Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Johanna and the Amazing Technicolour Weekend

This post seems to be my love letter to colour. This weekend of sewing was definitely very colourful. First I whipped up 10 Checker blocks for my month as queen bee in May. This block couldn't be any easier, plus you get two for one with the HST. I'm loving this combo of the saturated colours with the black and white and low volume fabrics. I see now why b&w prints are such a quilting staple, for traditional and modern quilters alike, and I definitely need to get more!

And then I got all the blocks together in my sort-of-secret sewing project. Even the back is pretty!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Catching up

Here's partly what I crossed off my WIP list at my quilting retreat. At the top of that list was finishing the binding on my maple leaf mini and my Tula banner.

Plus Canada's 150th birthday isn't until 2017, so I'm way ahead on this one!

I also started on this quilt as you go pillow with my lovely new bundle of Alison Glass prints at the retreat. It took way longer than I expected, so it was finished at home.

And then look at this!!! How freaking awesome is this mini?! It was made for me by my good friend Darci and four lovely ladies I met on Instagram - Amy, Katy, Ramona and Sue. I am a lucky person to count them as friends. They conspired together to make this for me, and it sounds like it was quite the endeavour since they're all across Canada and the United States. Let's call it Sisterhood of the Travelling Quilt.

And they sent it along with a bunch of goodies. As if this mini wasn't enough! What an amazing surprise to open that package. I've got it hanging in front of my sewing machine, cheering me on.

Blocks, blocks and more blocks

First up, let's get caught up on my Modern HST Sampler blocks. I'm loving the blues!

Block #7 is Pointed.

Block #8 is Intersection.

The April queen bee picked the Tic Tac Toe block - a favourite of mine - in a fabulous colour scheme. You just can't go wrong with saturated colours on a low-volume background. I made her two in pink.

Then I jumped into a crazy little idea I had. More on that later! Here's the first block I made:

And because I can't resist pretty little stacks of fabric.

Next month I'm queen bee. I picked the Checker block. Fast and easy but very striking. I cut out all the fabrics for 10 blocks in one go. It's easy with this block because you make two HST of different sizes, so you have two left over. These fabrics sure did look pretty lined up neatly.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Retreat hangover

I'm back again! After a month-long trip to Australia and New Zealand, I almost immediately packed up my bag and sewing machine for a quilting retreat. This is the third year in the row I've gone with my mom, a sewing and quilting pro and it's a great time filled with sewing and kindred spirits who are just has hooked on quilting.

Now a little warning: I'm gonna go a bit off course here and post some thoughts and no pictures. Cuz frankly I am so comfortable on the couch, my two kitties sitting next to me, that I just wanna type what's rolling around in my head and not bother with photos. Also, this is gonna be pretty honest. I'm not at all fishing for compliments or reassurances, I just want to share my feelings and thoughts because surely I'm not alone.

So back to my retreat ...

The timing probably wasn't the best since I went into it feeling pretty tired, but I started out pretty productive and feeling good. I finished the binding on two languishing WIPs and then dusted off my Tula Pink City Sampler book. I started those blocks back in spring 2014 and in about half a year got up to 70, but then didn't touch it for more than a year. In no time, I had them all done. What a great feeling! I don't know about you, but I always seem to be adding projects to my list and rarely crossing them off.

Then it was time for something fun and new. I ordered Alison Glass' new collection before heading off on my trip and it arrived at my doorstep before me. In love with the saturated colours, I knew I wanted to make another quilt as you go pillow - this one for me! I picked out the fabrics I wanted to use - predominantly pink, purple and teal - and jumped in, cutting strips and starting to quilt. Then I kept quilting. And quilting. The batting seemed immense, and I was getting seemingly nowhere covering it. I got really frustrated, but I forged ahead. I took a break for a dip in the pool and came back refreshed, for a bit. Then trudged off to bed and got back at it right away in the morning, soon hitting my frustration threshold. Ever have that feeling where you're doing something and it's not going like you planned and you get a sick feeling? Like you must be doing something wrong or missing something? Like maybe what you're doing is crazy, not admirable for sticking with it?

Long story short, it's not yet done. I was close. So close. But it was time to pack up the machine and head home, and I had to rip off a couple strips because one spot wasn't covered properly and I didn't like the placement of another. Thankfully the frustration and sick feeling subsided, but it got me to thinking. I couldn't come up with one thing I've made that I was 100 per cent satisfied with in the end. There is always something I'd change. There's a bunch of stuff I have been really happy with, but usually that pesky little phrase pops into my head "if only I'd ..."

I dunno. Maybe that's a good thing. Maybe it keeps us trying new things, pushing ourselves. Or maybe, as they say, we're our own worst critics. One lady at the retreat said to me in passing: "I never realized how insecure I was until I started quilting." So very true.

Chatting with the two women sewing at the table across from me (maybe they sensed my frustration), we agreed nobody looks as closely at what we make as we do. We agonize over fabrics, colours and placement while we're putting a quilt together, and when it's done focus in on the stuff we would have done differently. Other people, on the other hand, see the overall effect. They see the care and time and love that went into making it.

So I guess we all need to start looking at what we make with that perspective. And cut ourselves some sewing slack.

Sunday, April 3, 2016


After a month away from my sewing machine, it was so great to get back at again. First up - catching up on the two blocks I missed in the Modern HST Sampler QAL hosted by Blossom Heart Quilts.

Block #5 is called Mountain.

Block #6 is Formation. This used the strip method to make HST, which I quite liked. Fast, easy and accurate!

And here are all six blocks together. I really like this Alison Glass fabric. This quilt is gonna be lovely!

I'm all caught up now to join the link up on Alyce's blog!

Modern HST Sampler QAL