Sunday, 28 July 2013

The Missing U, A Work In Progress

I woke up to this today! My hubby is sweet...and better at remembering dates that me!
 I've spent the past week like this....

Blech, summer colds are THE WORST! Being under the weather means I haven't felt like being out in the garden or enjoying the warm weather we've been having.
Without the energy to do much else, besides working  and sleeping, and even that was hard, I managed to stitch some blocks last weekend and continued to stitch a couple of blocks over the last few evenings, working away on this "The Missing U" quilt from the book, Sunday Morning Quilts by Amanda Jean Nyberg and CherylArkison.
See the little owl applique?
A set of three blocks takes me about two hours to make, depending on how big or small the scraps are.  The blocks are smaller than those in the book. I made mine 12.5" unfinished and I've made 20 blocks, so the quilt top will measure a nice 48" x 60" when done.

I am so glad I sorted my scraps as it inspired me to make these colourful blocks! There are scraps in here from my very first quilt (1991!) and scraps I recognize that friends and fellow quilters have passed along to me, it has lots of variety (there's even a snippet or two of Habitat by Jay McCarroll, from our guild's Habitat challenge is still just a top)!
I dug through my stash and found this kiddie fabric I have had forever! It's a teal green (not sure if the colour is true in the picture); with little stick drawing boys and girls. All the years I've had it folded in my stash, I didn't know it had a border on it! Super cute!

I think I'll use this fabric on the back. It's a Patrick Lose print from 1996! I'm glad I'll finally do something with it!

Have an awesome week!

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Playing with Scraps

I was thrilled to be able to attend a trunk show presented by the very talented Cheryl Arkison of Sunday Morning Quilts fame!

And I was super-excited that I was able to purchase a copy of her soon-to-be released book, A Month of Sundays!

I already own her first book, and it was neat to see the quilts "in-person" and hear the back stories for many of the quilts, and the quilt names. Cheryl is a great presenter!

Although I do cut up my scraps for future scrappy projects, using Bonnie Hunter's Scrap User's System, I have only been doing this for the last couple of years, and when people know you use scraps, they give you their scraps! So I have an abundance of scraps...a ton of scraps...bins of scraps!

I have slowly been working through the scraps, cutting them into squares, bricks and strips, but it is taking forever! In the meantime, there are a lot of goodies in there that I could probably use in my projects, if only they were more accessible.

I read Cheryl's scrap sorting method in Sunday Morning Quilts, but until she shared the logic behind her sorting method (by colours, strings, and selvage triangle trims are some of the examples), and how it made it easier to access and use them, it didn't sound like something I needed to do. It totally makes sense now! And, she said it doesn't take that long at all.

With my supervisor, aptly named Patches, keeping a watchful eye, I got started.

Well, it has taken me hours to sort through several bins, but now I can see the colour piles, what I have a lot of, and what I don't.

Inspecting the progress
Scrap explosion!
Some oldies, and favourites.

Moda from 2003-2004
Aren't these cowgirls cute!
I made a dress for my daughter with this fabric!

This fabric had antique red Ford Trucks on it.
Scribble Bears from P&B Textiles
Since I have cut up a lot of my scraps, they have kind of been picked over, so many of them are of the darker, tonal variety. Those need to be cut up smaller and used in something else.

I grabbed my pile of greens and pulled out all the clear, mostly bright colours, no tonals, and sewed together three "slabs" this morning.

Fun to do, and fairly quick using the larger pieces. Another quilt I made, Modern Crumbs, used much smaller pieces, so the blocks took a lot longer to piece. It was liberating to use the bigger pieces in my scrap pile!

Nothing left but snippets to stuff a cat bed!
And of course, my Qu.A.D.D (Quilter's Attention Deficit Disorder!) means that I can't keep focused on one project at a, I have been cutting up fabric to make a low-volume quilt, inspired by FITF's Marcelle Plus Quilt and using this block size post on Flickr. I have enough brights cut out for 90 blocks, enough to make a queen size quilt AND a lap size quilt! Whoa Nelly!!

Of course, I had to enhance my stash with some low volume prints, so I bought these beauties from Super-Buzzy! I found a link to Super Buzzy on another blog, and... Could. Not. Resist! The delivery was SUPER-FAST and I am so pleased with the fabrics. I had them mail to Ship Happens in Blaine, to save on delivery (mailing from the US to Canada is sooo expensive) and it was mailed the next day and these lovelies were in my hands within a few days! I highly recommend them! 
Happy quilting!

Friday, 12 July 2013

A Procrastinator's Guide to Cleaning Your Sewing Room

Step 1: Decide to clean up the sewing room.

