Wednesday, 7 October 2015

A One Week #OneHourBasket

There is a pattern that is floating around for a One Hour Basket. It is free to download on Craftsy and it pops up in all my social media feeds (particularly Instagram). I knew I would make one some day, and when I needed to think of a simple gift I could make for a co-worker's birthday, this pattern came to mind.

My co-worker is new to my team and I don't know her all that well. She identified that she likes orange and being playful, and my fabric selections definitely meet that description!

The basket ended up taking a week from when I pulled the fabric to when I finished it, though in reality I was much closer to the 45 or 50 minute mark of actual work. You know, life.
Using Wonderclips to hold the handles and to line up the seams of the lining and the exterior was very helpful.
I wanted to share something that I do when I'm constructing something that requires me to leave an opening. This pattern calls for not sewing a 3" section when attaching the lining to the exterior. When I pin around the bag, I mark the spot I'm not going to sew with double pins. That way, when I make my way around the basket and I get to double pins again I know when to stop.
Double pins are my way of marking stopping and starting points.
And here is the finished product! The handles in this picture look like they're different sizes but they are not. The overall result is super cute, for sure. And I instantly wanted to make another one.
Ann Kelle Robots and Kona Flame. Playful and orange it is!
My next One Hour Basket will for sure involve a pieced exterior with some quilting, and I would add more fusible batting for a stiffer overall basket.

This one is a winner for sure!

Monday, 28 September 2015

Odd Shaped Blocks in Blocks "Tutorial"

When I set about creating a modern I-Spy quilt for my youngest daughter, inspired by (okay, totally ripping off) this beautiful quilt by From the Blue Chair, I didn't much think about the construction. Then I tried to make the first block using a log cabin sort of approach and I had lots of waste. I cut a piece a bit bigger than the finished block size I wanted, cut two pieces for around the center block and...ack, now the other sides were too small.

When I googled how to do this I found some tutorials for inserting centers of the same size and in the same location but that is not what I wanted. I had fussy cut with abandon, and each of my centers was a totally different size AND I wanted them to be randomly placed within the larger block. After some more experimentation I came up with my solution, and while this may be obvious to everyone but me, I thought maybe you'd like to see how I did it.

To begin, I fussy cut all my centers, in all different sizes. I just wanted to capture the best image. Then I used 1" strips of varying colours (with some Kona White for a restful look and, again, because I was copying From the Blue Chair's quilt) to surround each fussy cut center.

Then I cut a 12"x12" block from the solid colour I wanted.
That is a 12x12" block of Celestial with a little fussy cut sloth from C+S beside it, wrapped in a 1" border of Pomegranate.
I measured the sloth,(he was 6 3/4") then placed the center approximately where I wanted it.
Approximate placement.
Then I cut the width of the sloth, 6 3/4" (with the borders) from the square, as show below. That center strip is the same width as the sloth.
The strips on either sides will become the vertical strips on my block.
Then I used my ruler and cut the center strip approximately where I wanted the sloth to be in this square.
3" up I cut the center strip. This two pieces will become my horizontal strips in my block.
Then a cat helps by inspecting the whole thing, sitting right in the middle of the block you are making and trying to photograph.
Is it acceptable?
I then sewed the top and bottom horizontal pieces to the sloth, as shown below.
Doesn't he look lovely?
And then I sewed the two vertical pieces on, being sure to line up the bottom edge of the vertical pieces with the bottom of my center strip.
Now it looks something like this.
A little trimming gets it to the size I actually want (I decided on 10 1/2") and places the sloth exactly where I want. Starting with a 12" square let me play with where exactly I wanted the sloth (or any center) to actually be on the final block,
Ta da! Sloth is ready to go!
I used washi tape or painter's tape to tape up all my blocks since I still don't have a design wall in my sewing room.
The sloth is ready to go.
And I kept the momentum going making more and more blocks. Note that the center appears in a different part of the block for each one.
It begins...
This is the current count. I have 25 blocks done and now I need to decide if I'm done and can start sashing (in Kona White) or if I want to make 5 more.
I hope this "tutorial" (I'm using the term loosely) was somewhat helpful. If nothing else it will help me remember the process I went through to get this result. In addition, I really need to edit the photos before I upload them so you don't have to see my legs. :)

Friday, 11 September 2015

Twilight and Dawn: Two Finished Quilts

A co-worker is expecting twin girls in early October and I knew just the fabric to pull from my stash- Wee Wander by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller. I scooped up a fat eighth bundle of this precious line when it came out and had it shipped (free!) to an American address where my aunt was staying. It meant a long wait for it to come and then I didn't use for a while...until now.

