Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Ahead of schedule

It's tough to believe, but now I've got three swap mini tops made more than a month before the shipping date! But I'm not gonna get too cocky because more than likely I will be in a mad panic to get the binding stitched down in time. I'm gonna assume my partners won't see my blog since they don't know I'm making for them, but to be safe I'll keep the details to a minimum for now.

The first is for my Anna Maria Horner swap. I picked all fabrics from my partner's two favourite collections, which was actually quite helpful to narrow down my choices since I have a surprisingly hefty AMH stash.

This one is for my Cotton + Steel swap. And holy moses do I love it! It's a mini version of the fabulous Rebel Quilt by a Toronto designer. Read more about her cool design process here.

Most versions are in solids, so this is pretty wild and crazy in comparison. But I think it looks wonderful in all its craziness. This swap partner didn't pick any favourite C+S fabrics, just saying she likes blue and green, so that helped hone the fabric selection as well. Also good because I have a whole whack of C+S.

Oh, and just yesterday I signed up for another swap! This time for Thimble Blossoms patterns. The house mini is actually a Thimble Blossoms pattern, but I changed it a bit. I added the middle block and moved the houses a bit to make it look like a cul-de-sac. And added the border to bump it up to swap requirement size. I think it turned out nicely with my additions.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Feeling the blues

Blue has been popping up a lot in my sewing lately. April's queen bee asked for her block to be in beachy blues. My trouble was narrowing it down from the many fabrics I had. While I was arranging the fabric for paper piecing, I did think carefully about placement of the top left fabric, so I'm not sure what happened. Let's just pretend it was intentional. And just relax looking at these wonderful beachy colours.

And two swap partners also listed blue and green as their favourite colours. Luckily I'm covered on the greens too. Here's the mini I pieced on my quilting retreat. I love, love, LOVE this!!! It's a traditional quilt pattern - Storm at Sea - but I gave it a modern twist with the fabric and interpretation of the design. This is for the Alison Glass swap and she said Grove was her favourite line - luckily I had plenty because I love it too, especially the blues and greens.

I think I'll quilt it to highlight the waves. Then I just need to figure out something for the top left circly shape. I may have to bite the bullet and bury threads. Or ooh, sudden brainwave! Do that in a spiral and then just quilt off the edge. Brilliant!

I've got all the fabric cut out for my other blue and green loving partner in the Cotton + Steel swap. I'm making the mini version of the awesome Rebel Quilt, by a Toronto designer. I can't wait to get started on that too!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Over the rainbow

This latest swap sparked my new addiction to sewing rainbows. The rainbow mini swap was so much fun, and an excuse to buy a colourful assortment of FQs by my partner's favourite designers. Oh and speaking of my partner, I was making for the swap host! Talk about pressure. I knew I had to do something big and bold because all 600-plus swappers would be seeing what I made.

Well, I actually went teeny. And lots of it. This mini is made with 484 1.5" squares, including 128 HST. And because I am a bit cuckoo bonkers, I pieced the border even though it was the same fabric all the way around. Why stop with the craziness there when I was on a roll?

Then as usual I did dense straight-line quilting. It was tough picking out a thread colour for the quilting on such a colourful mini, and I settled on a light teal since there was a lot of blue in the quilt.

I pieced a rainbow strip for the back around a churn dash block with my partner's favourite little bee ladies in a kerchief in the middle.

Then a pretty label with the feature fabric around the edge.

I wrapped the mini and extras in FQs by my partner's favourite fabric designer and finished them off with a big bow and colourful tag. I forgot to get a photo of all the extras, but it was packed with all sorts of goodies tucked inside a zippered pouch that featured more Heather Ross fabric. Among the treats: a handmade seam ripper, washi tape, markers, letterpress tags, tea flower, notebook with grid paper to jot down quilt ideas, clothespins with crocheted flowers, rainbow ric rac, a pack of Coffee Crisp and mixed box of Dutch sprinkles. I also made a Frozen drawstring pouch for her daughter and inside I put a Palace Pony, glitter crayons and stickers. I had so much fun gathering all the extras!

And this is the back. Oh, how I love the look of open seams on teeny patchwork! It really gives you an appreciation for all the work. So much time spent with the iron.

My partner seemed really happy with the mini and the extras. She even hung the mini right away in her family room. And her daughter was super happy with her Frozen bag, too.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Practice block first

The quilting bee I joined is going well, and we're already heading into the third month. The March queen bee picked a paper pieced block, so I finally had to bite the bullet and jump in. Thankfully it was an easy pattern, but it definitely takes some practice and my machine doesn't love bulk. She chose bright colours with a low-volume background, either neutral or colourful. As you can see, I went colourful. I made a cute signature block with the wee bits I cut off while making the block.

Each month I have been making a practice block, so by the time the bee is done I will have two quilts. Here's my two latest ones, including my first ever paper-pieced block (thankfully not too much of a disaster) and the practice April block.

Sorry for the terrible quality of this photo. I'll offer a few excuses: 1) It's a very grey, rainy day and the lighting was bad; 2) I was perched on a rotating wheely chair, which makes photography challenging; 3) I was also on wobbly knees that are battered and bruised after a fall in April showers that turned into freezing rain (and back to #1). Oh and I'm on vacation, so suck it.

The Bee Hive

Rainbow kitty

Call me the cat who ate the canary, but oh boy am I proud of this mini! I started with a popular pattern for cat faces that I knew lots of people would be using in this kitty-themed swap, then I made it my own! I even got the quilty math right on the first try!

My partner, who just happens to be the head of the modern quilt guild in Saskatoon (no pressure there!), said she likes "modern design with a hint of cat." I think this fits the bill perfectly!

I've really gotten into rainbows since joining the #rainbowminiswap, so that's where I went. Inspired by the three colours of my favourite tiger kitty fabric from Cotton + Steel. While making the faces, I noticed I didn't have the kitties in pink. I was confused. I like pink. Did they not make it in pink? Long story short and frantic online search later, I now have pink kitties!

Once I had the four faces, I decided on a star for the middle and then a neat arrangement of HST in different sizes for the corners. Each corner used both colours from the adjoining cat block, like green and blue in this one below. I even had some fabric in my stash that incorporated both colours for the big triangles.

Then I did straight-line quilting in four colours - teal, hot pink, orange and green - to match the colours of the sections. I love how that turned out.

Then on the back a label with adorable kitten faces. In the package I also included a linen tea towel I hemmed, featuring the C+S kitties, cat toy and treats, and a drawstring pouch for my partner's daughter with sparkle crayons, stickers and a My Little Pony toy. The package just arrived yesterday and my partner seemed very happy with it.