONLY IN THE BACK AND PLEASE USE SNAPS SO I CAN PUT IT ON AND OFF):

Here we go! One Elsa dress coming right up. So glad I have a serger! #finishalong

2. A mugrug for a coworker. It's designed, the fabric is chosen, and it's next in line after the Elsa dress is complete.

3. I signed up for the fabric for the Michael Miller Spring Cotton Couture challenge from the Modern Quilt Guild - there's a special category in the QuiltCon show for these quilts. I've got a design and more fabric on the way. November 30 is the entry deadline.

My #quiltcon Michael Miller Cotton Couture challenge planning.

4. Oh, hello, fully basted Wonderland quilt that just needs quilting. You're going to be one of my Loon Lake retreat projects in November. Stop looking at me like that. I know you've been on the FAL list every quarter this year, okay? I feel like this is your quarter.

Wonderland Quilt Top

I see on Flickr that this photo was taken in JUNE 2012. *sigh*


5. My Mod Mood quilt was begun at QuiltCon 2013. Going to try to get it into a finished state to enter into the QuiltCon 2015 show. I'm hoping the FAL and the show will be motivation to finish. Here's where I got by the end of the workshop:

My Get Your Curve On WIP

6. Digging deep into the past for this collection of bee blocks. I got these blocks in 2011! Wow, I wouldn't have guessed that long ago but there you go. These colours go with our bedroom so I really want to make the blocks into a bed quilt. I may revise my original design (numerous blocks with the "boxes" of varying size) to something a little more quick to finish. Stay tuned; in the meantime, kindly admire my bee mates' handiwork!

Jewel Box Squares so far...

I think that's enough for now. There are a couple of other projects that are only at WIMM (Works In My Mind) vs. WIPs so they aren't quite at FAL goal status: a new tote bag for work with some fabulous Melody Miller linen/cotton blend fabric; an item for my partner in the Teeny Weeny Swap, a swap the VMQG is doing with two Australian MQGs (FUN!); possibly also a Super Tote.

Plus, I've ended my online bee embargo and you'll hear more about that in coming months - this blog is kind of a WIP/UFO that isn't getting enough attention but ironically, when I have little things to share - like bee blocks - I tend to write more frequently.

Linking up this list to the Finish Along linky over at Katy's blog. There's time to join if you want. The more, the merrier!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Finish Along Q3 Wrap Up

I think I start every single one of these Finish Along posts the same thought: Wow, that quarter went quickly!

But it did! School got out two weeks early and started three weeks late because of a dispute between the teachers' union and our provincial government. The kids were finally back in school the week of the 22nd. That put a crimp in my productivity because my alternate Mondays off were not enjoyed sans enfant.

But I did get some stuff done, though not everything on my list (of course):

1. Road Trip Case. YES! I sewed with vinyl! It wasn't awful!

2. Circle of Geese bee quilt. YES! Renamed Love is All Around, it's with its new owner and rumour has it she wanted to call me at 7 am Eastern time (so 4 am my time) to thank me!

3. Michael Miller Petal Pinwheels Challenge. YES! It's on reserve for when I need a baby quilt sometime in the future.

4. Liberty + Kona Solids St. Louis 16- patch. YES! Sneak peek photo only; full post to come soon but I wanted to make sure I linked up this finish (this post counts for it in the linky).

Liberty 16 patch sneak peek

5. Wonderland Sampler and Wonderland Quilt: Nope and nope. But that's okay. They'll get done but not before I deal with making an Elsa dress for someone for Halloween (not me).

Thanks, Katy for the Finish Along - there's so, so much work involved and I'm so grateful. It's a wonderful motivator for me. There's no way I would've made time to make myself a quilt (which is what the Liberty 16 patch is) without it.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Road Trip Case

The Road Trip Case is a really fun, practical project for the Rainbow Loom lover ("loomatic" as G says) in your life. The pattern, by Anna Graham (Noodlehead) , is very well-written with good diagrams.

I was a teensy bit afraid of the vinyl, but it all worked out beautifully. The pattern deals with it in a very simple, clever way. I put some clear tape on the bottom of my presser foot for when I was sewing on top of the vinyl and it was really fine.

Road Trip Case inside

I quilted the exterior (not that you can see the stitches) and used a variety of bright, fun fabrics.

