Saturday, 28 March 2015

Ella Blue: A Finished Quilt

I have been very quiet on my blog. Part of it was the business of work and life. Then a tragedy struck a close friend of mine and I have been navigating through my grief. I will blog about it briefly in another post, but for now I wanted to share this finished quilt, Ella Blue.

This is not a baby quilt. It was never my intention to make a huge quilt amongst all the other quilts on my list, but when I heard about a co-worker's 11-year-old daughter, Ella, being stricken with cancer and fighting for her life, I couldn't stop thinking about it. So I dropped everything and made a quilt for this brave little girl, using blue as the main colour because that is Ella's absolute favourite colour.

I used Jeni Baker's Giant Star tutorial not realizing just how giant it was going to be. My 6'1" husband is holding this quilt over his head and it is almost touching the ground.
 The star itself is made of Elizabeth Olwen's Wildwood line for Cloud 9, a line I have been drawn to and finally purchased while on a recent shop hop. I find it sweet and feminine without being too "little girl." The background is Kona Lake .
I did a free motion meander all over the quilt in a light blue Aurafil. Honestly, I had a need for speed and knew I could fly through the quilting. It was a BEAST, though, and so my meandering is not as smooth as I would have liked.

For the backing I used a blue flannelette that I had in my stash. The blue worked well with the front and I had lots of it, and again, since speed was of utmost importance, I pre-shrunk it and went for it.

The binding is a scrappy mix but mostly Alison Glass in this gorgeous blue.
 I also made my first ever quilt label. I used this special ink and some tiny stampers and some more Kona Lake, pressed over. I didn't really want to hand sew it so I machine sewed it but I really need a better way. The quilt is bunched up here so it looks wavy but it is actually pretty straight. This is definitely something I need to practice.
"Made for Ella. Because she is strong."
The quilt will be delivered, along with other gifts, to the mother at Sick Kids hospital in Toronto. It is one of the best children's hospitals in the world and though Ella has a long fight ahead of her I feel like there is every reason for optimism. I hope she loves it, or that it at least can provide some comfort to a family member who is sleeping by her side in the hospital.


Sunday, 1 March 2015

Don't Take Someone on a Diet to a Buffet

I have been working really hard to do all my quilting from my stash. I felt like the excess was unhealthy and I felt rewarded every time I finished a quilt without having to have purchased a thing.

Then on Friday I pre-ordered a fat quarter bundle of Tiger Lily by Heather Ross because this line is so gorgeous and just to my taste (I was not so thrilled with all that strawberry and frog stuff from her last line). Somehow that broke the gates because when I went on a shop hop with my friend A this weekend I showed progressively less restraint as we went from store to store.

We started at a new shop, the Village Square Quilt Shop, which is about 20 minutes away from my house.
The store was actually a bit hard to find but in a very charming location.

The inside was quite small but charming and the prints were not to my taste much at all (I would classify them as more traditional fabrics) but they were all carefully chosen, well-organized and nice to look at it.

The Miss Kate caught my eye but I showed restraint. I like it but don't love it.

I like this Math print (by Sweetwater I think?) except that brown is just so yuck. So I didn't get any.

The store actually doesn't carry Kona on the bolt (can you IMAGINE?) but this beautiful pre-packaged bundle set my heart fluttering.

I liked these pillows that were on display, and there was a free pattern attached!
I bought some Aurafil from here- something actually on my shopping list- because it was a great price ($10.50 a spool!). Then we headed into Hamilton which was about another 25 minutes away. We decided to visit Needlework Hamilton because I had never been there and A had not seen it since they remodeled earlier this year.
It is located in this really hipster, charming neighbourhood.

The store is small but so gorgeous! The newly exposed brick wall is stunning, the space is open and beautiful...I could stay here and work for sure!

Check out this Cotton+Steel dress on display! Love!

And I loved this modern Flying Geese quilt.

This pattern spoke to me right away. It is Amy Butler and I knew my friend C would be proud. I was on a real emerald kick on this day- I was drawn to all the emerald I saw.
This store is a careful curation of modern fabrics, arranged by colour instead of designer or manufacturer. It was not really A's style but it was so definitely mine. I wanted to BUY ALL THE THINGS. I saw so many prints I wanted. Could I have a 1/2 meter of everything you own please?
One wall of quilting fabric.

The other wall of quilting fabric.
I bought two fat quarters and two 1/2 meters of fabric here and thought I was being very restrained. Then A and I went to have lunch at the most awesome tiny restaurant called The Burnt Tongue where they have this tiny menu of soups that changes daily. We both had sweet potato and bacon soup and it was DELICIOUS. I also had a grilled cheese and A had fries. The restaurant was busy and cold but it was worth it for the great food!

Then we wandered next door to check out this yarn studio, handknit. (A knits but I don't).
It was beautiful and we made sure to pet all the wool (turns out I have expensive Baby Alpaca and Cashmere taste. Who knew?)
And we couldn't head back to the car without going into this cool little paper store.
Again, so awesome. Very hipster and cool. I could have bought lots of things but held back.

