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 quilt...in 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. :)

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

WIP Wednesday: Wee Wander

Having my own sewing room has been absolutely divine. I have been sewing every single day, even for 10 minutes here and there because I never need to put anything away so it is always ready to go! Despite the sewing time, blogging time has been trumped by unpacking and general summer busy fun.

Here is what I have been working on. A co-worker is expecting twin girls in early October/late September. Her nursery is white with little pops of colour. I have been dying to try Owen's Olivia's tutorial for a wonky star and this seemed like the perfect project!

I then went through my stash and found my Wee Wander fat eighths and felt inspired. One girl twin will get a cool colourway and the other will get a warm colourway. I'm seriously crushing on the fabric.
Wee Wander fat eighths. I also had to add in some C+S from my stash and some Lizzy House diamonds because some of the prints are too "white" to work against Kona White backgrounds (not enough contrast).
I tested a block from the tutorial and was not happy about the amount of waste. I mentioned this on Instagram and Owen's Olivia responded immediately and changed her tutorial to allow for less waste. Amazing!
Right? This block? SO CUTE! (It is 12" square).
The trimmings have been soooooo cute. I needed to take a picture so I could say goodbye and feel less wistful. I know that's sad. I'm okay with it. :)
Cool trimmings all together. 
I then jumped into warm (pink, orange, coral and fuschia) and spent a few more hours making all the star points for this quilt.
There are some bold colours but overall it will be a soft look, I think.
I was fortunate that in the most recent move I was able to find and consolidate all my rulers, including this 4.5" square ruler that was the perfect size for trimming all these blocks down!
I love when things work out.
It took awhile to trim them all. There are four to trim for each block and there are 12 blocks in each quilt. Eeeek.

Aren't these prints enchanting?
I got all the points done for the cool quilt and just finished the warm points. Now this quilt gets put on pause while I quilt a baby quilt (that is quite large) to make sure it is done in time for the baby's arrival in August!
Won't this be a lovely palette for one of the girls?
And now back to the tedious quilting I decided on for the blue/green animal baby quilt. I need a fan in my sewing room because this quilt is quite heavy and hot and I'm roasting even with the air conditioning on while I'm quilting!

Linking up with Work in Progress Wednesdays by Freshly Pieced.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Possibilities


I am in my new house and boy, moving is much more difficult when you have two little "helpers." Not much progress has been made in the sewing room but oh, the possibilities! To go from sewing primarily in my dining room which was the first room you saw when you entered my house, and which needed to be disassembled for every family meal/event, to having my own sewing room? I'm in heaven already!

The baby was in a mood the other day and so during her nap I unpacked some of my fabric onto my shelves, as you can see in the corner. That was my "if I can play with fabric I can destress from a fussy baby" fix. Only about 1/3 of the sewing stuff is actually in the sewing room right now (the rest is in bins and boxes in either the garage or the basement) but most of my fabric is in this pretty new home (though not in this picture. I assure you, the stash is much larger and more ridiculous than those pretty, neat shelves).
My machine is not even in this shot because I took the move as a good chance to take it in to be cleaned.
The room is painted a really light, neutral grey (Balboa Mist by Benjamin Moore if you want to know) because I figure that the room will be full of colour from my quilts. But the closet I decided to have fun with and painted it (well, had the painters paint it) Florida Keys Blue which is this fun teal colour that makes the inside of the closet so much more interesting.
And the closet is pretty empty right now. I am positive that will change!
While sorting through and unpacking fabrics, I found a few bundles I had curated for future projects that I felt needed to be added back into general circulation. One example is this Lizzy House Pearl Bracelet combo. For some reason this colour combination was just calling my name but it has been awhile and it doesn't sing to me like it used to. I would rather use these Pearl Bracelets in other quilts so they got added back into the main stash. I figured snapping a picture would preserve the vision, if I ever desperately wanted to recreate it!
Oh, how I love Pearl Bracelets.
Priority #1 is a baby quilt for our (now no longer) neighbours expecting their fifth boy in August. I've waffled on this a zillion times. Here is where it is going. Who knows what it will be like by the end!
I decided to do a rectangular thing (right hand page) and I need to throw in more solids for it to work. 
I hope the other boxes floating around my house can just unpack themselves because I am itching to sew! I think it will take the general chaos that I hate about moving and give me a zen activity to get into a better mindset. Here's hoping for a few minutes of sewing time!


Friday, 3 July 2015

Meow Mix: A Finished Quilt

A lovely friend and co-worker and her husband, whom I've also worked with, are expecting their first child this summer. They both wanted to find out the sex of the baby but two ultrasounds later and baby was not revealing anything. Because she's had a healthy pregnancy (knock wood) there are no more ultrasounds which means baby will be a surprise!

So when I came up with a quilt colour scheme and theme I had to go gender netural. I also know they are both crazy about cats (particularly their sweet, on-eyed rescue cat) so I thought that they would like a cat scheme. I pulled a Lizzy House print to kick off the colour scheme and then this wonderful turquoise, teal and white creation came to be. I'm totally in love with the colours and kind of want one for myself.

The pattern was inspired by this free quilt pattern on Pinterest that I found. I wanted to break up the busy patterns so I had some Kona White for some of the boxes which I think really helps visually. It wasn't quite big enough done to the pattern so I added a border.

All of this fabric came from my stash (Hooray!) including all the bits in the pieced backing.

These colours are so awesome.

This block has the Lizzy House Cat nap print that kicked off the whole colour scheme.

A few more cats. Because why not?

Teal Quatrefoil and Tula Pink? Yummy.

The larger pieces leftover from piecing the front make up the right side and then three strips of leftover yardage from my stash in various turquoise/aquas.

I quilted on either side of each joining seam plus down the middle, then one through each block in each direction, horizontal and vertical. It has just enough quilting to have a nice drape for a baby quilt.

I hope she loves this gift for baby!