Wednesday, February 26, 2014

WiP - Would Deer-ly love to finish this one...

True confessions time (again). I am in a deep post Olympic slump. The high of Canada's Double Double (that's gold in Men's and Women's Curling and Hockey) has faded. Everything seems a little less... sigh... well, Olympic. I've been consoling myself with quilting, but it's tough sledding.

My indecision caused a hold-up on the quilting of  Young B's Oh Deer.  I went for straight(ish) quilting on the diagonal. I like that one has to look a little for the deer and I opted to maintain that feeling.
And yes, that is Season 3 of Sherlock playing away in the background. At that juncture, Sherlock was "clue-ing for looks." Ever since Adrienne and I's movie viewing quilting days together, I can't break the habit. It's like pre-washing or chain-piecing. Just something I've always done! On to the binding!
In this pic, you can see that I varied the distance between my diagonal lines. I used my presser foot width for the narrow sections and that handy spacing gizmo for the larger ones (they're 1½ inches if you're taking notes). Now on to I'm hand-stitching the binding using my trusty Wonderclips.
Remember my recent Kona strip quilt obsession? It's baaaaackkk!
That's Camelia, Punch, and Pomegranate on the left. And Pearl Pink, Baby Pink, Peony, and Melon on the right - mark your colour cards! I had some leftovers from a Sew Sisters Kona of the Month collection as well as Miss C's baby quilt. And I might have purchased a little to round things out.It's almost enough to make me like pink, but never as much as Miss N from the Do-Bees! ☺
The contrasting "pops" I usually do are Kona White this time. They blend a little, but I think it's still good. In a break with tradition, I've decided to back this one with a print that's been hanging around in my stash for a dog's age. Time to use it or lose it!

I'm linking up with Freshly Pieced for WiP Wednesday  and the Canadian Needle and Thread Network. What else will I get up to today? For one, a haircut and new colour. After that, who knows what might happen!


Psst.... you still have time to pop over to this post and get your name in for my 2nd giveaway of all time! Only a few hours left!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Olympic stress levels... and a giveaway!

As I write, most of Canada is holding their breath and sending positive vibes across the oceans to Sochi, Russia. I'm not even a big hockey fan and I'm up early on a Sunday morning to watch our boys in the Gold Medal game! What am I using to keep the nerves at bay? Why EPP, of course!
I've been plugging away at these throughout the Olympics... though I must say that the stress of the Women's Curling and Hockey gold medal games saw me adding a lot of diamonds. Frantic stitching offers some distraction!
 It was so lovely in the studio this morning that I couldn't resist this sunny money shot!
Quatchi and I have planted ourselves on the couch in front of the TV, just where we were when Sid the Kid scored the Golden Goal four years ago in Vancouver. Not that we're superstitious. He likes the blue diamonds best.... they match his earmuffs!
After seeing all these pics, are you leaning toward something rainbow-y or bright? Keep reading!
You know those fabulous Kona fat quarter collections that arrive in my mailbox monthly? Well, the shop behind all that fun is having a big deal of a sale coming up. It's Fat Quarter Frenzy at Sew Sisters!
Carol over at Sew Sisters stumbled onto me during Blogathon Canada (huge shout out to Adrienne at Cheezzetcook Modern Quilts for that hook-up!) and has asked if I'd host a giveaway. Would I?!!! You betcha!

So here's what you might win...
It's bundle of 5 Bright Fat Quarters. And because those Sew Sisters are just so nice, the giveaway is open to international participants as well.  The giveaway starts NOW!!! and is open until Wednesday, February 26th at 8 pm AST. Talk about a nice way to finish off the Month of the Dark Lord! The giveaway is now closed.

To enter, just leave me a comment telling me your favourite fabric over at Sew Sisters. There's certainly lots to choose from. You might even want to consider following their blog so you don't have to rely on me to let you know when there's a sale on. Just sayin'... And if you're one of my followers on Bloglovin' or by e-mail, leave me a separate comment to let me know and you'll get a second crack at the giveaway!

Okay people... fingers crossed - for the giveaway and for an Olympic Double Double! That'd be Gold in Men's and Women's Curling AND Hockey!