I wanted the quilts to be an obvious pair but not match. I decided to supplement my Wee Wander with some other prints (some Pearl Bracelets, some Cotton + Steel basics and some other Lizzy House prints that seemed just right) to make a Wonky Star quilt using the free tutorial from Owen's Olivia. The mom said the nursery is mostly white with "pops of colour" so I knew this would work well.

The quilts are named Twilight (for the blue, cool-coloured one) and Dawn (for the pinkish, warm-coloured one). Here they are:

Thank goodness my husband's best friend was staying for the weekend. Nothing says "boys weekend" like being forced to hold up quilts. :)

Twilight is, I think, my favourite of the two. The turquoise, teal, mint green and blue is totally my jam. The supplementary fabrics in the one are a Cotton+Steel with a gold plus in it, an Art Gallery Squared Elements print and a Pearl Bracelets. I think it looks cohesive yet playful.

I tried whenever it made sense to fussy cut the centres. Like this sweet horse, or those children playing in the bottom left of this picture.

Dawn is also bright and playful. Here I added some Lizzy House Jewels I've had forever, as well as a Lizzy House Constellations in Peach from her latest Natural History Line, plus one star from Heather Bailey's True Colours line.

You can see more fussy cutting evident here. Also, this shows the quilting I did. I used straight-line quilting on either side of each seam. Then I quilted an echo pattern around the inside of each star.

The backs are pretty wild. I basically emptied my scraps and stash to find bits to make this wild pieced backing for each one. They are very bright and busy and I have to say I sort of love them! It also allowed me to include the fat eighth of the large border print (in approximately the centre of each back) that wouldn't have worked chopped up into a wonky star.
From the back you can see the outline quilting on the inside border of each star. That took awhile but I like the effect very much.
I ended up binding each quilt in a Kona solid from my stash (Twilight with Pool and Dawn with Bright Pink). I like the calmer binding since the quilts themselves (especially from the back!) are quite visually busy.

I hope the mom loves them. Actually, I hope she cries. :)

And though I thought these were the last baby quilts in my future, I just found out that my husband's sister is expecting in March and (unlike with their first) they are going to find out the baby's sex so I have at least one more baby quilt in my future!

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Stars in My Eyes

Stars, stars and more stars. Using the Wonky Star tutorial from Owen's Olivia and a stack of Wee Wander from my stash, I've been plugging away at the baby quilts for twin girls due in the early fall to a co-worker.
I would lay out a star (having pre-made all the points) and then square by square sew them together. 
I totally love the result of the stars and the white background but it wasn't wide enough for my liking so I've since added (white) borders.
Fussy cutting some of the centres of the stars was so worth it.
When I got to work figuring out the layout of the warm version of the quilt I realized that somewhere my math had failed me (again!) and I was a block short.
Oops! How did that happen?

My youngest daughter was "helping." She thinks that blocks or fabric on the floor means she should lie down on it. Adorable? Yes. Helpful? Not so much.

I now have the borders on and I've moved on to piecing the back. I want to do it all from stash and ideally with lots of scraps. I liked the way it looked on Jungle Flame, so I'm going for it. This also allows me to use the tiny fat eighth of the panel for Wee Wander on each quilt.

This is the chaos on my quilting room floor:

All these bits to piece together to make the quilt top. Wild and crazy and I love it!

And can I pause to share this new favourite addition to my quilting room? A gigantic glass jar that now holds all my selvedges!
Happy to look at!
Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Monday, 17 August 2015

Hera Marker Love

I am in a definite rut with my quilting. As in, the actual quilt-the-top-and-bottom-together step. My skills set is pretty limited. I have an Angela Walters Craftsy class that I'm dying to finish and I think as soon as I get the next two baby quilts off my list I'm jumping in.

I think one of the hurdles to me building my skills (other than never seeing practice as a priority- I have quilts to finish!) is that I hate marking on quilts. I prefer not to wash quilts before giving them to their new owners (I know how controversial that is in the quilting world) and so I hate using markers or quilting pens that need to be washed out.

I decided to give a hera marker a whirl. If you don't know what that is, it is a small tool that creases the fabric without using any ink. Just pressure. I tried it for the first time on Eclectic Ark and I had this thought: WHERE HAS THIS BEEN MY WHOLE QUILTING LIFE?

