Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Hallowe'en!

Now that the doorbell has stopped ringing, I can get back to blogging! It may have something to do with the fact that I turned off all the lights and am hiding in my studio!

Just wanted to share the couple of Hallowe'en themed sewing projects I've done in the last couple years. I try not to make too much - I mean, it's only out for a week or so a year. I suspect I may one day break down and make a couch quilt. There are just too many fun Hallowe'en prints out there!

Here's little Miss Witchy!
She's just 20 inches square and is part of my collection of mini quilts that I like to hang over my desk. She's paper-pieced (and yes, some of those pieces are very narrow!) and comes from Maaike Bakker's book, Spellbinding Quilts. I bought it during the Harry Potter craze.... can't say I've made a lot from it, but it's fun!

And who doesn't love bunting?
One of the things I find tough about Hallowe'en is all the disposable decorating, so I opted to make bunting for my classroom instead of buying plastic junk. When the season's over, I just stack up the pennants and tuck them away. They don't even need to be ironed the next year! I've also got some for Christmas and am always planning to make more - maybe a strong or two will get made for Valentine's Day this year.

I also sewed up a Hallowe'en skirt this year... sorry, no pics. I'm not in to selfies. I'm hoping this doesn't break Ade and I's age old pact of no quilted clothing. It's not quilted per se, just made from quilting cotton!

Happy Hallowe'en all! Hope it was filled with lots of trick or treaters. Though not so many that you don't have a few of your favourite treats left for yourself. Mmmm.... peanut butter cups! ☺


Monday, October 28, 2013

Kona Quandary

If the question is fabric, my answer these days seems to be Kona!

I've got to get out of the funk I'm in and start something new and fresh, so  I've decided to make (yet another) baby quilt. This one's got an intended home, so at least that's a little different for me!

Here's my inspiration pic... found on Pinterest and attributed to Red Pepper Quilts. When I scanned through 4 years of her completed quilts in an attempt to get a direct source, I couldn't find it. As an aside (and there are many of those on this blog!), whilst scanning I came to realize just how many projects from Red Pepper Quilts I have pinned on my boards. Yikes!Red Pepper Quilts
I'm going to use some lovely girl-y prints that have been hanging out in the stash for some time. They were collected on subsequent trips to numerous Marden's stores in Maine. Now the quandary - which Kona to use in place of the brown? I'm thinking pink and have narrowed it down to two choices (though I'm still open to suggestions from left field!)

Option 1: Pearl Pink - I like that it's so pale as to almost read as white, but not so stark a contrast as white with those bright prints.
Option 2: Peony - I live in fear of this being too bubblegum-ish. (I didn't even entertain the thought of using Kona Bubblegum... yowzah!)
So, dear reader, your thoughts?


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Sometimes the fabric just has to be enough...

Quarter Inch from the Edge isn't just a blog name. It also describes my mental state quite aptly at times. This week would be one of those times. There's no quilt finishes (or even starts) to show off and even the stitch n' bitch session today was less than productive on the sewing front.

In a week with crap-tastic day after crap-tastic day, there were (thankfully) a few highlights. You know the day's looking up when you get to the mailbox and see this....
That's right - the Tragically Hip have a stamp! This is NOT at all important to most people, but for a Canadian of my vintage who graduated from high school and university in the 90s, a lot of good times were had whilst rockin' out to Gord and the boys. And it gets better...
... way better! My first ModQImprov block has arrived, courtesy of the très productive Ms. Adrienne over at Chezzetcook Modern Quilts. I think this block has been kicking my Bee-mates butts. I even heard it broke a sewing machine!
And the next day... Kona, sweet Kona.
My Kona fat quarter of the month package arrived... Emerald, Medium Gray, Ash, and Jade Green. This month's selections are particularly funny given my most recent Kona purchase at my local fabric shop.
Charcoal, Emerald, and Shadow. Too funny. What am I going to make with these, you ask? No idea, my bloggy reader-friend. No idea. But some days, the fabric is enough to make you smile. Not the inspiration for the intended project, not the binding of a finally quilted piece, not the photo shoot of the finished creation, but the fabric. The fabric is enough.

