Friday, February 26, 2016

A block and more pillows

I'm trying to brace myself for being away from my sewing machine for - gasp - a whole month! Thankfully a few days after that stint, I'll be heading off to a quilting retreat, which means intense sewing time. That balances out, right? Maybe.

I am sad I will miss out on a couple blocks in the Modern HST Sampler QAL. Here is my version of Block #4, Stepping Stones.

I'm also working on a pair of pillows. I saw a pillow on IG I loved and just had to make one. Well, more accurately two. I jumped in without thinking about the quilty math too much (sounds like a theme on this blog) and didn't get it quite right. But by then I had all the fabric cut out so I had no choice but to forge ahead. It worked out OK. I wouldn't have had enough of the cream fabric otherwise, and I only had to trim off an excess half-inch to make the blocks square. Not too obvious, I don't think. It's a variation on the classic Delectable Mountains quilt pattern. Usually it's made by cutting up HST, but here I used HRT. If I got the math right, it would have yielded a square block, which is much easier to use for a pillow.

Then I got to quilting. I had the perfect shade of a goldy cream Aurifil that had been given to me. I love when that happens. The first I did in my more usual pattern.

For the second, I tried something new. It took longer because I had to mark every line, while normally I use my foot edge a lot for a spacing guide. I really like how it turned out.

I just happened to pick up a gold CF Botanics print earlier in the week (that's a whole other story!!) that just happens to go wonderfully with these fabrics, so I figured I should use it and add binding. Which then lead to a visit to the local sewing machine shop for a stitch in the ditch foot so I can sew the binding down by machine. That will add time to what otherwise would be a quick finish, but it's too perfect to not use.

Rainbow mini, round 2

It's no small miracle that I got my quilt done way early for the second round of the rainbow mini swap. It sure is nice not to feel under the gun for a swap!

I don't want to say too much about the inspiration for my package since it's pretty specific to my partner. Maybe I'll come back and add that later. I really hope my partner is happy with what I made her. She's crazy talented, so that was rather intimidating. But also she really inspired me in this swap.

Here's the mini itself:

I used a block from Arcadia Avenue, but changed the colour scheme a bit. Kinda looks like a cheery flower, eh? I stepped out of my comfort zone with the quilting, for sure. Generally I prefer edge to edge straight-line quilting, but here I wanted to emphasize the design and I knew that meant burying threads. I hadn't done that before and was apprehensive, but it went OK. I alternated the quilting design in each ring of colour using a matching thread. The centre has star patterns that are tough to see here. Ooh boy, that centre was a doozy to get lined up.

The white around the edge has just a hint of sparkle, very purposely picked to suit something my partner mentioned in her form.

Then I made her a zippered pouch with Blueberry Park fabric and Quilter's Linen. I was going for an abstract stormy waters look. I really like how this turned out, finished with a special zipper pull and some of my favourite Laura Gunn fabric for the lining. I stuffed some goodies inside the pouch.

Now I just need to stitch on the label and I'll mail it on Monday.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Long weekend sewing

Luckily the March queen bee is super organized and already picked out her block and colours, which gave me the chance to make her blocks before I go away for all of March. I didn't like the idea of sending them late, even a few days, so now I could cross this off my list early.

She picked the Houndstooth block, which is fast and easy to put together. First a practice block for me.

Then two for her in blue and green. I've actually put this block on my short list for my month. I definitely want to pick an easy to make one this time around.

This weekend I also finished quilting the second panel for a pouch. It is so much fun quilting these dense wavy lines. Here's a nice daylight photo of the first one I made.

And here are both finished in slightly less ideal light.

Now to turn them into a zippered pouch! This weekend I also got the binding stitched down on my rainbow swap mini. I've never been done a swap mini weeks early. It feels good!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Busy nights

Oh, how I love the third block in the Modern HST Sampler QAL. This one is called Lantern and it comes together really quickly using a method that mades 8 HST in one go. I really love this print in the indigo Handcrafted line by Alison Glass, and the sprinkling of shapes. I made sure to place each HST according to the amount of pattern. Too OCD?