You can see here how I marked nice, straight lines with a ruler and my hera marker so I could then straight-line quilt it. And have the lines actually legitimately be straight!!
It is soooo easy to use, makes a great crease and can seriously up my quilting game. The only downside so far is that sometimes in less-than-ideal light (ie: my sewing room at 10 p.m.) the line isn't super easy to see. You have to really pay attention for the crease.

I can promise you, this hera marker will be getting a lot more use in the future!

Friday, 14 August 2015

Eclectic Ark: A Finished Quilt

When our (now former) neighbours told us they were expecting their fifth son I immediately did a fabric pull and was thrilled with it. I couldn't wait to get started!

Then mom dropped on me that the baby's name was going to be Noah, and that his nursery was green and blue and animal themed. I was torn. Stick with what I had picked or go with her colours and theme?

Ultimately I decided to put her wishes first and made this quilt, Eclectic Ark. The animals are for Noah's ark, of course. But there is a strange mix of creatures in there! I ended up using a precious Laurie Wisbrun print with lions, an Ed Emberly sheep print, and some Ann Keele turtles and owls. The backing is flannel and covered in giraffes. 
The blues and greens do go well with Noah's nursery. 
 I opted to use several Kona solids. I wanted to highlight the animal fabrics by leaving them big, and then I framed out each one with a different colour. For those who want to know (ahem, Jenn), I used: Stratosphere, Nautical, Spring, Leprechaun, Forest, Kiwi, Lake and Water. 

Well, giraffes were on the ark, weren't they?
 I did straight line quilting, adding an "X" on the corners of all the solids. It took a long time because of all buried threads but I liked how it looked overall. This is a quilt that probably could have used an all-over long arming treatment but I don't have the money for that. I'm still counting on quilty friend C getting herself a long arm and teaching me how to use it!
Xs all over the Aurafil White.

I used a yellowy-greeny Art Gallery Squared Elements print for the binding which I think tied in well with some of the accent colours in the prints. I was very pleased with this choice.
I got to snuggle three-day-old Noah when I gifted the quilt and mom was super happy with the gift. She immediately took me to show me how perfectly it goes with the sweet baby nursery she had decorated. I told her I hope he uses the quilt and wears in right out, and that I promise I'll make him a new one if he does wear it out!!

I still don't think I love this one as much as I would have my earlier pull, but I'm happy that Noah has a quilt made with love and that I put mom's wishes over my own taste/inspiration. I also used only fabrics from my stash which felt great!

Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts and her Finish It Up Friday!

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Happy Birthday to Me

My birthday combined with a little shop hop with my quilty friend A resulted in me buying just a week bit of fabric. You'll see. In my defense, it was my birthday.

We first went to Sew Sisters, a go-to for solids that is not too bad a drive (about 45 minutes depending on traffic). They have a$7.99/metre room in the store that I like checking for backing fabrics. I didn't fall in love with too much but did find a great backing for a little boy's quilt I'm making sometime in the next year and about a yard of a print I liked that was on super clearance for $4.99. 

Then we tried a store I had never been to before called EweKnit which I never would have thought to visit because I assumed it was all wool. A promised me that there was a bit of modern fabric too, and we were both surprised to see that since she had last visited the fabric collection had exploded!
The entire back half of the store was wool but the front half was fabric!

This is just one little bit of the fabric offered. I liked the choices immediately.
I was able to restrain myself, buying just three pretty fat quarters. And then we went to another store that I follow on Instagram but have never visited- The Workroom. That is when things went downhill for my wallet.
A bit of a pain in terms of parking but fortunately A was kind enough to drive (which I hate doing in downtown Toronto).

The fabrics were DROOL WORTHY. The style of the store was so my vibe. I wanted to buy approximately 80% of the store.

And they have a shop dog. A SHOP DOG! This pup is super calm and sweet (and sporting hand sewn clothing, of course)
My haul was significant. This was the take from all three stores:
There is a LOT of Sarah Watt's Honeymoon line from Cotton+Steel in there. One friend bought me some and then I added the other prints that I was loving.

Okay, so I went overboard. Plus I got a squishy mail package the next day with more fabric. I'll post about that another time.

A and I had so much fun, including a nice lunch, and so I will forgive myself for the purchases (because I LOVE them) and just be happy that I don't shop hop more often. My bank account is happy about that. :)