Today, a couple of the Squares popped in for a less-scheduled than usual sew day. I can't say we did a lot of sewing, but there was therapeutic chatting and more fabric shopping. We do have fun when we're together, don't we, Q-B and Q-D? Here's the stack for today!
A motley crew to be sure! But some of them even have a purpose! The dots at the top were just for fun... looking at my Christmas fabric stash, no one could ever be convinced that I "need" more Christmas prints! But I thought they'd go nicely with these owls.
The fabric designers are wise to my addiction and have started on fun selvages. Not fair. Not even close to fair. I actually considered buying 1.5 m of this so I'd get three repeats of the trees. I'm shaking my head as I write that. I am not well. Not even close.
And then there's the Halloween selvages!
This one is destined to become my outfit for Halloween. Nothing too wild, just a skirt to be paired with a black top this week. We'll call it my hommage to a costume. I can't manage make-up, masks, or heavy costume pieces all day long in the classroom!
And to round out my purchases for the day...
A fancy new rotary cutter! Both my Fiskars cutters are in hard, hard shape and the Fiskars site has been down for weeks... of course, I wrote that sentence and did a Google search. Site's back up. Honestly, sometimes I feel like forces are aligning against me. In any case, I have this snazzy new Olfa Splash. I've only had the pizza cutter style of rotary cutter before, so this one's a departure for me. We'll see how it goes!
On the fabric theme for this post, I thought I'd give you a glimpse of Q-B and Q-D's fabric selections for today. There was a whole lot of QADHD going on today, but such is life. One can always just pet the fabric if need be.
I don't care for pink. That phase of my life ended around 1983. But I do love Q-D's selections here! And so will the little girlie this quilt is destined for.
Likewise this selection for a little guy that loves red, blue, and nautical. I can't decide which one I like best.
I busted into my scrap stash after we talked Q-B into that lovely citron and grey stripe fabric. Turns out she didn't have much in her bins that would allow her to make the placemats she was planning. ☺ I may have to go back to the shop tomorrow and buy the rest of that stripe. It's right at home in my stash!

Here's hoping this week's a little better than the last. If all else fails, there's fresh fabric in the stash and a functioning rotary cutter to slice through it. Sometimes, the fabric is enough. It just has to be.


Friday, October 18, 2013

Finish Up Friday! - Double Irish Chain Redux

Hey all! It's Finish Up Friday again!

Sometimes you need just the right spot for a quilt-y photo shoot. My friend and I had already snapped some pics at another location when I drove by this spot. I won't say I haven't been eyeing it ever since the gigantic pink and blue aluminum school desk appeared on the lawn of a certain former-school-turned-swanky-condos.  It's a BIG statue... there was jumping and throwing involved here! But the colours were just so right!
This quilt is an hommage to the very first quilt I ever made... hence the "redux" in the name. It was a queen sized, forest green monstrosity and is no longer in my possession. The best I can offer you is this page from my quilt record/scrap book. Yes, I really did make something so...well, forest green.
I'm pleased to say that I was little more frugal in my quilting this go round. The original is quilted every 2 inches, vertically and horizontally. What was I thinking?! This time, I followed the purple "chains" and quilted on the diagonal.
I do love a stripe-y binding, don't you? I swear, part of me is considering planning quilts around available stripe fabric. Clearly, I am not well.
The back is my first real attempt at a modern pieced backing. I like the fabric from the top, but I really wanted to use it up... it doesn't fit so well in my stash. I'm pretty pleased at how it turned out... I like the asymetry! ☺
I also blogged about this quilt here, here, and  here. It is destined to be donated to the IWK Choices (Youth Mental Health and Addictions) Program. As quilters, we all know that quilts give comfort. I can think of so many individuals who could use this comfort... perhaps you've got a quilt or two with no home in your stash... please consider giving it to someone who needs a warm quilt-y hug.

Love is something if you give it away, you end up having more.


Monday, October 14, 2013

Thanksgiving Three-peat

How to spend a long week-end when Himself is at sea and the fam-jam is away? Quilting, of course! And I managed to have sew days with quilt-y pals three days in a row. Talk about a three-peat!

Saturday had been a scheduled Q-Squared day for a while, but other commitments reared their ugly heads for Q-A and Q-B. The upside was that Q-D and I had more room to spread out!

