Monday, August 26, 2013

The Last Hurrah...

I'm doing my best not to become maudlin, but the end of vacation sucks. Today, on my last day of vacay, I staved off a brutal case of advanced Sundaynightis by quilting with a good friend, Adrienne from Chezzetcook Modern Quilts. She's the one responsible for all this quilt-y madness... I'll go into that in another post some day. We're having a friendship renaissance and one of the pleasant offshoots has been two great quilting days.

I don't sew off-site very often, so I have trouble deciding what to bring. Nothing too scrappy - hard to bring scrap bins. Nothing improv - might need something I don't have with me. Nothing too big - hard to transport and hard to work on with shared table space. Ugh.

Here's what I ultimately decided upon...
More HSTs! This time it's blocks for my Warm/Cool HST quilt.
I hadn't planned on sewing these together until I had the prerequisite 50 warm and 50 cool 5 inch squares. But collecting them is happening pretty slowly. Plan revised. I made 50 HSTs today of the 100 needed. I'll pick away at them as 5 inch square scraps present themselves.
I had some visits from The Orange Cat. He's a very nice cat. Unless you inadvertently ignore him. Then he becomes un chat Ninja. He is, in this pic, closely examining, my charm squares.
Whilst I tried to give T.O.C the correct amount of attention and sew HSTs, Adrienne was working on the most glorious blocks. Can you see all that lovely Amy Butler in there? She's fusing 3 inch squares to fusible interfacing. This technique makes such exact seams. I can't wait to try it! I am particularly pleased that she adopted my suggestion to toss all the squares in a box, mix 'em up, then draw without looking to create a plappy (that's planned scrappy) look. After watching her work on her pressing board, I'm thinking it would be a fine addition to my creative tools.
Adrienne continued on to complete six of these blocks and I pulled out a little something I unearthed during the great studio clean up/out few weeks ago.They've been in the closet for so long that I don't even remember when I started them. I do know that one's for me and one's for the 'Rents. I even know which one is which... just by looking at the little houses. Hint: My suburban abode has tan siding and a brown roof!
The tops were pretty much finished, so all that needed doing was layering and quilting. They're pretty small (just 10 by 14 inches), so they didn't need a tonne of quilting... just a little to hold things together. Here they are a few hours later, all bound and ready to have hanging sleeves added to the back.
My next project of the day was a quilt I'm making to donate to the IWK Choices program. Adolescents who use this program often come with nothing and quilts can offer much needed comfort. I've decided to rock it old school and make a double Irish chain... the first quilt block I ever made. I'm using a paisley print and a dot print from the same line. I'm saving the coordinating stripe for the binding. And you probably wouldn't know it, but that blue is a solid. A Kona, Denim to be exact.
The first quilt technique I ever learned was strip piecing. It was formative. I pretty much believe that everything should be strip pieced if possible. It's just so quick! Here are the strip sets for my first batch of A blocks.
Then you get to cut 'em up! It was so scary that first time, but now, slicing into my hard work doesn't faze me at all.
Even thought it was past the time I planned on leaving, I just couldn't pack up until I'd finished one block. Part of me wanted to take Adrienne up on her offer of supper and keeping cranking out blocks, but didn't want to wear out my welcome!

Adrienne moved on from her postage stamp blocks to this fab baby quilt. I just had to hang around until she finished it! I love, love, love these fabrics. Look carefully at outermost strip in each block... yup, that's Kona Ash. It's Ade's first time using it and she's hooked. We even discussed going halfsies on a bolt! I only wish I had taken some more pics while she was putting it together so you could see all those lovely fabrics a little better. Never fear, I'm pretty sure Ade did and, if we're lucky, she might write about it too!
It's bigger than I'd normally make for a baby quilt, but so what? Babies rarely, if ever, complain about presents! It just means more to love.

All in all, we both had a very productive day! I can hardly wait for our next Quilt Therapy session!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Finish up Friday! - A Hat Trick

hat trick  

  1. Three successes of the same kind, esp. consecutive ones within a limited period.
  2. (chiefly in hockey or soccer) The scoring of three goals in a game by one player.
I've not taken up hockey this week, but I did finish three projects. That counts for some consecutive successes!

First up, the on-going HST obsession. You saw a few versions of this one last week, but here's the layout I settled on. Himself says it might be his favourite baby quilt that I've ever made. I couldn't possibly play  favourites! I was dodging raindrops to take this pic... oh, the things I will do for quilting!

Rather than stitch in the ditch, I decided to emphasize the large teal/orange squares formed by the lay-out. I stitched a quarter inch out.
I'm pretty pleased with the binding...  it's one of the orange versions of that Rain fabric I keep blabbing about. And I used up some more of that teal floral for the backing. I bought a pile of it on one of my infamous Marden's trips to use as backing for the spare room qui-vet and it just seems to go on and on
Second up, Paying it Forward! Way back in January,  Ade over at Chezzetcook Modern Quilts offered a little Creative Pay it Forward challenge to her FaceBook friends. The first five people to comment would receive a crafty something in the mail sometime over the course of the year. The catch - you had to make the same offer to your FaceBook friends. I jumped on the opportunity with both feet! And got this little treat in the mail some time ago...
Lucky me, huh?