We made one more stop before heading to the car at The Mulberry Cafe which was again so cool and young. A wanted a peppermint tea and we liked the vibe of this place.
We then headed to Greenwood Quiltery, a go-to standard for both of us because A wanted to find some greys and yellows for her sister's wedding quilt and we hadn't found all that much that would work at the other stores.

I headed to my favourite spot, the remnant wall, and checked out the options. I did find a remnant of light grey Pearl Bracelets that worked perfectly for the quilt A is making but I didn't find anything for myself here.
I love the deals you can find on this rainbow wall!

This display of Kona solids had me thinking about the colourful I-Spy quilt I wanted to make my youngest daughter this year.
I lost my mind at Greenwood and bought SO MUCH FABRIC (keep going to see my end haul). I couldn't stop scooping up fabric. It was like I had lost my mind, and the  more I looked the more I picked up. It started with finding Violet Craft Waterfront Park fat quarters in the $2 bin. Um, score! And then apparently I needed to buy everything my heart desired. Sigh. Bad for the bank account.

When we finished at Greenwood (fortunately A found all the grey and yellow she needed) we went to Len's Mill because I had never been and because A wanted some old lady lavender backing for a wall hanging.

I didn't know what to expect.

A described it as a Bi-Way with lots of fabric. It was pretty disorganized, huge and with lots of crap. Her description was perfect.

They had some horrendous fabric. This gem was in the 50% off pile. WHY IS THIS A FABRIC??

Incredibly disorganized but rows and rows and rows of fabric. I think he buys fabrics that are two or three (or more!) out of season, and doesn't differentiated between quality. It was loosely organized by manufacturer and theme, but it was overwhelming how much crap fabric was there.

But we came across this bin of laminated cotton- Amy Butler, Kaffe Fassett and Tula Pink! $10 a meter!

I thought this Robert Kaufman zombie print would appeal to my hubby. I showed him the picture afterwards and he agreed it was awesome.

They have tons of licensed prints. I know where I will get superhero fabric from now on!
And then, amongst all the garbage and ugly (with the occasional designer print that was nice, like some Parson Grey) I found a jackpot! Lizzy House Peeps- pretty much every print from that line! This line is from 2009, so old, and impossible pretty much to find online. I wanted to buy two yards from every bolt. I'm not kidding. But I had just bought soooooooooo much at Greenwood so I narrowed it down to three prints. I'm telling you, though, I might have to head back. Also, if I ever come across Lizzy House Outfoxed in the wild like this I may buy the whole bolt. I so wish I had bought tons of that when it was out.
Isn't it pretty? I posted this picture on Instagram and Lizzy House herself commented. It is very strange to see all this old line in such a complete form on a shelf!

The neighbour hood was sketchy. This was on the wall on the side of the building. It is a drug tag. Need to buy any magic mushrooms?

These were the three I settled on. That middle one I think for sure is going to go in the I-Spy quilt I want to make.

This was the result of my binging at Greenwood (all the stuff in the first two rows) and the stuff from Needlework Hamilton on the far right.

I picked up one yard of this Olaf print from Len's Mill to make my elder daughter a pillowcase. She was thrilled.
And here is the result. What was I thinking? What happened to shopping my stash, which I have been enjoying? I love these prints and I'm so glad I have them but I certainly didn't need them. Ah, well, I'll chalk it up to a little splurge and go back to trying to shop my stash...which is a little bit bigger now. :)
Yummy fabric stack.
And so you can see why I titled my blog today Don't Take Someone on a Diet to a Buffet. :)


Friday, 27 February 2015

Rocky Field: A Finished Quilt

To keep up my recent trend of baby quilt after baby quilt, today's Friday finish is a sweet little green and grey baby quilt made for a co-worker expecting her first child, a little boy, this March. I used a pattern from Quilty to make this sweet little quilt, the same pattern I used for Hoot earlier this year. It looks quite different with this colour scheme, a very subdued palette for a new baby boy. These are the colours of the nursery.

Here is Rocky Field, named for the stone greys and the grassy and mossy greens:

It is a relatively small quilt which is perfect when you're churning out a lot of baby quilts like I have been! Notice the Denyse Schmidt, the Quatrefoil, the Cotton+Steel? Also there is an Alison Glass print in there and some olive dots that I picked up ages ago and can't remember what line or company made it.

All of the fabrics came from my stash which is helping me keep on track to use my fabric instead of buying more.

I used a totally delightful Tim and Beck print on the back from their Bungle Jungle line. It is a bit unexpected as the front has all these non-traditional "kid" prints and then the back is bright and fun!

Because I was working from my stash I didn't have enough of the one print so I pieced a strip of Kona Artichoke along the top. I like the blocked effect.

I used straight-line quilting with white Aurafil and my walking foot. I quilted lines horizontally through each section and then a few vertical lines through the sashing only.
I can't wait to gift this to the expectant mom!
I'm quite sure the mom will love it and I'm so pleased to have made something lovely for her. She is a wonderful, kind woman and I know she will be a great mom. 

Linking up to Finish it Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts

Friday, 20 February 2015

Kona Love for the Win!

