Friday, January 31, 2014

Finish! - Giant Starburst

 Ahhh.... my first real finish of 2014! It's the Giant Starburst from the QAL at Canoe Ridge Creations.
It features four bright Konas (Persimmon, Wasabi, Punch and Capri) from the new 2013 Kona colours... I just couldn't resist. The grey is Kona Coal. Wanna read more about the process of making this little lovely? Check out this, this, this, and this!
Thread selection was a real sticking point. I deliberated for a long time before choosing, well, all the options! Coloured thread for the Coal and grey thread for the colours. I decided to experiment by using the quilting stitch on my machine which resulted in a longer stitch length than usual. Overall, I'm pretty pleased with the result.
I'm in love with the Riley Blake extra wide backing! I wish I had more large quilts on the go so I could justify buying more! I opted to bind it in the Coal Kona. Even Himself commented that I didn't use my usual eye catching binding. It was a conscious choice to keep the colours balanced and not distract from the quilt top.
And now, the gratuitous shots of one of my favourite local spaces. Point Pleasant Park is a 190 acre park just minutes from my workplace and from our city's downtown core. It's enjoyed by more that 1.4 million visitors a year. It's got wooded walking trails, a beach, a couple of forts, something for everyone. The Prince of Wales Martello tower is just one of it's jewels. And in the summer, you can go out on the roof and get a top notch view of the harbour.
 Historic details!
 Nothing like blue bird skies and tromping around in the snow to end the work day on a high note!
  Love the snow covered trees! I know, I know, I was there to take quilt pics, but I couldn't resist!
And.... back to the quilt! I love this one so much that it's going to be my new couch quilt.  Once I get it back indoors!
Quilts and the great outdoors... love it!

I'm linking up with Thank Goodness it's Finished Friday at Riddle and Whimsy!


P.S. Big kudos to my quilt-y photo assistant, Miss K.V. She's always up for an adventure!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

WiP - Quilted Starburst, two Qs, and a Deer Start

It wasn't an official Q Squared Quilt Therapy session on Saturday, but there sure was a lot of quality time with two of the Q's. Three of us spent the morning with 138 Sparks (that's our youngest Branch of Canadian Girl Guides). There was singing, crafts, games, and lots of laughter! And these...
Edible campfires to teach the girlies how to build a proper campfire without burning any little fingers. But no quilting...that came later in the day! Q-A got a lesson in EPP - I have turned another to the hexie dark side! And Q-D was up to her usual fabric frenzy. I will state, once again, that I have never seen Q-D's stash in it's entirety. But I want to...

She also has paper piecing issues. This week, I introduced her to Wombat Quilts. She'll never run out of PP inspiration now!
As for me, after all the initial hubbub over Chezzetcook Modern Quilts' Library Project, I hadn't made too much progress on Deer in the Headlights for Young B. Time to get cutting!
This pattern doesn't use any trusty strip piecing. Just oodles of different sized strips. Okay, really it's 6 sizes of blue, brown, and black. But there are 194 of them! Organization is essential in the cutting process, especially when you're a little OCD! ☺
The original pattern called for solid black, but I (gasp!) opted for a variety of tone on tones. The green painter's tape is a trick I picked up from Pile o' Fabric's SkillBuilder BOM. It sticks better than Post-its and, apparently, it doesn't leave any residue.
Here are the blues and browns so far. Guess I should have read the yardage guidelines before I started cutting... oops. Now I've got some brown strips to use up. Some wise crackin' sewing pal said I should make two - one for Young B, one for Himself. I think not.
Turns out, the pattern calls for tonnes of blues! Again with the "should have read before starting." Even after I cut up all the blue prints I had bought, I was nowhere near done. Time to break out the Konas!
Until I get that envelope of US fabric from the Rents, this is as far as I can get in cutting. To keep things organized in the meantime, I find this plastic tray really useful for moving fabric from the cutting phase to sewing. It also allows me to put these aside until I can really get down to work.
Don't worry, there is an actual quilt in this post... I pulled the trigger on the Giant Starburst! After deliberating (and pestering all of you for opinions!), I decided on a thread colour.
MUST QUILT WITH ALL THE COLOURS!!! The Coal Kona got the coloured thread treatment and the Punch, Capri, Wasabi and Persimmon got the grey.  And yes, that is a kilometre of thread. It makes me smile to type that!
There were a few little bumps along the road. Thank goodness for Q-D's mathematical prowess. She is just so darned handy! As is that ergonomic seam ripper that Himself bought me a few Christmases ago!
 Stay tuned for a Finish post soon.... just gotta bind this little lovely!
 I'm linking up with Freshly Pieced for WiP Wednesday... but I bet you guessed that!
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Friday, January 24, 2014

Finished! - Alice in Woodsy-land

My first Finish up Friday of 2014! Alice in Woodsy-land!
This has now made it's way across the country to its new home in Calgary, I can fully reveal it to all of you! I blogged about it here already. As I've said before, I don't normally go for cutesy prints, but this one called to me. Knowing that little Miss Alice's nursery is decorated with animals gave me a little push!

It's quilted in lime green, orange, blue, and brown to match the Konas (Chartreuse, Kumquat, Capri, and Bison if you're marking your score card!) I can't really decide which of the animals I like best, but the hedgehog is definitely in the running!

