Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Bee Sewcial - February

Well after the improv curves in reds, blues, greens and purples that we made in January, our assignment for February provided quite a study in contrast!

Kari of Craft Happy gave us some wonderful inspiration in her Pinterest board full of bold graphic design, and asked for a palette of hot reds, corals and pinks, with muted mint, aqua and mustard on dove grey, cream, and black.

This is what I ended up making:

Bee Sewcial February for Kari

I'm really happy with it, and I hope Kari is too. Although now that I reread the instructions, I'm worried that I didn't break free of traditional grid, and didn't use one background colour. Hmmm. Must think on this. In any case, I'm loving this bee so far and I was extra delighted to be able to meet some of my bee-mates in real life at QuiltCon this past week!

Once I'm fully "landed," I'll post more about QuiltCon but suffice it to say it was absolutely wonderful. Just the right combination of everything: socializing, eating, shopping, quilt-admiring, pin-trading.... I'm still in a bit of a bubble and not quite all "here." Stay tuned.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Scrappy Maples

This is another non-FAL finish, but a satisfying one nonetheless. I think all finishes are satisfying, actually.

Scrappy Maples

I needed a wee gift for a friend, and for some reason what popped immediately to mind was the many beautiful Modern Maples quilts I've been seeing around using low-volume prints instead of a solid as the background.

Modern Maples quilting

I have a love/hate relationship with HSTs. I hate how long they take to make (and all that trimming - ugh!), but boy do I love how they look when they're done. When they're scrappy, I love them even more.

I was briefly stumped by the quilting, because the HSTs cause a few very bulky seam intersections so my original plan for matchstick (or close) quilting was foiled. I settled on concentric circles using my walking foot because I love the effect. Aurifil 50 wt in soft white was a perfect thread (as usual).

Modern Maples quilted circles

This mini finished at around 18" square - those blocks are 6" finished. The coloured fabrics are entirely from my scrap bins, as are most of the low-volume backgrounds. I have a LOT of scraps.

Modern Maples

I think this block is my favourite because the text print (Suzuko Koseki, I believe) says Vancouver on it and also mentions Stanley Park. With the Eiffel Tower alongside! I find Japanese text prints to be sweetly hilarious.

purple maple

I'll link this finish up with Leanne (shecanquilt) and Nicky (Mrs. Sew and Sow) who are doing a fun scrap-themed linky every month called Scraptastic Tuesday.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The One That Got Away - a "just because" project

Do you ever start projects "just because"? Just because a fabric combo was on your cutting table and inspired you to make something with it Right That Moment? Just because you had a design noodling around in your head and a charm pack of Free Spirit solids looking for the perfect project? Just because you just wanted to make something for no other reason than to make something? ME TOO!

Introducing The One That Got Away:

The One That Got Away

I just love this quilt! I think it's whimsical and colourful and playful. As I was putting the coloured bits together, I began with the intention of piecing them into a square, but then I had the idea to amp up the quirkiness by having one piece making its getaway.

The One That Got Away quilted circles

I personally love the combination of bright colours with dark grey so I used Kona Charcoal for the background.

The One That Got Away lookingup

For the quilting, I settled on two sets of concentric circles to highlight both The One and the space it left behind. I chose Aurifil 50 weight thread in a dark grey (2605) that provides a lot of texture and just enough contrast. In some spots the intersecting lines make neat diamond shapes, while in others, the lines are nearly parallel to each other - I quite like the diversity of pattern that was created with the quilted lines.

The One That Got Away quilting closeup

I kept the back simple - Kona Medium Gray.

The One That Got Away back

The finished product is about 39" square.

The One That Got Away and arbour

I'll link up to TGIFF, hosted this week by M-R at Quilt Matters.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Bee Sewcial - January

Last year, I was persuaded by Leanne she can quilt to forego my Flickr quilt bee embargo. She was gathering a group of really interesting quilters, and with a couple of exceptions, nearly all of them were unknown to me. I've got a lot of time and respect for Leanne, my schedule was pretty open, and I was kind of excited about expanding my network so I said yes. I'm so glad I did!

January was month 1. Stephanie Spontaneous Threads shared some extremely inspiring photos of the Chihuly Exhibit at the Denver Botanic Gardens amazing glass creations, and set us loose to work up some improv blocks.

Chihuly Improv Block 1 for Stephanie

Chihuly Improv Block 2 for Stephanie

This month's assignment is a lot different and looks like it will be equally inspiring. This is fun!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

First Finish for 2015: Grey Improv Pillow

My first finish for the year and it feels great! for the past couple years, I've made something for my co-worker's ringette team's fundraiser. First it was a quilt, then a pillow and I decided to make a pillow again.
pillow front

I used the Improv under the Influence that Krista featured in her MQG Pattern of the Month "Chess on the Steps," and taught in a recent workshop for the VMQG. I thought the grey could use a little pop of colour, so I added the flanges when I pieced the improv strips together. I'm really happy with how it worked out!

Grey Improv Pillow

I quilted it with Aurifil 40wt in a gorgeous green colour (#3320) using a motif inspired by Christina Cameli's newest book Step by Step Free Motion Quilting. I used my walking foot to quilt the wavy green lines, most of which were quite organic. I made two lines in each section parallel. I then went back and free-motion quilted some pebbles in between them.
Improv Pillow and Flanges

I used more of the green on the pillow back.
Improv Pillow Back

And finally, I added an invisible zipper as the closure (though it's not that invisible).
Invisible Zipper

The pillow cover measures around 16" square and I've stuffed it with an 18" pillow form to make it nice and plump.

This is my first 2015 Finish Along finish as well!

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

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!):

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 (

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.