Only two people took me up on my offer and I've yet to send them anything... until now! Ms. L is a long-time Girl Guide friend from my days at StFX in Antigonish. She posts the most beautiful pics of her outdoor adventures - canoeing, hiking, kayaking - all over Nova Scotia. Honestly, I don't even feel like she needs to pay this gift forward. Her pictures are gift enough for anyone.

This table runner is based on a Flickr pic from Kelby Sews. There wasn't a tutorial, so I made some intelligent guesses and made it up as I went along. The green sections started out as 5 inch squares and the brown corners started as 2½ inch squares.
You're likely shocked by the fabric choices here... I had a pretty lengthy love affair with Balis so my stash is still chock-a-block full with them. This project didn't even make a dent. I'm loving the binding on this one too. It's a fabric I bought in Hawaii to use in my Honu quilt. Happy memories. I know, I know, again with the binding fabrics. For me, they're like the last piece of the puzzle. They have to be just right.
 And thirdly, Dot to Dot! This one is all Q-A's fault. She brought this fabric to a Quilt Therapy session...
... and it haunted me until I made something with it. I swear, I couldn't even put it away in the stash closet. It traveled from my desktop to the ironing board to the bed in my studio and back to the desktop again. I knew it had to be made into something.
And here it is! A Kona-tastic creation!
The quilting frames the small centre squares and breaks up the dot to dot blocks. I didn't anticipate it turning out as nicely as it did. I'm not always so good at visualizing the finished project when it gets to the quilting stage.
If there had been any yardage of the dots, they would have been the clear choice for the backing. Alas, the two original scraps were only 8 by 12 inches. So Konas it was!
In case you were wondering and/or trying to hold your Kona colour card up to the screen to figure out the colours (never done that... really.), the Konas featured here are (from top to bottom): White, Corn Yellow,  Purple, Lilac, Chartreuse, White again, and Orange. The pink used on the front is Bubblegum (I didn't have a scrap of it left for the back!)

This was my last full week of vacation, so I made the most of it. Mere days to go before I'm back in the classroom and quilting gets put on the back burner... but not to fear, loyal readers! I'll still be stitching away when I have the time and sharing it with you!

To get myself back into the school mindset, I made a little zipper pouch for myself! This one's made with 16 inch zippers using this tutorial from Everywhere Orange. So much fun!

I also made a little something for my classroom... you only get a sneaky peaky though.
You'll have to come back soon for Tutorial Tuesday if you want to see it!
Okay, everyone! Step away from the computer/tablet/Smart phone and get to some sewing!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sunny Sew-Day or a Sew-y Sunday?

I guess it was a little of both! Today made Day 4 of my sew marathon. I don't really know what's going on with me in the productivity department, but I suspect it has a lot to do with this being my last week of summer vacation. It hurt me even to type that.

To kick things off, I dove back into my selvage bin. I have a couple of ongoing projects that I pick away at when the bin gets a little too full or I don't know what else to work on. First up, rainbow blocks.

These blocks are made up of four 5 inch blocks. I vary the rainbow gradiation from block to block. I don't have a plan for them... I just like making them! So far, I have three complete blocks like the one below.
And I made two more segments for a future block. Don't you just love selvages?

On to the teal! Apparently, I must make a lot of projects with teal if my selvages are any sort of proof. These blocks are done on a 6½ inch foundation.
 I've got quite a few of them... eight in all... and again, no firm plans for their future! 
Remember those teal and orange HST layouts I shared this week? Well, I fell in love with another layout... who knew there were so many options! This one was from a pic found on Pinterest from Milly Made It.  She also used teal and orange, but darker tones paired with a gorgeous grey. This one's already quilted and bound... you'll just have to wait for some pics.
 I can also tell you that in the past couple days, I've made the a pile of blocks for another baby quilt, inspired by this scrap of fabric I got from Q-A. I tried not to work on it, but it just kept calling me. And it wasn't just the selvage! I'll let you in on the details later in the week!
I also got to thinking about my Crafty Pay it Forward promises that I made back in January and started work on a little something to go in the mail to a certain Guiding pal in Antigonish. Here's a sneaky peaky...
As the August days fly by on the calendar, my thoughts are turning to school supplies. It's the best part of September. Who doesn't love a cool little pencil case like no one else has?
Yup, those are zippers! I saw a similar idea on Pinterest (Yes, I have more than one addiction in my life.) and decided to whip a couple up. They are a little bit tricky, but I think Miss K and Super K will like them. And it's totally a coincidence that both those special young women have K blog aliases!
The pink one has this lovely Amy Butler print on the back and inside. I really wanted to line it in some way, but I have a hell of a time with linings.
And the blue and purple one has a cool batik that I bought in Alaska at The Quilted Raven. I love to pick up some of fabric or a pattern when I travel. It's fun to use it later and think of the adventure you had to get it. My kind of souvenir!
Now I just have to think of something to make for Mr. J. It just wouldn't be fair for him not to have a little back to school giftie too. But they didn't have enough zippers for me to make a Pittsburgh Penguins colour scheme!