Now that my machine's back in working order, I can do fun little things like this!
 And this!
More straight line quilting. Not super original on my part, but I wanted to break up the print blocks and emphasize the fussy cut animals.
 I even bought enough of the print to do the back... none left on that bolt!
 I especially love the scrappy binding - more Kona, of course!
Here's hoping Miss Alice and her parents like it as much as I do!


P.S. Please excuse the lighting in some of these pics. Though I did go outdoors, it was a grey Nova Scotian day!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Merry (bee-lated) Christmas to the Do-Bees!

I know, I know... you've finally recovered from Christmas and here I am bringing it up again! But I have a good reason! One of my Bees - the Dartmouth Do-Bees - has an annual Christmas get-together. Normally, it's held in December, but for the past two years, we've made things easier on ourselves and pushed it to January. Sorry, I couldn't invite you to out to supper, but I do get to let you in on a couple items that have been in the Quilting Project Protection Program. You never can tell who's out there reading what you put on the internets!

It wouldn't be a party without presents! Each bee member buys or makes a present with a value of roughly 5$. At the get-together, everyone goes home with 8 gifts (9 if they buy one for themselves!) There are often bee themed items, sewing notions, Christmas ornaments, or tasty eats. Practical or frivolous, what you buy is up to you. Here's a selection of some of the past presents that are still in use around my studio. Others have been used up (fabric!) or eaten (chocolate!) ☺
That little silver and aqua thing on a ribbon is a reducing glass made from a door peep hole... clever bee-mate!
This year, I made mini Origami bags from Amy Butler's Style Stitches. It's also the source for the infamous Cosmo Bag I made last summer. I've now made four projects from this book. Mind you, I've made the Origami bags a dozen times! For these little darlings, I cut into my stash of Keep Calm fabric. I love this fabric, but could never quite figure out what to do with it.
I couldn't resist using some Konas (Amethyst, Jade Green, Orange, Caardinal, and Bluejay... I think) as accent colours to make each bag unique.
Also on the unique front, the zippers are a variety of colours! It's fun coming up with different combinations. I can't even decide which one I like best, but the teal and orange ones are definitely in the running.
Fair warning - Amy Butler's patterns are not for the faint of heart. To be truthful, even thought it flies in the face of being prepared, I find it easier not to read them in advance. There are so many steps, but if you follow them, it all turns out in the end!
 They look so lovely together that I almost hate to break them up!
To finish these off, I tucked a in a few Clover Wonderclips. Thanks to Dominique over at The Running Thimble for letting me know that Michaels carries them. Can you say coupon? I knew you could!
This year, in addition to the gift exchange, we did a runner challenge. Everyone got the name of another Bee member in a random drawing and was tasked with making a runner that suited her style. Nerve-wracking, to be sure! I opted for my latest obession - EPP hexies!
I haven't been using many Balis lately, but I think the Bee-mate for whom I made this will like the saturated colours. She loves bright and art-y! I knew I couldn't pull off an art quilt runner, but bright I can do! Some of these Balis traveled all the way from Alaska. I do love buying fabric on vacation!
I thought about quilting it in all directions like I did my needle case, but two directions felt like enough. You can see my whipstitching in this pic, but I'm not concerned. I mean, I'm still learning, right?
And here's the lovely runner made for me by Mrs. G. She's a pretty traditional quilter, but she went outside her comfort zone by making wonky cross blocks for my runner. It was her first ever layer cake purchase and she chose the red to go with the accents in my kitchen/dining room. Thanks, Mrs. G!
And thanks to all my lovely bee ladies for their fun and thoughtful gifts! I know the chocolate won't last, but the memories of our evening out will!
 Good night all!


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

WiP and ANOTHER snow day!

I think the apocalypse is near. My school has cancelled twice this winter for snow! This never, ever... did I mention never?... happens! So I get a bonus day of relaxing and sewing! I've been working on some pillows for the living room. I finished one on the week-end, but only had center block of the second one done. This paper pieced star let me use up the extra bits I cut for the EPP pillow!
It's free pattern from Craftsy. Thank goodness Q-D has her Craftsy account tied to FaceBook or I'd have forgotten all about this little lovely!
I quilted the living daylights out of this one. Through each point of the stars and then echo quilting in the cream areas. The narrow Paprika border almost matches our barstools.
And done! All ready for me to curl up with a mug of hot chocolate and my Kindle!
 Doesn't it look nice with it's pillow pal? Now I'm plotting covers for the other two pillows in the room!
And, in an effort to cross something off my WiP list, I quilted another version of this project from back in the summer. My HST method gave me doubles! On the first version, I quilted in the ditch, but this time, I opted for something to really emphasize the chevrons formed by the HSTs. I like it so much better.... I might even re-quilt the original.
I used Chartreuse as the backing and Cactus as the binding. There's a certain friend who loves these shades and has a birthday in a couple months. Never hurts to be prepared! How Girl Guide of me!
The WiP I really wanted to be working on was this...
But I'm so stumped on how to quilt it. I was thinking about echo quilting the inner star and doing chevrons within the coloured bits. But what colour thread?
I've been testing... charcoal, capri, wasabi, orange. The lovely backing I've chosen in a white and aqua chevron doesn't make my decision any easier. Thoughts? If so, please share.

I know not everyone gets a snow day, but I hope you made it a sew day!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
P.S. I'm linking up with Freshly Pieced for WiP Thursday. Don't ask... just check it out.