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Library Project - Month of the Dark Lord Edition

It's hard to believe it's been a month since the first TLP link-up! I've been making lots of progress on the first of my selections - Quilt in the Headlights from Boo Davis' Dare to be Square. I've blogged about it here and here. It's all layered and ready to go, but I'm a little stumped... how to quilt it?Option #1 - Free motion quilt the background to make the deer pop (I worry about the durability of FMQ)
Option #2 - Straight line quilting on the diagonal as shown in the book (I love diagonal quilting!)
Thoughts, dear reader?
And as if the quilting conundrum wasn't enough, I had a hell of a time moving on to my next selection. This happens to me with "special" fabrics or projects. I get all hung up on my choice because I know it's going to be something I'll want to keep and treasure. When it's a quick quilt from my stash or a present for someone else, the decisions seem to come much more easily. And I don't think I can justify a fourth couch quilt in the TV room! 

The three books from which I need to make a choice have been living on my coffee table throughout the Olympics... which means I've been looking at them a lot! More later on those EPP Sochi Diamonds that photobombed this shot!
So I shuffled them. Literally, closed my eyes and shuffled them with the idea in mind that whichever book came up on top would provide my next project! And the winner is...
One would think I was trying to wear this book out with the number of times I've flipped its pages! But I've finally settled on a decision. It's...
Ladders!  All the quilts in this book are designed by different modern quilters and this one's an Elizabeth Hartman special. I am so drawn to her work - as evidenced by the fact that one of my other TLP books is Modern Patchwork! Compared to other quilts in this book, Ladders might not be too tough to expand to a larger size along the way.
While I'm tempted by the earth tones in the original quilt (the living room might need a quilt one day..), I'm leaning toward Kona blues with the ladders themselves in Kona white. Blue and white are just so crisp... makes me think of fresh snow and blue bird skies.
And I might have a few blues in my Kona stash already!

As I'm sure you've guessed, I'm linking up with Adrienne over at Chezzetcook Modern Quilts for this month's check in! If you're not already on the Library Project bandwagon, it's not too late. I heard a rumour there will be prizes! ☺

Hope you're making progress on your projects! Can't wait to read all about it!


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

WiP - Buildin' some Skills!

There wasn't tonnes of time spent at the machine this week, but I did make some time to take on this month's block for Pile O Fabric's Skill Builder 2014 - Machine Stitches. And these stitches are tiny! Yikes! There are numerous strips that are 1 inch, 1.5 inches, and even 1.75 inches. So I delved into the wild and crazy world of starching!
The starching did make it easier to cut the fabrics. They felt a little stiffer (no shock there) and things just seemed more exact. When it came time to piece, it also helped with exactitude! I don't know if I'm sold yet, but I'll continue for the Skill Builder at least!
Here's the first slice of these (not wonky) asterisk blocks.
And finished and trimmed up. They're just 3.5 inches square! Once I put them all together, I discovered that I had been a little too scant on my quarter inch seam allowance. Instead of being 18.5 inches in length, it was more like 19.5. Oh, improv piecing, how I miss you!
I got so caught up in the making the other two series of stitches that I forgot to take pictures. Oops! I did remember to snap a pic of the finished block. I upload these to the closed Course Platform to earn points... I even get feedback from the instructor. Cool, huh?
I feel good about having my block all done and am already looking forward to the next lesson - quilting this bad boy!

After all that precise piecing, I felt the urge to make something a little more free form! Enter this little tutorial for a boxy bag I pinned last week. I've loved these fabrics ever since I used them for a quiltie for Little Cousin S.
I over-ordered (that's what I get for following the pattern) and had enough to make an entire other baby quilt during this summer's HST frenzy!
I decided to use some of my new Glimma fabric as the lining. What's the point of buying fabric if you're not going to use it?
The tutorial calls for a standard quilt sandwich, but I opted to make a pieced exterior. I also went for a bigger sandwich - 9 by 11 inches instead of 8 by 10. And I decided to use QAYG! Talk about mixing it up!
Sometimes not planning has its downfalls. I quilted myself into a corner and ended up having three big strips along one side to cover the desired area. Oh well.
Another change I made to the tutorial was to add caps on the ends of the zippers. I first discovered them in this iPad case tutorial from Fresh Lemons and have found them to be an easy way to have a tidy zipper ends.
 Now it's starting to look like something...well, maybe.
This is probably my favourite part of making bags. Those little rows of stitches that make boxed corners. The original tutorial doesn't give a measurement for where to put the blue line, but I went for 1 inch.
 And here it is!
Cute, huh? I think I'll make my linings a little more exciting on future bags. I have some awfully fun hedgehog fabric hanging out it the stash! It was such a quick little thing to whip up. Make as many as you want in whatever size makes you happy - I'm going for a bigger one next time!
As per usual on a Wednesday, I'm linking up with Freshly Pieced and testing out the link up at the (Canadian!) Needle and Thread Network.