I struggled to decide what to work on this week-end. I opted to quilt a piece that had been around for a bit. I needed a consult with at least one of the Squares to get things going. Though it was free-motion, I wanted to keep my lines of stitching running more or less vertical. Out came the masking tape! I've been using this trick for ages! 
The goal was to make it look like raindrops. Thankfully, raindrops don't have to be consistent or any particular shape. Here's another shot of the quilting... I'm saving the money shot for another post. You'll have to be patient!
Q-D had similar issues with indecision this week. She brought a pile of stuff to choose from. When she got her with all her bags, it looked like she was moving in!

Q-D found a pin of this lovely tree quilt a while back, and, rather than just doing the tutorial given on the blog, decided to make her own paper piecing pattern for it. She brought it along this week-end and we got to joking that I should pebble quilt it. Q-D's a little obsessed with my pebble quilting since I made this...
We kept joking and then.... I grabbed that sucker and got to work. It took the rest of Saturday evening and Sunday morning to quilt it, but Q-D seemed to think it was worth it!
 And here she is all done but for the binding...
The pebbling really makes the trees puff out. I quilted a little surprise in there for Q-D. I wonder if she's found it yet. I think Q-D should make me one in exchange. Just the top - I'd quilt it myself!
While I quilted one of her quilts, Q-D plugged away on another. This quilt was the first project she ever brought to a Q-Squared day.... it's been around for a while! Yes, those are paper pieced mittens. And yes, they are tiny! 
Once Q-D hit the road to join her family for Thanksgiving dinner, I knocked out a block for Global Stash Bee, an on-line bee hosted on Flickr. So far, I'm not loving this one as much as ModQImprov Canada. I think it's because it's on Flickr... I'm just not that into it. This month's Queen Bee requested any block at all in Christmas colours (though not necessarily Christmas prints). I chose Megan's Star from Modern Blocks.
I'd kind of forgot about this book, but when I needed some solo block inspiration it was perfect. I even found a block for a future ModQImprov Canada request!

And then today! Ade from Chezzetcook Modern Quilts finally made it here for a sew day. She's been under the weather... just read her blog post from last week-end for the gory details!

I kept on plugging away on my Toes in the Sand blocks. This is a little problematic when there's someone else quilting with me. They're challenging (the blocks, that is) and sometimes I have to talk to them to make sense of it all. Embarrassing, non?

It took me forever to finish the cutting for Block 7. It has 43 pieces! Yes, I said 43!!! in each block. And I made two. I was afraid of the partial seams on Block 4. Clearly, my fear was misplaced.
 There was a lot of referring to the book on this one!
I did it! Block 7 - Pebble Beach - is done! I think it was a good decision to do these in order. Otherwise, I'd have skipped this one and had it to do at the end!
Things got a little chaotic on Ade's table! She too had project indecision for this visit. Must have been something in the water this week. You can see the blocks she received in ModQImprov Canada, as well as those lovely Amy Butler and Heather Bailey prints she used for her postage stamp quilt. Not visible (behind the blue bag) is the block Ade's working on for me for ModQImprov Canada. I blogged about it  here. N.B. She tidied up mere seconds after this pic was snapped. Honest!
My table stayed a little more streamlined today. Those Toes in the Sand blocks are tricky enough. I didn't need any visual clutter!
One more down! Block 8 - Santa Monica.
I have just four more sets of blocks to make and I'll done. Well, done the blocks anyway! 

And before she left, Ade gave me this! Isn't it cool? It's an orb. I can't believe she just gave it to me... saying it was just going to become a pillow anyway. I'm tempted to turn in into a mini-quilt/wall hanging for my bare studio walls. In exchange, I gave Ade back a book that's been on my shelf for easily...hmmm... let's say, 8 years. I couldn't get rid of it - it wasn't mine!
So what am I grateful for on this Thanksgiving week-end? There are many things - Himself (of course) and the rest of my family, to be born in such an amazing country as Canada with so many advantages, to have health, wealth (at least some) and happiness (most days!). But as I write, I'm thankful for the quilt-y friends that filled up what might have been a long (and not in a good way) week-end all on my own.

What if we woke up tomorrow with only what we were grateful for today? That's my deep thought for today!

Hope you found some sewing time around the pumpkin pie and turkey!

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Another Sewin' Sunday!

Another gorgeous autumn day... cool, crisp breezes and sun streaming in my studio window. And sewing... ah, sewing!

