Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Snowy Quilting Day

What to do on a cold and snowy day? Stay home and sew of course! And long for the warmer weather now gone - but that's another story!

I've planned a completely scrappy quilt for ages, and I even spent time at a retreat last year sewing strips into long rows with the idea of making one of the quilts in Sunday Morning Quilts (one of my favourite books!).

I got all those strips out and looked them over, but I really wasn't feeling it. It seemed like it was going to be too dark and chaotic. Then I saw Cathy's quilt at the Blogger's Quilt Festival in the Scrappy category, and bingo! That's the one!
Cathy blogs at Blueberry Patch, and I always love her quilts. this one is Scrappy Crossroads.

By great good luck I have the book with the pattern, it is Modern Bee by Lindsay Conner.

Two days later and I have made 7 blocks, the first row. Only another 49 blocks to go! When I see how much of a dent I've already made in my pile of strips, I can only imagine how many more scraps I'm going to be digging out!

When sewing my original strips I had limited myself to red, pink, turquoise, grey, and white.
I'm going to stick with those colours, it seems like plenty, though I'd dearly like to work in some small pieces of purple here and there. We shall see!

Linking to Scraptastic Tuesday at She Can Quilt
                  Sew Cute Tuesday   at Blossom Heart Quilts
                  Show and Tell Tuesday at Fresh Squeezed Fabrics


Till next time,


Monday, November 10, 2014

Double Crossed and a longarming problem

I went to a retreat at the beginning of September, and decided to start a quilt I had been planning for over a year.  The pattern is Double Crossed by Amy Smart who blogs at Diary of a Quilter. I had long ago bought and stacked the fabrics I hoped to use for this project.

Then I had second thoughts: should I use a different pattern?  Several attractive patterns came to mind. Should I change out some of the fabrics? Finally I decided to go with my original plan and packed it all with me.

Here is the finished quilt:

Along the way I added a light grey, another dark turquoise, and that salmon colour that is from the new Zen Chic line. Opinion at the retreat was divided on that fabric, but I'm glad I put it in.

After arriving home I made enough more squares to put the top together, pieced the back and got it ready for the longarmer, since the top was now about 86" x 94".

Here's my back, completely directional, and with my pieced blocks inserted.

A closeup of the fabrics, the sashing is actually a pretty dot, not plain white.

And here's what went wrong at the longarmer. She placed the length of the top across the width of the backing.

It's taken me at least a week to put things right again, to the point that I'm happy with it again. I had added unrelated fabric strips on both sides of the back that were planned to be cut off again as they were within the 4" extra each side. They were now quilted in and part of the quilt. I had to sew on strips to cover those pieces and quilt over it again. The quilt front was placed right at the bottom of the backing, and in places came down further than the backing. I didn't want to trim my blocks, so I added a thin strip on the bottom of the back to cover the shortfall. Worst of all, there was a large piece of unused backing at the top. If I cut it off, the quilt would be very wide and too short. I would also be cutting off most of a block of my pieced back. So I made more blocks for the front. 13 more blocks in case you are wondering. I also put a 6 " strip of patterned fabric at the very top since I didn't have enough variety of fabrics to make another row of 13 blocks. I also had to join more batting. And then I quilted it all.

Finally I was able to trim and bind it all and see how it turned out:
Well, the quilt is now bigger than I planned, but a comfortable size for a queen size bed. Even for a king: one of my daughters has put in a request for it.

My quilting was all on the edges, so not too much of a pain, and it blends in quite well.

I wish I didn't have a top border, when there are no other borders, but folding the top down covers that, and I love looking at a bit of my back anyway.

The extra I added to the back at the bottom can be seen if you are looking closely, but really, do I?

Lesson learned - no more cheaping out with an inexperienced longarmer. I'm booked to take a class, and from now on I hope to do all my quilting myself. Smaller things were already done on my home machine. Larger quilts will be done by me by renting time on a long arm. And any future quilt disasters will be my responsibility and no one else's!

Linking to: TGIFF at Quilt Matters
                   Link a Finish Friday at Richard and Tanya Quilts

Till next time


Quilty Doings - Charm Pack Cherry

After I saw the Charm Pack Cherry free pattern from Fat Quarter Shop, I wanted to try it out for a lap quilt for myself.

