Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Works in Progress Wednesday - November 30, 2011

Happy Wednesday all! It's been a productive week and I'm making headway on my Christmas projects. I may not have to move Christmas after all. ;)

I'm working away on my finish for when I host TGIFF! next week. Will it be Just Me and My Peeps? Or Clockwork Orange? Or something else? At this point, your guess is as good as mine.

The talented and funny Laura @ Quokka Quilts is hosting TGIFF! this Friday though. If you've got a finish, you are more than welcome to link up. Check out the TGIF Friday! site for more details.

New Projects:
Micah's Advent Calendar - Not sure why I did this, but I've made each of my older boys their own advent calendar. Therefore, I have to follow suit with Micah. Here's the thing, I don't have a spot to hang three advent calendars. But I've started his anyway - it's a Makower calendar that I bought last year. I just love their calendars. I'll post pictures when I get it done.

Wee Spy Quilt - I've decided to do one of my Wee Spy quilts as a leader/ender project. A third of the squares have been pieced while I was doing my other projects this week. I'm finding it a challenge to get into the habit of finishing with an ender though.

Completed Projects:
Dreaming in Colour Pillowcases for my boys. Two Christmas gifts down. Woo hoo!

Current Projects:


Clockwork Orange/Millennium Rail Fence - I finished the top of the Millennium Rail Fence, now Clockwork Orange. It's not at all what I pictured when I first started this project 11 or 12 years ago, but I'm very happy with where this project is going now. I suspect this is one of those quilts that only the maker will love, but I view this one as a WIP saved. :)

Red and Tan Amish Wedding Ring
Tangled Garden
Spiral/Spring seta colour

UFOs that may one day get finished, but really who knows?
Chop Suey
Wedding quilt
Linus quilt
Nine patch colourwash

WIP Wednesday Recap:
New projects: 3 - Aack! What happened to no new projects?! Christmas projects get a bye, right? And the leader/ender? Well, that's just being practical. :)
Current projects: 3
Completed project: 1
On Hold: 10
UFOs: 4


Thanks for stopping by! I'm linking in to WIP Wednesday at The Needle and Thread Network and W.i.P. Wednesday at Freshly Pieced. Let's go check out the fun stuff going on over there.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Clockwork Orange - A Finished Top

Remember this Millennium Rail Fence that I wrote about last week? I started with this, smacked it on my design wall and started playing with the suggestions from the wonderful folks who gave me their feedback last week. Thanks again for sharing your ideas with me! I love how people come up with really different ideas. It's fun to see all the different directions a quilt can go it -- and they can all work beautifully.

First, I tried some red on the border and as some applique. Nope, nothing I had worked well. Then I tried purple - nope. Needed something warmer. Pulled out the five orange fabrics that I have in my stash and auditioned them. Bingo! A dark red-orange seemed to work best -- it added some colour, but didn't clash.

Detail photo of Clockwork Orange
One suggestion was to just sandwich it, quilt and bind it. That was so tempting! Before going that route though, I thought I'd see if I could do something to visually tame the pattern craziness so I played around with some solid black. I'd had the idea of offsetting the rail fence in black so I tried that. Up on the design wall with the orange accent, I was liking it. A lot.

Detail photo of Clockwork Orange
But there was too much black. So I added an orange cross. That did it for me. With the orange cross and the black border, it will be a twin-sized quilt.

I don't find it a pretty quilt, but I love it anyways. Perhaps I love it because of just how disappointed I was with it originally. Or maybe I'm just in the honeymoon stage and in a year, I will say, "what was I thinking?!" Time will tell.

