Saturday, May 31, 2014

I'm so excited...

And I just can't hide it! I'm about to do my first blog hop and I hope I like it!!!

Plum and June Blog Hop for new Modern Quilters 
It's going to be a doozy! There are so many blogs participating that my head is sort of spinning! I'm not on deck until July 16th, but there will be lots of cool blogs to check out starting June 4th.  If you don't follow Plum and June, you should. You'll be in on the hub of the blog hop and not miss a single day of new quilt blogs!


Friday, May 30, 2014

Friday Finish - Oh Deer!

What, two finishes in as many weeks? I know, I know, the world's gone mad! But honestly, people, this one's been done for a long time. I've just been having some troubles getting it photographed! Thanks to a  recent Sew Day my troubles were over! (Thanks for being my photo assistant, Ade!) This coming week-end, this kitschy deer is headed for it's new home with Young B. Unless he's taken to reading quilt blogs (doubtful. very doubtful), I don't think I'll ruin any surprises by posting a little early! **UPDATE** No spoiler alert was required for this post. Young B just picked up his quilt and loves it!
And here it is upright! And without Ade's charming puppy, Charlie, or rambunctious cats, Orangey and Penny, who all wanted in on the pics at some point!
For the backing, I was inspired to use up the brown strips that I had (overzealously) cut when preparing the pieces for the top. I opted to turn my recent obsession with endless strip quilts on its ear (okay, its side really...). I could get used to this whole strip quilt thing.
More original quilting on my part! Some suggested an all over free motion pattern, but I really liked how the diagonal quilting looked on the original quilt, so I went with it. I did narrow (my presser foot) and wide (about an inch and a half) spacing.
You can read all about this quilt's creation here, here, here, and here. It was my first choice in Chezzetcook Modern Quilts' Library Project QAL. One down, three to go!
The binding on this one is a wild geometric that I wasn't 100% sure of in the quilt top... but as the binding (i.e. in a very small dose), it works nicely!
 I couldn't resist a shot of this deer lurking in the woods!
Nor could I resist a totally gratuitous, non-quilty shot of Ade's mini meadow in her backyard. Wish the non-grassy things in my lawn were this lovely!

I am so pleased to finally send this quilt on it's new home. That's when it's really finished for me!


P.S. I'm linking up with TGIFF over at Ms. Midge!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Sew Ins - the best part of the week!

I know, I know... many of you may feel like the best part of the week is Friday night with a glass of wine. Not for this quilty gal. I love a Sew In!

Last week-end, I headed out to Adrienne's (from Chezzetcook Modern Quilts) to get down to business our Sewing Circle Totes. I had my bags sides and ends all ready to go, complete with straps. Phew... those were tough to sew on. Can you believe this is Step 38 (of 89)?
Things are really starting take shape... I wrestled the bag exterior into my machine. I still wonder exactly how I achieved that.
Ta da! So satisfying to reach a step like this one where it actually looks like something! Please note the obligatory movie/TV show playing in the background. Some things never change!
But now... the pockets. There are many! Three feature a zip pocket with a elastic pocket overlay. At least I didn't break any needles on these parts. I did have to talk Ade down off the "Oh God! A Zipper!" ledge a couple times, but she did beautifully!
 Side pockets.... check. Whheee..... Step 75!
 Complete with elastic pocket add on! I think I'll be able to stuff a lot in those pockets!
And then the wheels fell off the wagon. I discovered that I was missing two pieces of fabric for the side pockets. Did I bring the extra fabric with me? Nope. We already spent 4 hours cutting things out last time. I didn't need it. Famous last words. So, whilst Ade finished her bag, I packed up to go home. I couldn't resist packing all my crap in the unfinished exterior. This thing is behemoth!
I had to stop at the beach to console myself... so sad not to have finished when I was so close. Too cold, even for the surfers!
But I had to finish that bag before the next Sew In! No more Sobey's bags for me! First up, those pesky pockets. I opted for the orange print for the ones I didn't finish with Ade. I love how it looks with the Kona Caribean.
Without Ade to remind me, I didn't take many pics of this session. Suffice it to say, there were more broken needles and moments of wondering if my poor little Pfaff was going to make it out of this project alive! But then I found myself on Step 88...
And Step 89 - "Enjoy your finished bag!" Not to worry, Ms. Hartman, I shall! Though this bag was time-consuming, the instructions in the pattern were excellent with photos for every step along the way. Even for "basic skills" like putting in a zipper or gathering elastic, things were spelled out carefully but concisely. I think the pattern would be do-able for most sewists, so long as you're willing to follow things step by step! I wouldn't hesitate to spend the 10 to 15$ price tag for another pattern from this designer.
With my finished bag on my shoulder, I headed out to this week-end's fun - our monthly Sew In with the gang from Maritime Modern Quilt Guild. There were lots of new people there - so exciting. I think we're up to a whopping 17 members. We are small, but we are mighty!