The fabric I used is Color Me Happy by V. and Co. The pattern makes a lap quilt sized 52"x54", and uses two print charm packs, and two solid charm packs. As usual I wanted a larger quilt, so I used three charm packs and white Kona yardage and made a quilt sized 64"x74".

The pattern is a variation on the Disappearing Nine Patch. There are two blocks, one has 4 background squares out of 9, and the other has 5 background squares out of 9. They are then cut, reassembled and put together according to instructions. You have to pay attention a bit, but all went smoothly.

 The back is handprinted fabric I bought in India. I'm glad to have it out and in use.

It's a border print, soft and pretty. It would have made a nice blouse too, too bad I didn't buy more!

 Here is a closeup of my quilting. I intended to do clamshells, but because of the size of the squares I ended up with jujubes instead! It's alright, I like it this way!

Quilty doings, I Spy

I have a lot of time to report about, since my last post was my zig-zag quilt, seen here.

Over the summer, I determined to make 3 charity quilts. They are not small, 60 X 70, so it took some time from start to finish. All 3 are I Spy quilts, one has more 'girly' squares , Disney Princesses, mermaids and the like.

All three quilts are intended to be I Spy, matching, and alphabet. I hope they will provide a bit of fun for sick kids and their parents.

There are still I Spy squares left over. I'm keeping back two sets, one for my little grandson, and one for a grandchild-to-be. Even when I've done those, there may be more to make. I have a weakness for I  Spy, and a drawer full of novelty fabrics to use! I used 5" squares for the charity quilts, but I also have 4" squares from several swaps

Friday, July 25, 2014

Zigzag finish

It's such a happy feeling to have a quilt finished quickly. Well, quickly for me... I won two jelly rolls of Kaffe Fassett fabrics at a retreat last summer. So it was made in less than a year, with long periods when it languished as a WIP!

The fabrics are so bright and busy. After lots of thought I used a pattern from the Moda Bake Shop called Little Rays of Sunshine. I think it suits the fabrics without making them overwhelming.

The backing is from stash, I had been looking for a good use for it, I like the colours and the floral design. I would prefer the background ivory instead of white, but overall I'm happy with it.

The binding is scrappy from the left over jelly roll strips. I did my usual 2 1/4 inch cut, and sewed to the back first and then the front. Doing it that way is tidy and almost foolproof, and can be done on a huuuge quilt in just 2 hours. The quilt measures 100 x 104, so I broke my own rule and took it to be longarmed. The quilting is in ivory thread, an all over interlocking rectangles type design. I think it is really successful.

Yay! I love it!!

Linking to:
Finish it up Friday at crazy mom quilts
TGIFF @ Quokka Quilts
Link a Finish Friday @ Richard and Tanya Quilts

Saturday, June 28, 2014

My Favourite Quilt

I have been reading the Sew Mama Sew series this month on favourite quilts. (I'm Canadian, that's how we spell favourite. Bear with me!)

Here is the link to the start of the series on June 1st. I have a lot of reading to do, to catch up on which quilt people have for their favourite, and why. The ones I have already read were so interesting! It started me asking myself "Which is MY favourite?"

I will follow the question and answer format used by Jessica of Quilty Habit throughout the series.

This photo is bleached by the bright sunlight, but I like the shadows, and you can certainly see how bright the colours are!

 Tell us about your favorite quilt. When did you make it? What pattern did you use? What fabrics?

I started this quilt after seeing lots of pictures of Camille Roskelly's Swoon pattern, and joining Katy's Swoon Along on Flickr. That was in 2011. I finally finished it in August 2013.
The fabrics are mainly Gypsy Bandanna by Pillow and Maxfield with some other stash fabrics added. I used about 13 different fabrics from that line.

 Have you shown it at any quilt shows or entered it in any contests? 

I showed it in the Blogger's Quilt Festival, not otherwise.

 What do you like best about the quilt?

The colour and fabric combinations in the stars. I love brights, you can tell! The binding is a diagonal rainbow stripe, perfect. Everytime I look at my quilted feathers, I smile at my fears, and how (relatively) well it turned out!
 How did you grow as a quilter while making it?

There were a lot of "firsts" in the making of this quilt. It was my first real attempt to use value and contrast. The blocks can look so different according to fabric placement. In a wild moment I decided to make the blocks different sizes but I had no idea how to figure out placement. I used Quilt As You Go, and I quilted it densely with feathers in the background. Another two firsts.