As I was pressing the orange stripe in the cross, I thought of the perfect name. Let's face it, Millennium Rail Fence had to go. A) Millennium was so last, well, millennium (sorry, just couldn't resist), and B) it was not a successful rail fence so I'd rather not emphasize what's not working. Clocks + orange = Clockwork Orange. Yay! So here is my Clockwork Orange finished top. Woo hoo! One WIP saved.
Clockwork Orange Top

Friday, 25 November 2011

TGIFF! - Dreaming in Colour

As I mentioned the other day, I've started my holiday gift list. Two of the items on the list are pillowcases for my older boys. Last year, they spotted some Grinch pillowcases at a craft fair and loved them. I searched high and low, but couldn't find any in time for Christmas last year.

This summer though, I spotted some Celebrate Seuss in Avonport so I snatched it up right away. I paired it with some left over Dr. Seuss stripe from their Bottled Rainbow quilts and added a solid red fabric for the trim.

A quick search on the internet found this fabulous pillowcase video tutorial by Missouri Quilt Company. Super easy, super fast. And now I can cross two Christmas gifts off my list! Hope the boys like them. :)


I'm linking up with TGIFF! over at Sparrow in Flight.



Happy Friday all!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Works in Progress Wednesday - November 23, 2011

Not a whole lot of sewing going on right now. I'm still not 100% and my wonderful sewing machine is getting a tune up. I'll be getting her back today though - yay!

It's a good thing too because I started my list of gifts or holiday things I'd like to make and it's getting long. I think I'm going to have to prioritize or push Christmas back. ;)

The sensational Shanna @ Sparrow In Flight is hosting TGIFF! this Friday. I hope you come check out the beautiful finishes and link up one of your own, if you have one. Check out the TGIF Friday! site for more details.

New and Completed Project: One little mug rug


Current Projects:
Millennium Rail Fence


Millennium Rail Fence - I shared a bit about this project this week and where it went oh-so-wrong or at least not where I expected it to go. I got some great ideas from people -- thank you! I love hearing how different people would approach the same problem or challenge. I think I know what I want to do with it so I'm moving it to the Current Project list.



Stained Glass Lillies
Stained Glass Lillies - Some good progress this week on this reverse hand applique project since I haven't had much energy to do anything else and the machine is in the shop. Finished the lower right hand corner - yay! Here it is all wrinkly and still with the glue dots.

Red and Tan Amish Wedding Ring
Tangled Garden
Spiral/Spring seta colour

UFOs that may one day get finished, but really who knows?
Chop Suey
Wedding quilt
Linus quilt
Nine patch colourwash

WIP Wednesday Recap:
New project: 1
Current projects: 3
Completed project: 1
On Hold: 10
UFOs: 4


Thanks for stopping by! I'm linking in to WIP Wednesday at The Needle and Thread Network and to W.i.P. Wednesday at Freshly Pieced. Let's go check out the fun stuff going on over there.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, 21 November 2011

Millennium Rail Fence - A Work in Progress

It was lost, but now it is found. I'm kind of wishing it was still lost though. ;) This poor Work in Progress (WIP)/Unfinished Object/Train Wreck was started back, well, before the Millennium. Sadly, this is not my oldest WIP.

I'd apologize for the picture quality, but a better photo really wouldn't make this look any better.
This is a perfect case of fabrics from the same line don't always cut up and combine so well. Besides the solid black, there are four fabrics from a Karen Jarrar for Marcus Brothers Textiles line. There's a large scale beige and black print and a small scale beige and black print. There is a fabric that has black clocks on a beige background and another that has beige clocks on a black background.

Close up of the fabrics
I thought difference in prints and scales would show better when they were cut up than they did. Even though there's a lot of contrast between the beige and black in each fabric, when they are cut up like this and placed together, they just really blend and the rail fence effect doesn't really work. The solid black rail fence really pops though.

So the question is how to fix it or make the best of it? Someone once suggested that I add a pop of colour, maybe some red applique. What would I applique though? Clocks? Use oil sticks to add colour? Hide this by using it as a backing? Let it get run over by my kids' schoolbus?