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sunday Stash #2 - The one with low volume (and a winner)!

I opted out of Sunday Stash last week... I mean if Molli Sparkles is on vacay, it just seems a little lacklustre! But this week... I'm baaaack (and so is he)! 
Last week, These came into my stash and went right on out... they're already sewn into Young B's Oh Deer quilt top! And shockingly, I bought such a small cut (just 0.2m or 8 inches for you imperial measurers out there) that I don't even have enough selvage to tell you a danged thing about them!
I do have a little more info on these! On the left, Dot in silver and white by Timeless Treasures and, on the right, Masquerade V by Fresh Designs for Henry Glass. These are what pass for low volume at my LQS. More on low volume a little later...
Now what's this?
That's not fabric, you say? True dat. But it did come into my sewing world last week! And it was such an out there purchase for me that I thought it merited a mention! I blame it all on the Skill Builder BOM over at Pile of Fabric. She's a starcher. God help me. I'm going to starch fabric. Because washing, drying, and ironing it wasn't enough work.

This week, I decided to treat myself to some fabric-y birthday presents from Canadian on-line shop, Mad About Patchwork. I was a bit practical in that I ordered the SunPrint Text needed for the setting triangles on my Toes in the Sand quilt. I could happily order every colour of this!
Also on the practical side, I picked up a few red and blue prints with this hockey quilt in mind. Who could that possibly be for? Not someone's hockey lovin' nephew, J-boy! ☺ That's Pearl Bracelet in Anchor, Remix Ovals in Red, and Oval Elements in Sapphire. 
Then came the impulse buys! This glorious FQ bundle of Michael Miller's Domino Dot. Love, love, love! That purple-y fabric may be my 2014 Pantone Quilt Challenge inspiration! I better get my butt in gear on that one!
I had to take Dominique (from the Running Thimble)'s advice and order a low volume stash builder  It's all her fault... she made these and these. Enough said. There's all sorts of goodies in there: (from top to bottom) Stitch Squares in Sea, Pearl Bracelet in Glacier, Botanics Leaves in Curry, Botanics Graph Paper Garden in Curry, La Creme Swiss Dots in Red, Minimalista Prisma Noir, White On White Basics Medium Dot, and Sun Print Text in Mulberry. Mmmm... Sun Print. Mmmmm.... Pearl Bracelet. So powerless to resist...

I'm linking up with Sunday Stash over at Molli Sparkles. If you're not reading his blog (yes, I said his) blog, you're missing out!

And the winner of the birthday giveaway is.... Cattherine from Knotted Cotton. She said "Everything looks great - and your pebble quilting is enviable:-) No I couldn't spot an error!" And no, I didn't choose her because she loves my pebble quilting! I used a random number generator. Honest!


Friday, February 14, 2014

Bee-ing on time!

No big finish for me this Friday, but there was definitely a lot of sewing going on! Sometimes those monthly Bee blocks sneak up on me. I mean, it's the middle of the month! Better get to work! First up, Global Scrap Bee. Aylin over at Aylin-Nilya decided on this block. She was looking for low volume prints. This trend is a new one to my stash. I wasn't sure I had much. Here's what I found...
 And limes and teals. I've got lots of those!
And here they are! Since these were quick to do, I threw in a couple extras. I also wanted to make sure there were enough if she decided that that button fabric isn't low volume enough.
It's a simple, effective block and went together very quickly. I would have loved to do these strip pieced, but when you're only making four it hardly seems worth it. Have I mentioned that the worst part of being in all these bees is that you want to make a full quilt of every danged block you make?