Step 2: Ignore the stuff that has accumulated on the floor and all horizontal surfaces. Start by re-arranging the fabric in the cupboard.

Step 3: Pull out three shelves worth of fabric. Fondle, sort by colour, re-sort by theme, and sort again by possible next project.

Step 4: Put some of the fabric back in the cupboard in nice, neat piles. Discover remains of a partially used charm pack.

Step 5: Decide scraps are piling up and leftover charm pack would make good start to a cat bed for stuffing.

Step 6: Sew 20 charm squares together. After moving piles of fabric off ironing board, discover two more unopened charm packs from the same line.

Step 7: Cat bed. What cat bed? Stuff the rest of the fabric back into the cupboard.

 Step 8: Arrange rest of charms.

Step 9: Sew. Press.  Admire newly finished flimsy!

 Step 10: Decide to clean up the sewing room tomorrow!

 Happy sewing!


Thursday, 11 July 2013

A walk in the woods

I enjoyed a nice break from everyday routine with a short vacation to Shuswap Lake, BC. Such a beautiful piece of paradise!

Wild Chickory

View overlooking Shuswap Lake

Oxeye Daisies
Common Mullein
 I have no idea what this bush is called. The flowers are so delicate and pretty.
 Pine Trees
Wild Bergamot (smells lovely!)
 Love the colour of the purple berries!

So much colour inspiration!
Oh look! I have a project ready with the same colours!

Western Showy Aster
Woodpecker Activity 

And to finish off our walk, we found Wild Raspberries! Heaven!!

If you've never been to the Shuswap Lake area, you should consider it!

Friday, 5 July 2013

Work in Progress

I am making a quilt for a very special nephew, who stands almost 7 feet tall! I dug into my stash and pulled out a bundle of Hawaiian shirt print remnants I bought while on a vacation in 2005. I think each bundle cost about $3.50! And there are a lot more  pieces in each bundle than I realized.
The majority of the remnants measure approximately 5" x 6"-7". The perfect size to make a basket weave pattern. I auditioned a tan fabric (above), thinking of sand colour, then I tried the teal blue below. I liked the teal blue best!

I cut the Hawaiian fabric into 4-1/2" x 6-1/2" rectangles. The sashing pieces are cut 1-1/2" x 6-1/2".
Now, I don't know what I was thinking, or not thinking (maybe I was cutting too late in the evening!), because after sewing up a bunch of the blocks and ironing them, I realized they weren't square. I had cut my sashing pieces too narrow, and had to trim a 1/2" off the length of all 165 blocks! Ugghh!!

I am quilting in the ditch between the rows and I'll free-motion quilt the borders.
Happy quilting!

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

A Quilt for Natalie

In January, after a looong hiatus from quilting, I decided to dig into my fabric stash and start cutting into it to see if I could find some inspiration to get myself back into the quilting mood.
I bought this cute pastel bubble fabric, oh, I think back in 2004, while in Alberta at a quilt retreat. Knowing that I wanted to make a baby quilt for my two co-workers who recently had baby girls, I cut a whole pile of 2.5" squares, enough to make two 9-patch quilts with alternating plain blocks. 
I made one of the 9-patch quilts but unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture before giving it away. 
There was still fabric left over, so I cut it into 2" strips x WOF, not really sure what I would make with it, I just knew I didn't want to put it back in the cupboard.

The Missouri Star Quilt Company has lots of great tutorials on Youtube, and after seeing this tutorial for "Summer in the Park", I really wanted to try it! The tutorial uses a jelly roll (2 1/2" strips) to make the quilt, but there's no reason you can't make it using 2" strips, for a slightly smaller block.

For the backing, I used more stash fabric to piece the back, along with pieced remnants from the block strip sets. I'm really happy with it, as it makes it fun, and reversible. I can't wait to give this quilt to her!

I thought I'd try quilting it with large bubbles, but after practicing for a bit, I decided I was not ready to try it on a big quilt. My bubbles looked more like eggs, not exactly round!
Not exactly the best lighting for quilting! I use an Ott-Lite set up behind my machine to illuminate my sewing area. It works!

I machine quilted in the ditch around all of the diamonds and squares, which made a nice pattern on the back.

The binding is a pink gingham "Mini Mikes" by Michael Miller. Isn't the selvage cute?
Beautiful little Natalie was born in November, and she has been waiting patiently to receive her quilt. She'll have lots of time to grow into it. The blocks finish at 11.5" and the quilt measures 51" x 64" after washing.

 Happy quilting!