I have to admit, I didn't get much sewing done... but it sure was nice to hang out with some like-minded individuals and soak up the sewing ambiance. I did revive this little gem that's been hanging out on my WiP/Orphan shelf.
Sochi Diamonds... it's been a while! This was my EPP stress reducer during those heady days of Olympics overload.  It's been layered and ready to quilt for a while, so why not?
I know, I know. More straight line quilting... but I wanted the quilting to create more diamonds. Do you see them in there? All that remains is to trim and bind it.

I also made some decisions about this...
Well... maybe... you'll just have to wait and see to be sure.

Sew Ins.... definitely in my top ten best ways to spend a day!


Friday, May 23, 2014

Friday Finish! - Houndstooth for Isaac!

Can I just say... I love a finish! And there haven't been so many of them lately, so I love this one even more!  It's Houndstooth for Isaac, the newest addition to our extended family.
That's Kona Steel and Kona White playing so nicely together in this top. You can read all about this quilt's early days in this post. Isaac's mama fell in love with this pattern, so it was meant to be. Most people though this quilt was a lot bigger than it is... it's just regular 'ole baby sized (42 by 60 inches-ish). Those solid blocks are just over 3 inches square!
Honestly, though I love a good batch of Kona solids, the thing that probably makes me smile most about this quilt is the backing! It's from Fox and the Houndstooth by Robert Kaufman. Can anyone resist a fox with a houndstooth bow-tie? Not I, to be sure. For the quilting, I went with my old standby - diagonal lines - in aqua. It just seemed to work with this straightforward quilt top.
There was a great deal of discussion on my last week's post about the two options for binding. I agree with all of you! The Kona Poppy was awesome, and if it had been staying at my house, you'd be seeing some different pics here! But the Kona Robin Egg is a favourite colour of Isaac's mama (it matches her KitchenAid mixer!), so it just seemed right for this one!
Psst... don't you just love that quilt label? I know, I know, I'm shameless. But that little tag resulted in my first hashtagged Instagram pic (#quarterinchfromtheedgequilts). If you'd like to see Baby Isaac smilin' away and lounging on his quilt, give it a shot! I'm not on Instagram (yet), but it made me smile nonetheless.

So happy to add another quilty to this special little family's collection!


P.S. Woot! I finally have a Friday Finish again - I'm linking up with Georgia Girl Quilts for TGIFF!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Free Motion Marathon

Whilst other quilty pals get in their last minute preparations for tomorrow's Bluenose Marathon, I've got a marathon of my own going in my studio. I'm getting caught up on my Skillbuilder BOM blocks. While I've managed to keep the piecing portion of these pretty much on track, the quilting... well, not so much!

First up, January's Spool block. I started quilting it back when I did the Ruler block, but my FMQ mojo was off that day. I kept getting long or skipping stitches. I re-threaded, I took a break, I all but prayed to the FMQ goddess. Ultimately, it was to no avail... so I walked away. So much so, that when I went to work on it today, I had forgotten how much I had done already and where I had stored it! Fifteen minutes of studio searching later, I was back at the the machine.
This time,  no troubles at all. The recommended swirls with the occasional bit of pebbling thrown in worked like a charm! There's my handy hint for this post: when you're not feeling it, you just can't FMQ. You've got to be in the zone. Don't force it... you'll only get more and more frustrated.
When FMQ is workin' for me, I don't dare stop! On to the February Machine Stitches block. For this one, the instructor kept things simple and stuck to some back and forth filler stitches and some loop-de-loops in the sashing. Fine by me!
I really enjoyed doing the loop-de-loops (my very technical term). Gotta remember that when I'm struggling to figure out how to quilt a future project!
The March's Chevron Star and Churn Dash block didn't have any new techniques. I really like the idea of starting off by straight stitching 1inch columns and filling them in. And the quilting the background of each of the mini-blocks really makes them stand out.
And then came the real skill building for today! The instructor used wood grain to fill in the background of April's Scrap Jar block. I baulked a little, but I've made a commitment to myself that I will quilt each and every block as recommended. If I'm going to build skills, I can't wuss out! ☺ Here's my sample...
Not too shabby! Enough practicing! On to the main event! This pattern is a foundation pattern (a new term for me). You stitch all of certain portions of the pattern (in this case, the knots in the wood) and fill in the rest later. Here's my foundation wood knots...
And all finished with echo quilted wavy lines to really make it look like wood grain. I'm pretty pleased to add this one to the FMQ arsenal (it's a small arsenal... stippling, pebbling, random swirlies).
Four episodes of Downton Abbey and a lot of thread later and I'm pretty much up to date. I have just have  April's Pin Cushion block left to quilt and it needs a little hand embroidery before I can jump in.

Free motion quilting wasn't on my original task list for this week-end, but when it feels right, you just have to go with it! Also undertaken today - the binding on little Isaac's quilt. It just needs some handstitching this evening during TV time. Stay tuned for a reveal tomorrow. I know you're waiting with bated breath to see whether I went with Poppy or Robin Egg!

And tomorrow, I'm off for a Sew Day to (fingers crossed) finish Ade & I's Sewing Circle Totes. Three cheers for long week-ends (especially when Himself is off judo-ing!)!!


Friday, May 16, 2014

The Library Project - True Confessions Edition

Okay, quilty people. Here it is. This month, I have made zero progress on my Library Project quilts. And I do mean zero. I think at one point I knocked the quilt off the rack (where it has been lying abandonned) and subsequently picked it up off the floor.