For ModQImprovB Canada (sorry, no Flickr pool for this one!), the block of choice this month was Bottled Rainbows. I'd be lying if I said this one didn't scare me. There's appliqué in there. Yikes! But after the torture I inflicted on my bee-mates with the now infamous improv herringbone. My assigned colour was grey... not so rainbow-y. But I did have some in the stash to work with, so it was all good.
My goal was not to repeat any of the fabrics... I don't know why. I couldn't resist sneaking in that little camera print in the upper right hand corner. And there are THREE different Kona solids! ☺ Here is all glued (yes, I said glued) in place. My first time using a glue stick whilst quilting!
I thought about fussy cutting one of these rectangles from the Keep Calm fabric, but thought the recipient might not really appreciate that!
And here it is all stitched down. I am, well, not 100% happy with this block. I'm not at all comfortable with machine appliqué... guess it's good to push one's limits! The grey pieces frayed when I stitched them and the zigzag puckered up a bit. The original version is QAYG, and I think it might have worked a little better.
I hope this month's Queen Bee doesn't think it sub par, but I'd understand if she did! I'm embracing imperfection... it's in the mail already!


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

WiP - A herd of projects on the go... and a little surprise!

I'm pleased to say it's been a busy quilting week - even with the ridiculous amount of Olympic coverage I've been watching. Thank goodness for live streaming on CBC! If you're dedicated enough to read this entire post, there might be something in it for you!
Much progress has been made on Young B's Oh Deer quilt. Last week, I finished the blocks. I was just having so much fun seeing it coming together that I couldn't stop. I so need a permanent design wall... it's so much more effective than the design floor!
 And all sewn together... chillin' on the clothesline!
When I was cutting the brown strips, I got a little overzealous. All that stuff on the left wasn't needed for the quilt top... yikes!
I don't use much of brown anymore, so I was concerned about having all those strips hanging out in the stash. An idea was born - why not a pieced back? I opted to use the never-ending strip technique that I've fallen in love with lately. It's not the best pic, but it's -24C with windchill today! So cold that my camera battery decided it was done!
Pieced backs are so great, if I do say so myself! I have a tendency to hoard fabric left from special projects (aren't they all special?), but pieced backs have me using them for a good purpose. It also means I don't have to spend as much on yardage for the back. Win-win!

Also this week, I finished basting most of my Olympic Diamonds and got to piecing. Quatchi, Sumi, & Miga tried to take credit, but they don't even have thumbs... how could they possibly stitch all those together?! It is nice to have their company while I overdose on luge, ski jumping, and half-pipe competitions.
I also spent some time this week quilting my Skill Builder BOM Ruler block. I have another lesson coming soon, so I wanted to be up to date. Still have the Spool block to quilt, but I'm making progress! First up, I bought a pile of thread...
Then used it to follow the quilting instructions to the letter - I can take no credit for creativity! I do love to pebble!
Then the numbers... I printed them onto full page labels, cut 'em out, stuck 'em on, and quilted around them.
 Next up, wavy lines to fill the yellow. I managed to stop and start very little.
And here it is all finished... out in the snow. Don't worry. It was only there for a moment! But, here's the burning question - can you spot the error? It's okay if you can't... the designer and her two testers didn't catch it before the block went live!
Phew! That's a lot of quilting... and there's some I saved for another day! I did promise you a surprise, didn't I? Well, today is.... gulp... my birthday. Generally, I keep that a secret (something about not liking it when children sing AT me!). But this year, I'm switching it up. In honour of my birthday ☺, you might get a present. Remember these?
If you're observant, you might notice that I made ten of those when I needed only nine for my Bee mates. Leave me a comment telling me what you'd put in it and you might win my first ever giveaway! If you're a no-reply blogger, don't forget to leave me an e-mail address so I can track you down! Giveaway closes on Saturday, February 15th at 8pm Atlantic Standard Time!  Giveaway is now closed. :(

Happy birthday to me!

P.S. AND I'm linking up with Freshly Pieced's WiP Wednesday!