Well, even though we're almost 12 years past the Millennium (or 11 depending on who you talk to), I'd like to rescue this poor quilt and give it a purpose. Right now, I'm leaning towards using this piece as a large 'block' with a thin border of red (purple?), offset in a solid black background. I think that this would help focus on the black rail fence. I'm also thinking of using quilting lines that mimic the rail fence in black or red thread.

If anyone has any thoughts in this approach or ideas on alternatives, I'm all ears.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Getting My FMQ On

Early into 2011, I decided that I was going to focus more time and effort into improving my quilting skills this year. I wanted to do something quilting related everyday and learn how to free motion quilt (FMQ). In addition to spending more time with my kids, I wanted to take advantage of my time on leave to improve my skills and learn as much as I can about quilting.

My quilting has improved a lot this year, especially since starting this blog, and I couldn't be happier with my progress. I learned how to FMQ in the spring and I am finding that the movements and rhythm of FMQ are starting to feel more natural. 

That said, I still have a looong way to go. On Friday, I found the 2012 Free Motion Challenge on SewCalGal's blog. Normally, I'm rather reticent to jump in on all the fabulous quiltalongs out there. I'd love to join them, but have you seen my WIP list or my bucket list?! But this one, well, I'm so in. There will be free monthly tutorials by FMQ experts, as well as challenges and prizes. It fits beautifully with my goal of mastering FMQ. If you are looking to learn free motion quilting or improve your FMQ skills, check it out -- it looks like a lot of fun.





Happy Sunday!

Friday, 18 November 2011

TGIFF! - 'Tis the Season for Mug Rugs

Well, Wednesday was definitely not my day. First, a cold/flu virus that no amount of Cold FX or Advil Cold and Sinus could help and then, an email virus/hacker in my hotmail account. Grrr! Huge apologies to anyone who received some ridiculous email from me. I've changed my password and upped the security. With any luck, that will take care of things. Please let me know if it doesn't. Don't people have better things to do than cause trouble?! I just don't get it. Okay, deep breath, I won't rant, even though I really want to!

Thinking quilty thoughts, thinking quilty thoughts... there that's better! ;)

So I'm starting to think a little more about holiday gifts and mug rugs are going to be prominent on the list of things to make this season. Since I still have the energy of a sloth at the moment, this is the only one I've finished so far.

The batik material of the tree is the same as the binding - one side has some gold star accents and the other does not. I wanted to have a bit of a Christmas-y feel but not so much that someone couldn't use the mug rug at other times of the year so I used the side with the gold accents for the tree, but used the other side of the batik for the mug rug back and binding.

Very simple, improvisationally pieced. Free motion echo quilted -- still trying to get straight FMQ lines. 6" by 8".

The talented Tabatha @ Bending Pins is hosting this week's TGIFF! party. If you get a chance, take some time to check out her blog and the fabulous finishes over there in today's party.




Cheers and Happy Friday!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Works in Progress Wednesday - November 15, 2011

Wretched Wednesday. Well, it's not really Wednesday that is wretched, it's just how I'm feeling today. I've been trying to outrun something since Monday, but I hit the wall last night. Ugh! Sore throat, icky cough, body aches, etc. I hate being sick. I'm a total wuss about it too. Bleh! Anyways...

A few people commented how much they liked my rationalization last week of quilting over laundry. Well, upon reading my blog post, the hubster pointed out (with humour and only a smidge of sarcasm) that the kids can't wear quilts to school. Hmmm, he may have me there. Lots of laundry got done this weekend. That said, I am tempted to tell the kids that wearing clothes inside out is a cool fashion statement so we get an extra wear out of their clothes. ;)

The terrific Tabatha of Bending Pins is hosting TGIFF! this Friday. I hope you come check out the beautiful finishes and link up one of your own, if you have one. Check out the TGIF Friday! site for more details.

As I mentioned on Monday, I did get a chance to clean up my studio this weekend and I found more WIPs/UFOs! Aack! How can there possibly be more!? *Hanging head in shame* Well, I brought them into this world so I will be accountable for them - they've been added to my list below and I'll tell you more about them in the coming weeks.  

