Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Welcome to my blog

Welcome to my blog about quilting and other things. I'll be sharing things that I've found on the Internet, things I've made, tips or tricks I've learned along the way, and probably some recipes here and there (because a great recipe must be shared!). Please feel free to comment, share your ideas, and disagree (respectfully please!) with anything I've posted.

I made the bed so why not make what goes on the bed?So how did I start quilting? Well, my first memory of quilting was helping my friend across the street make her first quilt when I was around 7 or 8. I clearly remember her explaining to me that she was marking squares on an old sheet that she was going to cut up and then sew back together. I thought it was weird, and a lot of work. I don't know if she ever finished it, but I hope she did.

Fast forward 12 or so years, and I'm in university. I had a tiny room, but I wanted a double bed and needed storage space for my clothes and ringette equipment (yes, it wasn't the prettiest smelling room). I couldn’t find a double captain’s bed anywhere, and I was stubborn so I designed and made one IKEA-style. That bed was a tank and served me well for four years. I'm sure it's still floating around some campus today.

Well anyways, after I made the bed, I thought it would be fun (and fitting, really) to make what went on the bed too. So I went to the library, found a book on quilts to make in a weekend (ha, ha), bought some fabric that was on sale (polycotton!), and started an absolutely awful and incorrect Irish Chain quilt. I loved it anyway and it adorned my bed for a number of years. Here's a photo of the Sunflower quilt now.

It's holding up pretty well considering that it isn't quilted and it's mostly used as our picnic blanket now. I didn't realize until a few years ago that it actually isn't even close to being an Irish Chain. I have no idea what happened. I thought I followed the pattern correctly, but clearly not. Oh well...we'll just consider it as my first original design. ;) 

I really got bitten by the quilting bug though when I got engaged to my high school sweetheart Charles (a.k.a. Chuck or the Hubster) and thought a quilt would be a perfect wedding gift (yes, you probably guessed it -- that became UFO #1). I had a ball designing the quilt and buying the fabrics, but I did not have the skills to make what I envisioned in my head. I finished about eight of the 40-some blocks I needed and realized that: 1) they weren't the same sizes (hmm, what's a 1/4" seam allowance?), 2) the colours weren't working well together at all, and 3) this was going to take a lot longer than I had anticipated.

The wedding was two months away. I was determined though, so I presented my hubster-to-be with my first IOUQ (I owe you a quilt), the completed blocks and the designs of the other blocks and told him I'd finish it after the wedding.  He's still waiting for it (post about the replacement wedding gift)...

After the Hubster and I got married, we moved to Boston so he could go to school. I started working part-time in a discount fabric store, Sew-Fisticated Discount Fabrics in Somerville, Massachusetts, while I found something more permanent and in my field. And really, who could pass up 100% cotton at $1.99-2.99/yard? Needless to say, very little money came home from that job, but an awesome stash was born. 

By the way, that store is still there and selling quilting cottons (and tons of other types of fabrics) for the same prices. I stopped in last year when we went down for the Hubster's reunion and stocked up big time. The fabrics are ends of fabric lines that are a few years old so you won't find a complete fabric line or the newest, hippest fabrics. However, the selection is great if you are looking to fill your stash. If you go, tell Joan (the owner) that M-R from Canada says Hi!

I've been quilting ever since, slowly improving my skills. After Boston, we moved back to Toronto and then to Ottawa, where we now make our home. Me and the Hubster have three rambunctious boys: Patrick who is 6.5 years old, Daniel who is 4 years old, and Micah who is 2 years old. They are wonderful and spirited little boys who are learning to quilt (among other things). I made them Wee Spy quilts when they were born and a few other baby quilts.

This past year, I made quilts with the oldest two. I cut the fabric, they did the layout, and I sewed. They chose the border and backing and the freemotion quilting motifs and I was the workhorse. It worked really well and both boys are keen to start their next projects. Yay!

Since I posted my first quilt, I'll post my latest. This is called Breakthrough and it's from a pattern by Marlene King called Ecstasy. It was in Down Under Quilts, Issue 96, 2006. The colours I used are very different from what she used and I turned it on it's side because I like mine better this way. The top was finished in 2007 or 08, but stayed unquilted until last month. I really wanted to free motion quilt this one, but didn't have the skills to do it well. Finally I took the plunge and it went much better than I anticipated. It was in our guild quilt show earlier this month. It's not a great photo, but you get the idea.
Well, that's about it for today. I'm excited about this blog, if only to stop boring the beejeesus out of my non-quilting friends and family. I always find it so interesting to hear how someone came to quilting, whether it's a love passed down through a relative or some quirky circumstance, so feel free to share your story in the comments section.



  1. Welcome to blogland! Your quilt is amazing! Wow.

  2. Lovely quilts, and I too love to hear how somebody came to do something!


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