Friday, 5 February 2016

Welcome to Canada: A Finished Quilt

Check out the hashtag #quiltsforrefugees on Instagram and you will see the efforts of some local quilters who pooled their resources and had a sew in, as well as collecting quilts from around the Toronto area, to give to newcomers. With the Syrian refugee crisis looming in the media I wanted to do something to contribute and when @happysewlucky posted a call for quilts I got to work putting together something beautiful and scrappy.

Here is Welcome to Canada, a twin-sized quilt heading off to a new Canadian in the near future!
I've had this "design" in my head for ages now. I've often looked at my pile of scraps and wanted to make something just like this. #quiltsforrefugees made it a reality!

There are a lot of gems in there: Lotta Jansdotter, Honeymoon from C+S, Heather Bailey True Colours, Carolyn Friedlander Architextures, Alison Glass Bike Paths, Tim and Beck and on and on. I also used up some of my "not sure what I would ever do with these" scraps because it a scrappy quilt like this they look like they belong. This was especially true for the white-on-white scraps I had remaining from my Candy Cane quilt.

The backing is a Kona red, not sure which one, generously donated by quilty friend A. You can see the grid quilting I did in white Aurafil. Red and white- very Canadian, eh? (Plus you can really see how badly it needs a lint roller before I gift it-thanks, cats). My friend A also donated the batting, a twin-sized pack that was a really good quality.
 Berne, the woman who organized this drive, also printed Spoonflower labels for each quilt, and they're beautiful.

I was hoping for more snow in my picture but it is warm here today and all the snow from yesterday melted!

The binding is a very scrappy rainbow collection of leftover bindings from other quilts. It worked perfectly for this colourful quilt, and makes the back a bit more interesting because the binding pops against the red.

I feel good that I could take something I love to do and use it to help someone who is new to Canada adjust to their new home. I hope there is lots of snuggling underneath it, knowing they are welcome here!

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



Monday, 1 February 2016

#QuiltofBelonging

There is an amazing Canadian quilting project that truly captures the Canadian spirit called The Quilt of Belonging.

The project began with the idea of having a quilt block representing each culture or country that make up the Canadian mosaic, a project that ended up taking years, having 263 blocks and being 36 metres (120 feet) long and 10 metres high. The first row of the quilt is made up of blocks created by the First Nations, Inuit and Metis people of Canada, the country's first people. 

Here are some pictures of the stunning quilt:


I can't begin to express the detail in each individual block, made up of the most diverse materials. It is true "textile art." Here are a few favourite blocks:
Libya

The Central African Republic- made up of butterfly wings

Iran
Dakota (First Peoples of Canada)

There are so many, and they are attached using black fabric and then have this woven cord between each block with the colours slowly changing and interweaving as you go. The top of the quilt is a rainbow slowly melding into each colour, just as everyone becomes part of the Canadian fabric when they arrive. How cool is that??

Some local First Nations communities put together a kit for students about the Quilt of Belonging to spread the word that we all belong and we are all part of one big community, unique as individuals but beautiful together. I worked on this kit with an amazing Grade 2 teacher, her teaching assistant, and the First Nations Metis Inuit Resource Teacher for my school board.

The kids learning about diversity and belonging, touched sample blocks and taught others about their blocks and then got to make their own blocks, which I will now sew into a big #QuiltofBelonging which will go on display in the school's front lobby.

Here are the blocks that these little sewists constructed:

Aren't they AWESOME!?!? Some kids brought fabric or materials or beads from home. Others used what we donated. They each are currently 7.5" x 7.5"
This is one of my favourite blocks, meticulously traced, cut out and "sewn" on (note the black embroidery thread on the one side) to represent the khanda, a Sikh symbol of faith. He was SO proud!
So sweet!
There was lots of "quilt block surgery" that I had to do to get them even close to being able to add sashing, and I certainly didn't need another project right now, but I am so inspired by this project!

What do you think? Isn't this so super cool?

Friday, 29 January 2016

When Someone Says "I Quilt Too!"

I have been doing a project at work (I'm an Instructional Coach who supports teachers) that involves quilting. It is super awesome and I will do a big post on it but for now I want to address what happens when someone tells me she quilts too.

The teaching assistant(TA) in the class I'm working with eagerly told me that she, too, is a quilter. She is about 10 years old than I am (not surprising since I am always the youngest quilter) and she volunteered to bring in some fabrics to share for the project.