New Project: No, I need to finish something from that danged WIP list.

Completed Projects: One - my little obsession from last week, Season's Greetings, is done. Yay! 



Current Projects:
Just Me and My Peeps- Working on the backing and made the binding. Nothing exciting to show.

Red and Tan Bargello in the Round 2 - Off the On Hold list (temporarily?). Hmm, what to do, what to do?


On Hold:

Millennium Rail Fence (Yes, you read it correctly - MILLENNIUM!) 

Happy Villages
Converging Stars - Stuck again so back to the On Hold list.
Red and Tan Amish Wedding Ring
Tangled Garden
Spiral/Spring seta colour

UFOs that may one day get finished, but really who knows?

Chop Suey
Wedding quilt
Linus quilt
Nine patch colourwash

WIP Wednesday Recap:
New projects: 0
Current projects: 2
Completed projects: 1
On Hold: 11!
UFOs: 4


I'm linking in to WIP Wednesday at The Needle and Thread Network and to W.i.P. Wednesday at Freshly Pieced. Thanks to Monika and Lee for hosting these great parties! Let's go check out the fun stuff going on over there.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, 14 November 2011

Red and Tan Bargello in the Round 2 - A Work in Progress

Friday was spent making these. Can you guess what they are? I'll just tell you because I suspect only children between the ages of five and nine would know. And maybe even they might not get it because I had to take some artistic license. They are Beyblade cakes for my seven year old's birthday party. He loved them (Phew!) and thankfully, these were easier to make than a Star Wars cake, which was the original request.

I didn't get any sewing done this past weekend, but I did get my studio cleaned up. Yay! In getting my room cleaned up, I pulled out some of my WIPs and took some photos. I thought I'd share some of them with you periodically.

This is the Red and Tan Bargello in the Round 2 project from my On Hold list. I was actually surprised at how far along this one was when I pulled it out. That ever happen to you? I thought the wedges still had to be pieced together into the round, but no. What a great surprise!

This is the second Red and Tan Bargello in the Round that I've made. It's about 42 inches in diameter. The first Red and Tan one, a photo of which is in my blog header, is up on our family room wall. I made it three years ago from Cheryl Philips's "Quilts Without Corners" book. The really cool thing about this Bargello in the Round pattern is that you make the second bargello using the scraps from the first. Love that!

Doesn't it look super complicated and hard? That's what I love about bargello. The strip piecing is boring as hell, but once you start cutting the wedges (you do need a 10 degree ruler) and sewing them together, it comes together quite quickly and looks intricate (it's not).

Where this one stalled is that I didn't have a purpose for it so I didn't feel much motivation to finish it. Seems a shame, eh? I do love it and want to keep it, but I already have the one for my wall.

The other factor is that I've found that the best way to hang one of these round bargellos is to sew a half circle hanging slip as you bind it, which means I'd need to know whether or not this is going to be a wallhanging before I finish it. Then you need some MDF cut in a half circle and a mirror hanging kit. Hanging this quilt more complicated than making it.

I'm contemplating converting it into a Christmas tree skirt. Or using it as one side of a Lego bag for my son (this just seems too nice for that). Or finish it as a wallhanging like the first? Or use it as a medallion in a larger quilt? Gift it? Donate it? My only hesitation in gifting or donating it is that it then requires the receiver to figure out how to hang it and what if they don't want to hang it? Then they've got a big half circle hanging slip on the back.

Any thoughts?

Thursday, 10 November 2011

TGIFF! - Season's Greetings

Welcome to TGIFF!, where every finish deserves a party!

Phew, this one came in just under the wire. I've been wanting a Christmas wallhanging (other than an advent calendar), for the last few years but just never got around to it.