Road Trip Case exterior

G loves it and immediately filled the clear pocket with all of her Rainbow Loom makes. Success!
Road Trip Case

This is a Q3 Finish Along finish - yahoo!

Finish Along 2014

Monday, September 8, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

So the Around the World Blog Hop appears to be sweeping through the blogiverse, and I got tagged by the lovely Leanne of she can quilt. Leanne is a quilty friend I met via blogging and whom I've had the pleasure of meeting in person as well. She makes really beautiful things and has been rocking the quilt show circuit lately - racking up some sweet ribbons and prizes. Rock stah!

The rules of the blog hop are that I'm to answer some questions, and then tag three bloggers who would then participate by answering the questions, and tagging three others and so on.

It is a good way to discover new blogs, I concede. I'm not so much into the "tagging three others" business so I'm going to cheat a little and direct you to the very talented Leslie who blogs at Leslie Unfinished - check out her blog to see all the wonderful projects she shares. I have it on excellent authority (i.e. Leslie) that she's been tagged to participate in the blog hop and so please do go visit her on the 15th (or before! or now, and again on the 15th!).

1. What am I working on?

I *just* finished a very long-time WIP (seriously - we're talking 4 years) and I feel so liberated! I am not shy about abandoning projects that don't work anymore, but because these blocks were made for me by others as part of a bee, I felt it behooved me to find a way to finish the project.

Love is All Around _front

Now that that quilt is done, I've turned my attention to an overdue project for my nearly 7-year-old daughter: a carrying case for her Rainbow Loom (Road Trip Case pattern by Anna Graham/Noodlehead).

Road trip case in progress

I need to get that done before the pattern for her "Elsa" halloween costume arrives and she starts hounding me about it. She's quite the taskmaster!

2. How does my work differ from others'?

DQS10 Finished!

This is a really tough question! I don't usually make quilts based on patterns, and even if I do use a pattern, I'll often make fabric choices that are unique to me so most of what I create tends to have my own spin on it.

New Wave fabrics

I'm way too cheap to buy fabric full price so I rarely - if ever - work with the very latest fabrics, and I almost never work within one single line of fabrics unless it's a specific challenge because fabric-choosing is one of my favourite parts of the process (exception: Wonderland by MoMo [I don't know why]). I don't think I've yet reached the point where my work is a defined style, and I'm not even sure that's where I want to end up. I just make what I feel like making.

wonky stars front

3. Why do I write and create?

I create because I need to - I sew pretty much every evening - once my daughter's in bed, I spend at least 20 minutes (my personal daily goal) and often up to two hours sewing. It calms me, it centres me and it makes me happy. I really feel it when I haven't had time to sew. I feel agitated and unhappy when I can't get to my machine.

pretty pincushion front

As for the writing, well, that really seems to have tapered off, mainly because of other commitments: home, my guild, work etc. I do blog when I can and I'm always grateful for those who read and take the time to comment (another thing that has tapered off for me). For me, the making part is my priority, and I will usually choose sewing over blogging.

4. How does my writing/creating process work?

It depends! If the thing I'm making is for someone else or for a specific purpose, the planning/thinking process is a lot different - and usually much, much longer - than if the project is one that I'm making on a whim.

Sea Glass on Sand

I made Sea Glass on Sand because those little blue/green triangles (shards from another project) really wanted to be made into something. Ditto some leftover bits of fabric from a mini quilt - I couldn't throw them out so they got made into this mini:

Confetti Quilt Full Frontal

On the other hand, this commission quilt was planned based on fabric I had on hand and my client's request for something traditional but not too old-fashioned.

Vintage Star with quilting

What every project has in common, though, is that I'm making. Always making. I make things to be admired, used, loved, worn out, remembered by....but I'm always just making.

Okay! So I said I wasn't going to tag people and make them participate, but how about I give you links to three blogs that I enjoy and I think you will too:

  • Carly at Citric Sugar makes gorgeous and original stuff and is hilarious to boot. Also Canadian, which: yes!
  • You likely already know about Krista of Poppyprint - she's very skilled, very creative and a great friend too. (A fellow Canadian and VMQG member.)
  • Last but not least, another Canadian and fellow VMQG member: Janet of What Comes Next? I credit Janet with helping me over my fear of FMQ feathers ("Just start. Just try it. You'll be great."). Her FMQ is inspiring!
Thanks for visiting and to Leanne for asking me to play along.