If you could make this quilt again, what (if anything) would you do differently? 

I would try to be braver, spend less time thinking, and finish it faster!

 Where is the quilt now?

It is on a quilt rack in my hall, and whenever I put it on my bed I get a nice feeling of accomplishment!

Linking to:
My Favorite Quilt at Sew Mama Sew


Sunday, June 15, 2014

I Spy

This little quilt was made in record time. I started it in May, and finished today.

I can tell you quite honestly that I love I Spy quilts using any pattern. The variety and interest of the squares, the mixture of colours, the whimsical nature of the prints delight me.

My first I Spy quilt, pictured here, and on my blog header, was a very big one, made for my two little GDs. Since then I kept collecting squares, because I knew another I Spy would be in my future. As it turns out there will be several!
I've decided to make a couple for the Children's Hospital here in Calgary.

This is the first:

My helper is about to photo bomb in the right corner!

It's a simple 9 patch arrangement of 5 inch squares.

Here are a couple of closeups of the blocks. I thought I would say favourites, but I couldn't decide!

As you see, it is a mixture of older fabrics, some of it donated, and newer ones. The quilt is 60" x70".
The backing is blue swirly flannel, and the quilting is straight line double lines.

The next one is going to have a rose coloured sashing and purple backing. So much fun!

Linking to:

Till next time,


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Harry Potter Bookshelf is finished!

I looked back to see when I started this project, and it was 19 months ago. There are 40 paper pieced blocks in the quilt, and 11 were made by my awesome bee mates in the Stars in Their Eyes Bee. Thank you friends, you made it all possible!

The quilt is larger than the original Project of Doom, found here. I put an extra block in every row, and an extra row on top of the quilt. It was a lot of fun making a dragon, Mad Eye Moody's eye, and a howler among other things. It measures 62" x 78".

My idea was to have white background on both sides of the quilt, and perhaps a broom standing against it. I also wanted feet on the bookshelf. However, by this time the quilt was already pretty large for a couch throw, so I decided to stop.

Many of the books have a title on the spine. It was a stretch for my little Janome, but on the whole I like how they look.

I outline quilted everywhere and then stippled the grey background. There is still more I can quilt, perhaps there always will be and I'd better stop!

The back is from a fabric line called Enchanted Kingdom. A lighter colourway would not have shown the grey quilting threads so much. Oh yes, I quilted all the wooden bookcase parts with, wait for it, woodgrain! It's in Angela Walters Free Motion Quilting book, and seemed perfect. I used a variegated brown, and you can hardly see it.

Nope, you can't see the quilting here. Those are flying owls by the way.

A few more pics of my lovely bookcase:

In this one you can see all the blocks down to the Sorting Hat.

And in this one you can see the bottom two rows clearly:

Now it's all finished, I feel very attached to this one. I can clearly see a lot of my growth as a quilter between the first few blocks, and the last. And there are some very favourite blocks and fabrics in here.

Linking to:


Till next time,


Monday, June 2, 2014

Triangle Quilt finished!

Back in March  I joined the Triangle QAL hosted by Paula of thesassyquilter.com.

I had enthusiasm and determination, and before long I had cut a huge stack of triangles in my chosen fabrics. All was going really well. Then I started putting the triangles together, and oh, the disappointment! The pics of everyone else's triangles looked wonderful, but not mine. It was too late to scrap it all, so I added some lights and carried on.

Now the question of size came up, and since I am always afraid my quilts might be too small, I added triangles and rows and carried on.

Meanwhile those keeners in the QAL had their quilts sandwiched, quilted and bound by April 25th.

What do you mean it's June already? I finished at the end of May I'll have you know. A month behind, late to the party as usual. I feel like those sad runners who finish a week after everyone else, and looking like death. Never mind that if it was me they'd be tripping over my body. I digress...

I also had to make life difficult by binding the angles on the sides. Honestly, I wonder sometimes. Fortunately Lorna of Sew Fresh Quilts posted a tutorial, and it went as planned. Yay!

As you can see it is straight line quilted on all sides of the triangles. That's a lot of stitching!
I'm happy with my finish, and it is taking up a home on my couch instead of being given away like most of my quilts. The colours and fabrics make me happy!