Last week I was watching The Quilt Show video where Ricky Tims demonstrates how to make a one-seam flying geese block, to which I had linked back in June. I remember thinking that it's a really cool technique, but it sure uses a lot of fabric. That is, if you just want a flying geese block.

Mulling, mulling. What could you use the pockets for? Paper? Cards? And then it hit me that this technique could be used to make a holiday card holder wallhanging! I got a wee bit excited.

See the pocket?
There was nothing to do, but try it out. I pulled some Christmas fabric out and made a couple of the one-seam flying geese blocks. It worked beautifully. I made a whole whack of the blocks and played around with the layout, before settling on this one. There are a lot of design possibilities with this block as a card holder. I already know that I'll be making more of these with different layouts and different fabrics.


Just slip in the card 
And voila, a Christmas wallhanging and a card holder. And as it is a holiday card holder, I call mine Season's Greetings. ;) Now we'll be able to see the cards people send us rather than have them all jumbled on the mantlepiece. Fun, eh?


A couple of lessons learned on this one:
  • The flying geese blocks are thick so I had problems machine quilting it. Next time, I'd press the seams open.
  • I'd also try making the background of the blocks that are in the tree green.
Quiltography: “Season's Greetings,” original design by Michèle-Renée Charbonneau, Ottawa, 29” by 30”, 2011.

Honourable Mention for Don't Worry, Be Scrappy!

BWS tips buttonDoing the happy dance, doing the happy dance, yes, I'm doing the happy dance. I found out yesterday that Don't Worry, Be Scrappy! won Honourable Mention in Generation Q's Scrap Splat Challenge. Woo hoo!




I had seen Kit Lang's Off to Oz piece and Amy's Small Quilt earlier this month and LOVED their work.  The winning quilt, Flaun's White Wedding, is off the charts beautiful. I can't believe my quilt was even as close as an honourable mention, but I'll take it. :)

Generation Q Magazine has posted photos of all the submissions on their Flickr photostream. Go check it out when you get a chance -- it's so cool to see how different people interpret the same challenge.

Thank you to Thomas Knauer and Generation Q Magazine for this fun challenge!

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Works in Progress Wednesday - November 9, 2011

Ah, Wednesday! Here you are again. I'm hosting TGIFF! this Friday so I've been busy trying to figure out which project I have to move my butt on to get finished in time. I have to admit that TGIFF! is helping to keep me motivated to finish my WIPs. Yay! :) Perhaps to the detriment of other responsibilities like laundry. Oh well, a quilt lasts longer than clean laundry. I hope you come check out the beautiful finishes and link up one of your own, if you have one. Check out the TGIF Friday! site for more details.


New Project: Yes! My little brainwave on Saturday has become my obsession so there was nothing to do but start on it right away. Looks like a regular Christmas-style wallhanging right? Well, this will actually be a holiday card holder. I'll show you how it works on Friday. I'm sure it's been done before, but I see a ton of design possibilities with this technique. I still need to add the border, quilt it and get the binding on before Thursday night. It's going to be tight...




Current Projects:
Just Me and My Peeps - Quilt top complete! Woo hoo!


Converging Stars - Playing with quilting designs in the faint hope that maybe if I do something really funky with it, it will be a cool project. 


Completed Projects: None

On Hold:

10BX Leaves - No progress so back to the On Hold list
Red and Tan Amish Wedding Ring
Tangled Garden
Red and Tan Bargello in the Round 2
Spiral/Spring seta colour

UFOs that may one day get finished, but really who knows?

Chop Suey
Wedding quilt
Linus quilt
Nine patch colourwash

WIP Wednesday #20 Recap:
New projects: 1
Current projects: 2
Completed projects: 0
On Hold: 9
UFOs: 4


I'm linking in to WIP Wednesday at The Needle and Thread Network and to W.i.P. Wednesday at Freshly Pieced. Thanks to Monika and Lee for hosting these great parties! Let's go check out the fun stuff going on over there.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Happy Wednesday!
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