Jenn at A Quarter Inch from the Edge and I both love Kona and both complain about bundles that others put together so we decided to challenge you to curate your own Kona bundle of four (or more) colours using a photograph as inspiration.

The entries were fantastic and I was inspired by many of the bundles. Jenn selected one winner to receive a prize and I did too! The True Random Number Generator chose two, which turned out to be Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl. I think I was drawn to her cactus colour palette the most, but all of her combos were fabulous!

This delicious bundle will be heading her way:
These are from my own precious Kona stash. From the top down, Kona Steel, Melon, Stratosphere, Pacific and Ocean.

I have been getting a little bit of sewing done, but not as much as I'd like. After all, I've had many Friday finishes up until this week! I have been working on an HST quilt for a friend expecting a little girl in March. The cutting, pressing and trimming is a bit tedious so I'm not loving this step.

I did, however, have a burst of inspiration (and it helped break up the tedium of all those HSTs) when a woman at work who is expecting a baby in April was talking to me about how after two ultrasounds the technician could not identify the sex of the baby. We had a good laugh, but then I was thinking in my head about what I would do for a gender neutral quilt. I think a rainbow patchwork suits any occasion!
The vast majority of these were already cut into 5" squares because as I cut for other quilts I will often cut some charm squares at the same time. I didn't have enough of the black and white, the yellow or the orange and red so I dove into my scrap boxes for all of these. The only actual stash (rather than scrap) fabric I needed to cut was one of the black and white ones. 
Going through your stash and scrap bins to create a rainbow sure reveals what your favourites are! I have a zillion blues and turquoises and almost no yellows or reds. 

I found this so fun to pull together and I look forward to putting it all together...once I finish the last two March baby quilts I have to get done! (I sure hope those babies don't arrive early!)


Saturday, 14 February 2015

Do you LOVE Kona?

After complaining about the Kona solids bundles that Jenn at A Quarter Inch from the Edge and I were receiving, we decided to challenge you to curate your own Kona solids bundle to share in our love of solids.

Be sure to head over TODAY to A Quarter Inch from the Edge to join the linkup and put in your bundle. You can use a photograph for inspiration and pull from your stash. You can use another fabric and pull out solids to match them, as I've done here:
I used Rashida Coleman-Hale's Washi print and paired it with (left to right): Kona Turquoise, Kona Bright Pink, Kona Mango and Kona Daffodil.

Here I used this gorgeous Cotton+Steel print, Persistance Prevails by Sarah Watts from her August collection, to pull the following solids from left to right: Kona Glacier, Kona Seafoam, Kona Coral, Kona Sunflower and Kona Nautical.

Or you can use Play Crafts' Palette Builder and make lovely little images like this:

Though to warn you, that software is very addictive.

Make sure you enter by next Thursday so you can be eligible for a prize from either Jenn or from me. 

Show us your Kona love on this cold, snowy Valentine's Day. (We are expecting a low of -24 degrees Celsius here today where I live in Ontario, and near Halifax, Nova Scotia where Jenn lives they are expecting a low of -12 degrees Celsius. Brrrrrr.) Head on over to A Quarter Inch from the Edge and post your bundle!


Friday, 13 February 2015

Sunset in the Woods: A Finished Quilt

One of my many baby quilts is finished. This was made for a lovely friend who welcomed her second daughter earlier than expected. As a result I got to deliver the quilt to the wee babe when I met her for the first time at three weeks old. She is precious and beautiful and this quilt suits her perfectly.

I decided to use some of my Brambleberry Ridge fabric, a line which I totally love and have been sort of hoarding. I knew this was the right project for it, but it was still hard to say goodbye to some of those prints!

My favourite part is all the gold that is throughout the various fabrics. 

Here is Sunset in the Woods:

The pattern is simple and highlights the beautiful Violet Craft fabric. I altered the pattern a bit by adding the white border to make it a better size for baby.

This was my favourite print and the one I'll miss the most. As you can see, I straight-line quilted through all the blocks diagonally (right to left) and did less dense quilting diagonally (left to right) to catch every block at least once.

See here with some snow, I used Chocolate Pearl Bracelets on the back. The mom LOVED the backing.

I pieced the back(with no attention to matching it up) to make the most out of the fabric I had.

I used the coral/pink fabric that I've had in my stash for four years with no plan for it. I think it worked perfectly for the binding!
The mom totally loved the quilt (so did her husband and her mom) and I was so thrilled to get to cuddle with the tiny baby girl whom this quilt was made for!

By the way, have you been thinking about your entry to the Curate Your Own Bundle contest, hosted as a linkup over at A Quarter Inch from the Edge? Find an inspiration photograph and then either using software or your stash, curate a bundle of Konas to match! There are two giveaways, one from me and one from Jenn, so get your entry in there!

If you don't have a huge Kona stash this software is addictive so try one of these instead. Here is one that Never Just Jennifer made:

Make sure you link up to A Quarter Inch from the Edge TOMORROW, Valentine's Day, and show your Kona love!

Linking up to Finish It Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.