Today was meant to be a sew day with my quilt-y pal over at Chezzetcook Modern Quilts, but alas, she's under the weather. Feel better soon, Ade! Since I was on my own, I thought I'd carry on with the blocks from my Toes in the Sand quilt. They're are a little tricky and I'd have a hard time working on them whilst having a stitch n' bitch session. Better for solo studio days, methinks!

First up for today was Sonoma Coast. I fiddled around in the studio for a while before starting this one. To be honest, the partial seams were making me uneasy. Procrastination was my solution... at least for a little while. But I finally bit the bullet and got down to work...
 Partial seams in progress...
Turns out, partial seams are nowhere near as hard as I remember them! Perhaps my skill level has improved since I last did them. I should hope so - since it was over ten years ago! There's only one other block of the twelve that has partial seams and I'm not at all worried about it anymore! Here are the completed Sonoma Coast blocks.
Next up, Torrey Pines. The strip sets in this are super easy, but it's a little disappointing to make a length of strips when you only cut half of it into triangles. I'm not a fan of wasting fabric! I might need to make a funky improv piece with all the leftover bits.
The more blocks I made and added to the collection on my floor, the more jarring one of my blocks from last week (Santa Barbara) seemed. The orange I used seemed like a good idea at the time (how many times have we heard that one?!), but now....not so much. Out came the seam ripper... I kept the aqua dot and the hexo fabric, but subbed in a new orange. Much more satisfying.
There are a few more blocks I might end up re-making. I think I was so focused on using a variety of fabrics that I made some poor choices. They're just blocks at this point, so I'd rather re-make 'em now than regret it when they're part of a finished quilt. But fixing stuff is not near as fun as making new stuff so on to Santa Cruz! This is the first block to use the jewel shape that is part of the Hex n'More ruler. I'm really happy I didn't cheap out this time and use the templates in the book. The ruler is well worth it!
This is designed as a block of the month quilt, but if I keep it up at this pace, I'll have all the blocks done in a month! I'm definitely going to need to order more of this Hexo fabric. It's sneaking its way into most of the blocks. And you know what? I'm pretty okay with it!

Himself has returned from a day in the woods, so I'll be back to my EPP while we have some quality time (read as: catch up on episodes of MasterChef Australia Professionals!). Since I finished my pillow this week, I've decided to start a new project. Here's the trouble - it's in the QPPP - Quilting Project Protection Program. It's like the Witness Protection Program, only for quilting projects destined to be given to someone who might read this blog. So I'm only going to show you a quick peak. And you likely won't hear about it again until it's reached its destination. If anyone asks, you haven't seen it. Deal? Great.
It's coming along nicely, though I've had a moment or two where I can't help but feel I've bit off more than I can chew. And these larger hexies are more challenging to manipulate while stitching.
Remember... if anyone asks, you never saw this project. But aren't those batiks just gorgeous? Though I haven't been as enamoured of them lately, I still love the saturated colour.

Thanks for reading!


Saturday, October 05, 2013

Finish up Friday - Hexie Pillow

A day late, but not necessarily a dollar short!

So, I've been a little obsessed with EPP hexies lately. So much so, that when I finished my first project, I just kept right on going. The mass of hexies just kept growing and growing. I didn't know what it was going to be, just that I was enjoying it!
Who wouldn't love these fabrics? I have to admit, I'm pretty smitten. It's like I have a loaves and fishes thing going on with my Amy Butler stash. I keep using it, but it doesn't seem to get any smaller. I'm not saying there's a miracle happening in my studio, but it is suspicious.
Ultimately, I decided that this hexie blob was to be the centre panel of (yet another) pillow for the bed in the Hawaii Suite (read as my spare room). Even though I knew it was a necessary step, I still had a hard time cutting off those hexie edges.
I knew I didn't want to straight line quilt this one through the hexies. Too similar to the sewing case, but what to do? I went a little crazy here and used my EPP foundation as a stencil to mark hexagons to quilt. My idea was that the hexies from the centre panel would just flow into the borders.I didn't have a Frixion pen handy, so I had to resort to the old water soluble pen.
Quilting around all those little hexies was tedious. I do not recommend this technique for anything larger than a pillow. Heck, I'd think twice before doing it on an pot holder!
 Hexie love!
Isn't it fun to make something just because?