I got two bee blocks finished way early. Yay me! The February queen bee gave two options for her colour scheme, so I made one of each. I really like the Alpine block. A lot of cutting, but it comes together quickly with chain piecing.

Then last night I whipped up two Tula pillowcases. It's been a long time since I made these, so I felt a bit rusty. But it came back to me quickly and I always get a kick out of the pillow burrito. I have material cut for two more matching, but opposite pillowcases.

Boy, am I looking forward to longer days returning. I do so much of my sewing on weeknights and it sure is tough to get a photo in good daylight.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Bits and bobs

This post is gonna be a random assortment of things I've been working on. First up is the second block in the Modern HST Sampler QAL. This one is called Ninja. So far, they're super fast and easy.

And my new Canadian quilting bee group is up and running. Here is my practice block for February, called Alpine. It's a nifty pattern. It was hurting my brain trying to figure out how to get the background fabric all going in the same direction, so I embraced the chaos and have it going in every direction.

Since joining the bee last year, I've been making practice blocks along the way with my bundle of Meadow by Leah Duncan. Just for fun, I pulled them all out on the weekend to see them together.

After sewing what seemed like forever (paper piecing is really not my favourite), I finally got my rainbow swap mini together (a block from Arcadia Avenue). Whooboy! That centre was tricky with a dozen points coming together. It took grit and determination to keep trying until I got it right. Well, rightish. As right as it's gonna get. All the paper is out now, and I'm stewing on how to quilt it.

And this was a fun experiment. When I bought these fabrics, some Blueberry Park and some Quilter's Linen, it reminded me of clouds and water. Then I got this idea in my head of making an abstract scene of stormy skies and rough waves. In my typical leap before I look style, I jumped in. It's not quite what I envisioned, but I still like it. Someone on IG suggested taking off one strip of the grey, and I think I will do and add a blue strip since I plan to turn it into a pouch and part of the bottom will be hidden when I box the corners.

My vision was quilting wavy lines, and the plan is to get that started tonight because it's my break night from #sweatandsew. Always a welcome day in the week!

THE butterfly quilt

At last! My Tula butterfly quilt is actually done! The quilt was made and the binding half on a year ago as a gift to my dear friend Darci for her 40th birthday. Then I'm embarrassed to say it sat untouched until late last year. The prospect of stitching down all that binding just seemed too daunting. But then as her 41st birthday rapidly approached, I realized I needed to get it done.

And I did just that on Sunday. To say I am elated it is finally truly finished and ready to give away is an understatement. Sadly, the thrill was tempered by my inability to get a good photo of the whole quilt. It is next to impossible to do that on your own. So this is the best I have for now to document this monumental finish - spread on my dining room floor in the dim light of an impending rainstorm and a bump on my head after hitting a doorway edge while perched on a stepladder.

Here she is in all her glory!

As I stitched the binding, it was nice to get reaquainted with the quilt. I saw all the care I put into fussycutting the blocks. Not to mention all those damn curved seams that nearly killed me until I learned the magic way of sewing them. (Watch here and here.) Those curves and this quilt actually introduced me to my first good IG friend who kindly directed me to one of those videos. I think she sensed I was close to losing my mind while desperately using all the pins to sew those curves.

I wanted the quilt back to commemorate the big occassion, so I pieced a giant 40. And look at all those precious Tula raccoons! I could have retired on those!

This was the first quilt I took to a long-arm quilter and she did a lovely job. I picked one pattern for the main part of the quilt, and another for the top and bottom borders.

It's kinda hard to believe this is actually done. It was close to a full year of sewing, then close to a full year of procrastinating. And boy did it take organization to stay on top of all the cutting and blocks. I had lists and a bin of baggies marked with the blocks inside. My CDO found that very satisfying.

Hopefully I will be able to share better photos of this quilt some day. I didn't even bother getting out my real camera since the setting was so sub-par.