But really, there are times when life just gets too busy/complicated and sewing and/or blogging falls by the wayside. A couple months ago, I decided to re-vamp my Library Project list to include some projects that I felt had more of a purpose. That said, the Library Project WiP that I have on the go isn't "due" until Christmas, so I'm not feeling that pressure/dread of having no present that gets me motivated. The small amount of sewing I have been managing is more deadline oriented! See example ☺

So here is my pledge... this sunny long week-end, I will get my butt in gear. I have already made plans for a quilty photoshoot for my first Library Project, Oh Deer!. It's been finished forever but can't go on to its proper home until I've photographed it!

I have also decided that I will not start my new project (about which I am très excited) until I have at least sewn the borders on my second Library Project, Good Old Hockey Game. I may even start on the machine appliqué since my recent adventures with that technique have been pretty successful.

But that's not all! I have also booked a Sew Day with Adrienne, the creator of this blasted/motivating Library Project, to finish our Sewing Circle Totes. It's not a Library Project since the pattern is from Ade's treasure trove, but it needs finishing!

There. I feel better already. Sometimes you just need a plan. I'm linking this shamefully unproductive post (heck, it doesn't even have any new photos!) up with The Library Project @ Chezzetcook Modern Quilts.
With any luck, this month, we'll see posts from some quilters/bloggers who have fallen of the wagon like me! It's not too late... it's only May! ☺ Maybe I'll even manage a second, productive post before the Link Up closes... who knows?!


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

WiP Wednesday - Deadline approaching!

Well, it's not like I didn't have 9 months or so to get myself together and make a baby quilt for the newest addition to my extended family, but now I'm scrambling just a little. His welcome party is on Monday and I've gotta get movin'!

Thankfully, the order from Hawthorne Threads that I crowed about last week was all washed and mostly ironed, so could layer the quilt on the week-end. Apparently, there's been some rumblings out there about spray basting... I love using it for small projects like mini quilts, placemats, and baby quilts. I'm still a dedicated safety pinner for bigger stuff... what's your poison? Ever had any issues with spray baste? It's always worked perfectly for me...
On to the quilting... and the dorky gloves. I went with a thread that matches the aqua in the backing perfectly. I didn't want the quilting to stand out a great deal, but I did want to emphasize the diagonal trend in the top. You can see better pics of the finished top here!
The quilting went so quickly on this one! Before I really even got into my quilting grove, I was done! I'm pretty pleased with myself that I remembered to topstitch my quilt label onto the backing. I don't like for the stitching to show on the top, so I pin the top out of the way and only stitch through the batting and backing. The trick is that I have to remember to do it before the project is fully quilted! ☺

Now to choose the binding... we're not talking majority rule, dear readers. But I would love to hear your opinions!

Option 1: Kona Poppy - it really pops, but I'm worried it will be too much with the grey and white top. It's already pretty stark.
Option 2: Kona Robin Egg. It blends pretty perfectly with the backing and matches the stitching on the top. Where this is a quilt for a little boy-o, there's no issue with blue! 
Who knows - I might even have this one done for a Friday Finish! It's been a while since one of those! ☺

I'm linking up with WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced, as well as The Needle and Thread Network!

Have a great Wednesday... and wishing the happiest of birthdays to my fabulous quilt-y pal, Adrienne!


Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Tuesday Stash!

It's not Sunday, but I'm stash sharing anywho! I love it when an overstuffed squishy envelope arrives in my mailbox! It's like Christmas, and birthdays, and well, you get the idea. So much so that I just couldn't wait to share these treasures with you. I couldn't even wait for better light... excuse the watery yellow evening glow! ☺

First off, some little red foxes - Fox and the Houndstooth to be exact! It's destined to to be the backing that livens up this recent project. It'll be quilted in aqua thread and a bordered with solid red. How's that for a pop of colour?
And as if this fabric couldn't get any better... check out that selvage! Bow ties! Oh, Robert Kaufman. You know how to make a selvage junkie smile!
And once that practical (nothing says practical like foxes with monocles) purchase was made, I went a little wild! These matryoshka dolls were just too lovely to pass up. And their selvage is not too shabby either!
Himself rarely chimes in on fabric purchases, but when I showed him Ribs and Bibs, he actually requested a BBQ apron. That's right, my husband wants an apron. A manly apron, of course!
One item that never fails to please from Hawthorne Threads is their Scrap Pack. I've ordered the "Fresh" version three times now and have received some real treasures. Maybe on my next order, I'll branch out into the "Warm" or "Cool" packs. All this loveliness for $6.99. What a steal!
And then there's this... destined to be the feature print of two very special upcoming quilts. I couldn't resist Wild by Wee Gallery. I love a print with unusual animals and I think it will pair nicely with my beloved Kona solids.
 Who can say no to a fabric featuring narwhals? Not me, that's for sure!
 And I didn't even see these little critters in the preview pics! Hedgehogs... it's meant to be.
 Thanks for coming on my gushy, overexcited tour of today's mailbox treasures!