When the teacher was packing up the remaining fabric, she put all the fabrics together (the ones I brought and the ones the TA brought). I sorted the scraps when I got home and immediately discovered the error. Here are the bits that belong to this lovely woman:
Oh my. Do I see batiks? And muted, mottled fabrics in cream and pink and green?
I'm terrible, I know, to judge. I'm hoping she loves these fabrics and loves quilting. But they are DEFINITELY not my taste, nor what I would count as modern quilting. To be honest if THIS is what fabrics all looked like and were all I had available or saw on Instagram and on blogs I would not have started quilting. Period. 

Really what matters is that people buy and sew with what they love, and not feel drawn to any one designer or trend because it is big. Check out my latest addition, courtesy of my hubby:
Delicious, delicious Carkai.
A little different, no?

So, again, when someone tells me "I quilt too!" my first thought is a skeptical one- "But I bet you're not a modern quilter!"

How do you feel? Do you find yourself judging others' fabric tastes even when it is not fair? (And I know it is not). Do you ask more questions when someone tells you they are also a quilter?

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

WIP Wednesday: Jumping Between Projects But Not Starting New Ones

This Wednesday I can say that I am making progress on tackling my "must finish" quilts for January/February. I have been very, very tempted to start new projects, mostly I think because picking fabrics is probably my favourite parts of making a quilt.

My Welcome to Canada Quilt is just waiting for me to hand sew the binding down on the back, and for me to add the label sent by the organizer.

I also sewed one of two missing borders on my daughter's modern I-Spy quilt and prepped the other border but still have not sewn it on. I have the fabric for the backing but prepping backing is sort of boring sewing, you know what I mean?

I managed to sew together the quilt top for my husband's cousin's baby, due in late February. This baby gets a gender neutral quilt because mom and dad opted not to find out the sex. They are outdoors sort of people. I think I'm going to name it Canadian Wilderness.

You can see the backing peeking through- a mustard with trees, accented with a white with mustard trees. 
The whites in this baby quilt are very cream, and it is quite busy (which is why I added those delicious solid teal blocks) but I hope the parents like it. I need to get on this so I can mail it to Ottawa on time!

I also prepped a whole bunch of paper piecing templates for a quilt for my new nephew coming in March. It is going to be epic!

I am proud that I have not
a) bought any new fabric (not that I'm on a fast, per say, but more that I'm buying only things I truly LOVE)
b) started any new sewing projects.

Perhaps I can get these done in time!

Linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Backing Woes and Basting Foes

It is interesting how things happen sometimes.

Take for instance, my backing woes this week. My aunt, who is actually my mom's longtime best friend, makes quilts. When my older daughter was born she made her a quilt- entirely hand pieced- based on a pattern and fabrics I picked. It was (and is) gorgeous. But when my second daughter was born, I had been quilting for a couple of years so she assumed I didn't want her to make my little one a quilt. Wrong!

Of course I wanted both my girls to have a hand pieced quilt from their great aunt. She happily agreed, so I picked the fabric and pattern, and even prepped the fabric for her. Knowing she hates the binding step, I told her I would do the binding.

That is where the problem started. She assumed that I wanted the binding made out of the backing fabric and made all the binding. Then she didn't have enough backing fabric for her long arm quilter to quilt the quilt. Oh no! And when I told her I had the separate binding fabric it was too late!

So she came up with a solution. Take the backing fabric, seen here:
This is a Leah Day print that I LOVE. All the fabrics on the front are pulled from this gorgeous colour combo!
And get me, with my machine, to insert a big white plus sign into the fabric. The timelines were very tight because she is taking it to the long armer when she leaves for Florida in less than a week- and then she's gone for three months!

So I went along with the plan and now I think it was a happy accident because I really like the visual break that the white provides:
Nothing a little Kona White can't fix!
With that unexpected sewing in the middle, I also had to tackle my least favourite part of quilting: basting. Welcome to Canada has been sitting there, front and back pressed and prepped, batting at the ready (thanks to a generous donation from my friend A). Hubby was going out for the evening so I threw on some Netflix and tackled the least-fun task.
Some painter's tape and 505 Spray and you can't go wrong.
I got the quilt all basted and now it is ready for quilting. I think I'm going to stitch about 1/2" out from each seam to make a big grid. The backing is a solid red, also donated by A, which is not my favourite (the solid) because it shows all errors in quilting. But red is very Canadian and it is high quality fabric in a nice colour, so I couldn't not do it!
It is a twin-sized quilt that I hope will make one new Canadian feel welcomed.
I see much straight-line quilting in my future!

