Thursday, November 27, 2014

Pretty pretty pillows

Can there be anything more lovely than quilted pillows? I made this pair for a dear friend's birthday, although I admit it will be tough to let them go. I love everything about them - the fabric (Arcadia by Sarah Watson), the patterns, the soft grey. Perfection, if I do say so myself!

And even the backs are pretty!

This was my first time adding binding to a quilted pillow and I really love the look. The binding really finishes the pillows nicely and the extra time is definitely worth it. Plus it saves you some brain strain making the pillows because you sew them together right-side out before adding the binding.

Now to prepare myself to give these away in a week. Luckily I have another one started for myself. Finally one I can keep!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Bon voyage

Yesterday I popped the mini quilt I made for an Instagram swap and a few extra goodies into the mail to start its long journey half way around the world. Now I'm really excited! I can't wait for my partner to get it! I hope she loves everything I made just for her after a close examination of her IG feed. I'm only going to show one of the extras because I don't want to spoil the surprise - not just for the mini quilt but also the mug rug that is so personalized the recipient likely would guess it's for her (although admittedly the chance she happens to check my blog is remote).

A lot of firsts went into this package - my first swap, my first hexies, my first open wide zippered pouch. I love this pouch and definitely recommend the tutorial. I had some trouble with tension on the canvas because of my diva of a sewing machine, but otherwise this pouch was a breeze.

I picked up the doggy canvas while in Barcelona in October, knowing it was perfect for my swap partner. I grabbed a vintage-looking floral from my stash for the inside, and stitched a hexie flower made with my favourite bunting fabric onto the front. I wish I put the flower up a bit higher, but it looks fine (and after the headache I had getting the tension right, I did not have the heart to try again after sewing the pouch together). Finally I dipped into my bead stash to make a zipper pull to finish off the pouch, which I stuffed with little goodies like chocolate, a pretty notepad and pencil. I definitely need to make some more of these, and already have some cute flannel in mind for little gifts for friends.

Now all there is to do is wait! I'm looking forward to seeing what my swap partner sends me, and super excited for my package to reach my partner's mailbox. Oh, I hope she loves everything as much as I enjoyed making it for her!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Back to reality

I recently returned home after a wonderful two-week vacation in Spain. We started in Barcelona, then took the train to Madrid for the second week. I couldn't suggest it more as a destination. The people were friendly and helpful, the food and coffee great and there were so many amazing things to see in the two cities. Like the Palau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona, roughly translated as music palace and rightly declared a UNESCO world heritage site. Can you imagine a more beautiful place? How could you even pay attention to the music with all this to admire? Just look at that stained glass ceiling, nicknamed the glow worm.

I used the vacation as a great time to finally jump into hexies. I fussycut a whole bunch of this great Japanese fabric I've had for quite some time. Hexies seemed like the perfect project for all its quirky little creatures. I stitched my first hexie while waiting in the airport, and then just kept basting until I got through the whole batch - a little over 100. It was the perfect craft while relaxing after a busy day of sightseeing.

The flights home made for a long day, but I wasn't too bothered because I started stitching my hexies together. The flight attendants and other travellers were quite intrigued by what I was doing, and a few even asked questions. I love when people are curious about handwork and genuinely admire what you're doing. To be honest, I wasn't quite sure what I was doing. I read several tutorials on how to baste hexies before the trip, but not so much how to put them together because I didn't think I'd get that far. But it all worked out just fine. You really need to figure out how best to do something for yourself, anyway.

When I finally got home, the top priority (after a good night's sleep) was picking up my sewing machine. Reunited at last! It languished way too long at the repair shop, but it's sewing like a dream again. First I got back to the mini for my swap. It got pieced and quilted and now I just need to handstitch the binding. I love how it turned out! But you'll have to wait to see a picture because I don't want to ruin the surprise. I also made a mug rug to go with it and I picked up the perfect canvas I still need to make into a zippered pouch, and I'll put all the little goodies in there. Also since then I've joined two more swaps - how exciting!

Next up, I got back to two minis from Canoe Ridge Creation's mini quilt club. I pieced the October mini I cut out before my trip, then quilted both. The bulk of the quilting was with grey thread, then I decided to add in a bit of bright green. I think it looks great, although it's a bit tough to see in the photos.

This one I did simple straight lines with some wider spacing in parts.

The other is very densely quilted. I started by creating an X through the middle and then just had fun and kept switching what I was doing when I got a new idea. I really like how it turned out.

Here's just a close-up of the mini to show some of the quilting. You really need to have a good look at the whole surface to see all the interesting patterns that emerge from the intersecting lines.

So I'm back to reality, but thankfully that includes sewing!