Quilt Stats:

size: 68" x 87"
fabrics: Seaside Cottage, Bluebird Park, Architextures, Secret Garden, Prince Charming, Brr, and some Kona Solids
Binding: Kona Steel

Linking to:

Till next time,


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Bee Blocks for Stars in Their Eyes

This year I am busier than ever, so I cut my online Bee commitments down. The Bee I stayed with is so much fun that I hope we go on for years! There are 6 of us, and every month a different person chooses the block and the colours, and away we go! The wonderful thing is that you get to try out blocks and techniques that you would probably only have thought about before.

January we made the Arkansas Traveler block for Becky. It is partly paper pieced, and my pattern printed too small the first time. Yikes! I started again, and learned to be wary of the printing, even when you have unchecked all those pesky sizing boxes!

February was my month, and my bee mates made awesome blocks for my Harry potter bookcase. More about this soon, as the quilt is nearly finished. I'm just putting the binding on. Yay!

In March we made Scrappy Trip Around the World blocks for Brandy. I'd seen them on the web, but never tried it. They turned out great!

 Aren't they pretty? And all with the low volume fabric in the centre.

In April Susan chose a 3/4 log cabin in bright coloured solids. I had not seen this block before. It is so striking! The inspiration is found here

It will make such an amazing quilt! Here are my blocks

 Wow, this quilt will be stunning.

This month Lisa asked for the Mosaic Block, which is like the Economy block but with an extra diagonal portion. It is for a childrens quilt, so the centres are fussy cut with that in mind. The tutorial for this block is found here

Here are my blocks, (2) 14 1/2 inch blocks in 4 quadrants each. As Lisa said, the most time consuming part is choosing the fabrics. That was fun! Each quadrant has a fussy cut centre, a round of bright, a round of low volume, diagonals in a bright fabric and then corners in low volume. I enjoyed debating which fabrics to put where! I can totally see myself making another quilt with this pattern.

Till next time,


Friday, May 16, 2014

Bloggers Quilt Festival

Although I have several other quilts almost finished that I'd like to enter, here is my completely finished entry, Creamsicle. The colours in the quilt remind me of the frozen treat, hence the name.

I started the quilt in January, blogged here. I experienced the usual snags while making it, including sewing in a row backwards and not even noticing! The picture of what went wrong is here .

  It was made in four sections, quilted on my HSM, and then joined using a row of the background squares. I had a few troubles getting the zig zag border to fit, and it occurred to me afterward that it would have been easier to put the border onto the finished top instead of onto each quarter. However...

The quilt was finished in March, blogged here . There are closeups of the quilting. I'm quite proud of the leafy vine I did along the zigzag. It turned out well, but not overwhelming.

When I delivered it to its new home I took pictures of it with Vancouver Island backgrounds.

I love looking at this quilt! There are about 30 low volume prints in the background, and each one became a favourite! It was definitely worth all the planning!

Quilt stats:

size after washing -  92" x 100"
binding -  wonky black and white stripe from stash
backing - Ikea

Linking to


I plan to spend lots of time admiring all the quilts entered in the Festival. Have a look!


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Triangle Quilt Along

I love the look of triangle quilts, so when I saw this quilt along hosted by The Sassy Quilter I couldn't resist. I chose fabrics from my stash in my favourite colours:

Then I cut them into LOTS of triangles:

Still all was going according to plan. Then I started laying out rows on the design wall. Larger of course, I always make everything larger. But, oh no, it didn't look good. In fact I hated it. 

Now I can freely admit that I have a love/hate relationship with choosing fabrics. I love the idea, but I don't think I'm good at it So frustrating. It never looks original and eye catching like others I see.

So I looked at the Flickr page for the Triangle Quilt Along to see how everyone else was doing. You should look, there are some stunning fabric combinations. I can honestly say, I liked everyone's quilt better than mine! I tried to see why, and I think it is because I'm drawn to bright saturated colours and the eye needs a bit of a rest from this. It was nearly all mediums. Even the greys were still mediums. The dark turquoise and dark red helped, but I wanted some lights. I don't have any pale florals, in fact I have very few florals at all. So I pulled out a white crosshatch and cut enough to put two blocks in each row. I also added a print with a white background.

Here is the result:

 Unbelievably better! I wish I had a "before" picture to show. I'm amazed at the difference.

I would be pleased to hear any ideas to better my fabric choices. I've read lots of theory, but it seems that trial and error is my way to learn!

Till next time,