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

WIP Wednesday: Am I Sticking to It?

The year is underway and I have been sneaking in sanity sewing where I can. Some much needed time was given to me by my wonderful husband last weekend so I was able to get quite a lot accomplished from my 2016 list.

I worked steadily on my Welcome to Canada quilt. This is an action shot...it is twin sized now and the backing is even prepped. I want to try to get this one done fairly soon so I can donate it to a local project for new Syrian refugees to the Toronto area.
This really shows the colourful side of this quilt..I did several tone-on-tone whites and greys in the middle, then back to cascading colour. All will be revealed when it is done!
I pressed, chopped and did the lay out for my husband's cousin's quilt. I now have the rows sewn together, and now I have to sew those together to make the quilt top. It is a simple tumbler pattern using 5x5" squares which is a quick but visually appealing look.
I like the colours in this quilt. They haven't found out the sex of the baby, so I'm hoping this will work either way!
My daughter's birthday is today, and no, her I-Spy quilt is definitely not done. But all the sashing in the middle is done...just two sides to add and the quilt top will be finished. I have the fabric for the backing (from Heather Ross' Tiger Lily line) but it is not pieced yet. Progress is progress though!
The sashing is my second-least favourite part of quilting, but it is fun to see the quilt top coming together. The sashing also, unfortunately, reveals all my piecing and seam errors since they don't line up perfectly. I still love it and I don't think my toddler will notice!
Overall I think I am doing well sticking to my goals. I also haven't bought any fabric in 2016. I can't promise I'll be able to say THAT much longer. :)

Friday, 1 January 2016

Hello, 2016! Quilty Goals for the New Year!

I made a list in 2015 of all the quilts I wanted to get done. Honestly, I didn't do all that badly. The first 7 quilts on my list got finished. Then I had an "other quilts to make" list, of which I managed to make 0 out of 4. Ouch. This was followed by a WIP list, of which I completed 1/3. Oh dear. My record maybe isn't so great after all. Finally I had a last list of non-quilt items, of which I managed 1/5. 

Of course on top of all those goals I didn't meet I did manage to complete 18 quilts total. Not too shabby!

So here is the plan for 2016.

1. Complete a charity quilt, one for a Syrian refugee new to Toronto, as arranged by @happysewlucky from Instagram. Quilty friend A saw I was working on this and is donating batting and the backing to the cause. Hooray for quilty love!

TACKLE THOSE WIPs!
I am not one to have a lot of WIPs but this year it is out of control. I want to tackle them before I start new ones, but with babies on the way in March that is not likely.

So, I need to finish:
1. I-Spy Quilt

2. Sugar Block Club from 2013, I think it was?



3. My Aviatrix Medallion. The one I knew I would take a loooooong time to finish yet started anyone thanks to quilty friend peer pressure (looking at you, C).


QUILTS FOR BABIES
1. A quilt for my new nephew.
2. A quilt for my husband's cousin's baby.
3. A quilt for my friend's little boy.

OTHER QUILTS
1. A quilt for AB, one of two kids in a group of friends who don't have a quilt from me.

2. A quilt for AM, the last of the kids to get a quilt.

3. That darn orange and turquoise quilt I keep putting on the "to make" list.

4. Aunt Sheila's 65th Birthday quilt. I have the pull done and the pattern picked, now I have a year and a bit to get it done on time!

5. A quilt to honour my much-missed friend who died in March 2015. I've sewn so much for her- two baby quilts, two "big boy" quilts, plus trips fabric shopping with her for her home for new pillows and nursery fabrics- that my whole sewing room (and particularly my scraps) reminds me of her. So I gathered up fabrics that are connected to her and I want to make a wall hanging with the pieces. I know the pattern I want to use already.

I am going to stick with those goals. There are a lot of them already in this list and I doubt I will get to them all (just as I didn't achieve too many on the last list). My prediction? Aviatrix Medallion won't be done. Otherwise I think I have a decent shot!

What is your #1 quilty goal this year?