See what I mean? There's been a whole lot of sewin' goin' on!

Hope you had a sunny or sew-y Sunday!


Friday, August 16, 2013

Finish up Friday - Transformer!

After a mere six months, the infamous Transformer quilt is finished! I blogged about it here when Q-A and I first took the day long workshop.

Initially, I opted to make the smallest size quilt with 48 6 inch blocks. Going in to the workshop, it was a little unclear what the finished project was going to look like (understandable given the myriad of block possibilities combined with a plethora of potential lay-outs) and I didn't want to make a big fabric and time investment in something I wasn't sure of.

Once they were actually made, I loved the look of the blocks and the layout that the instructor helped me choose was awesome. In the end, I've made 2½ more batches of blocks. I have fabric cut for another ½ batch, but I just can't face any more of them right now! I hereby decree that 6 inch blocks are only suitable for baby or lap quilts!
More straight line quilting on this one... I wanted to echo the asymmetrical V shape and have the individual blocks blend into each other. This quilting makes my eyes move along the bands of colour.
I had initially planned on using the Peacock Kona for the backing, but apparently I must have bought it all when I made Miss K's Dare! I had to settle for Robin Egg... not that it's really settling. It's a fav of mine.

I didn't want any one of the colours in the top to take priority, so I used Kona Ash as the binding. I do love that grey, but then again, I think you probably knew that!
Everybody needs a quilt, right?
Thankfully, no fun sponges arrived to suck up my fun while doing this quilt-y photoshoot. The sign clearly says no climbing, but nothing about draping them with quilts. When I was a kid, the best part of visiting the Memorial Tower at the Dingle was climbing on those lions, similar to those at Trafalgar Square in London, only much smaller! Their bronze backs were always well polished in the summer months!

This quilt is destined for the twin bed in my studio (which doubles as a spare room when needed). It'll give it a whole new look! The quilt that's currently gracing the bed is a Thousand Pyramids quilt from way back in the day. My records say July 2002, and, yes, I do have records. I'm thinking of cutting it down to a proper twin size and sending it on to a new home.

With such a snazzy new quilt on the bed and a recent purge and re-organization, I think the place needs a new coat of paint... uh oh!


P.S. I've pretty much decided after my incident at the Samuel Cunard statue with Miss K's Dare that my goal is to drape every statue in the Halifax Regional Municipality with a quilt. They're bronze. They must get cold sometimes. No one, not even statues, deserves to be cold when there are quilters around!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

HSTs - The ongoing saga...

My name is Jenn and I'm addicted to HSTs. And I fear my addiction is getting out of control.

Having so many projects finished from my Gotta Do/UFO list means I feel free to play around a bit. I cranked out some HSTs in one of my favourite colour pathways - teal & orange. Really, I just had to cut into some of those gems from the Stitch n' Post.

Ooh... snippets. Again, I am powerless to resist taking their picture. At least I'm not hoarding them in a jar. I've thought about it.
I've spent a good part of the last week giving the studio a really good tidy up. I'm rewarding myself by taping up a temporary design wall. All the cool kids have them already. I'm so behind the times.

It was so much fun playing with the layouts that I got a little carried away!

Layout 1: Square in a Square
Layout 2: Herringbone - I think my colour values might not be distinct enough to make this one work. Check out a better example.
Layout 3: Chevrons
 Layout 4: Asymmetrical radiating
Layout 5: Asymmetrical Check
So much fun! Reminds me of the good ole days when I made a tonne of log cabin quilts. Digital photography has really cut down the wait time on comparing layouts! Which do you like best? I make no guarantees of majority rule here. I'm just curious!


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tutorial Tuesday - Rounded corners!

A while back I stumbled onto a pin on Pinterest that showed a rounded corner on a finished quilt. My mind was blown - why on earth had I never thought of that?!
Must be hard to do, since I've never see anyone do it outside of the blogosphere.

Nope! Here's my ten second tutorial on rounded corners!

1. The key to the entire process is bias cut binding. As I general rule, I use a straight cut binding because bias cut always seems like a waste of fabric. I have yet to perfect any of those fancy tips to make it. I just cut it on the 45 on my cutting mat. One day, I will master those handy tutorials out there.
2. Find a household object that gives you the curve you want on your corner. I used a very fancy plastic patioware plate ☺, but fine china would work just as well.

3. Mark your curve with the marking implement of your choice. I'm very in to Frixion pens right now. They're not designed for fabrics, but are an erasable pen. The heat of your iron with erase them... very handy!
4. Trim away the excess.
5. Sew the raw edge of the binding to the front of the quilt.
6. Fold over and sew the folded edge to the back of the quilt. Marvel at your quilting prowess.
And there you have it! 

The next time you get a-round (ha ha) to binding your quilt, why not give it a try?