Friday, 20 December 2013

TGIFF! -- Hands Hands Fingers Thumbs

I'm sure you've been waiting with baited breath to see if I finished Hands Hands Fingers Thumbs on time, haven't you? You are the best!

When my friend came to pick up the quilt yesterday, she said, "you know, I really shouldn't have asked you to do this at this time of year." And I replied, "you know, I really shouldn't have said yes at this time of year." And then we laughed and laughed. She's a knitter so she understands. It's nice to have friends like that, isn't it? :)

So did I it get done? Well, obviously M-R, you just mentioned that your friend picked it up yesterday. Um, right, I guess I did. I finished the binding and label at some ungodly hour yesterday morning. Gotta love the many holiday movies at this time of the year, eh? Great company for those late-night quilting sessions!

Photos were a last minute scramble. Crazy snow, eh? I think we're supposed to get another 20+ cm this weekend.

Hands Hands Fingers Thumbs - Side One
Hands Hands Fingers Thumbs - The "Nothing To Do With the Name Side" a.k.a. Side Two
My friend let me know that the quilt was a hit with the teacher and sent me a photo of the teacher and children with the quilt. Yay!

Notes on the quilting: I wanted black and grey thread on the dark side and white on the white side. I know that's a no-no among some quilters because if the tension is off the top or bottom thread shows through to the other side. I did it anyways! Freedom! Here's why I thought I could break the rules and you can decide for yourselves whether I should or shouldn't have done it:
  • My Bernina is awesome at balancing the thread tension. Although I have done mismatched threads before successfully, they were close in value, if not in colour. There were no pop-throughs on either side.
  • I used a higher loft batting than usual -- Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 cotton/polyester. I figured that any pops-throughs would be hidden in the valleys. 
  • I used the same thread brand (Aurifil) and weight (50 wt.) so that colour was the only difference. I'd like to tell you that I used the 50 wt, which is usually for piecing, so that it would keep any pop-throughs as small as possible, but the reality is that they were the only weights in those colours that I had.
  • I practiced the rectangular stipple/Aztec motif of a scrap quilt sandwich and made some adjustments to the tension. 
I thought I was golden. I wasn't. There are some minor pop throughs, but mostly in the corners of the rectangular stipples, when I turned too quickly. I was able to pull some of them into the middle of the quilt by gently pulling apart the two sides of the quilt around the pop-throughs. I know they will also show even less once the quilt is washed and gets all crinkly.

Final size: 55" by 70".

I'm linking up with TGIFF! over at Gingersnaps Quilts this week. Come join us.

A heartfelt Merry Christmas if you celebrate it, and a Happy New Year! We have a full house for Christmas and New Year's this year so I will see you in the New Year.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Giveaway Winner and Modern Block Monday - Stuck in the Middle

Wow, Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day gets bigger and bigger each time, eh? Thank you all for entering and sharing such fab colour palettes with me. It was inspirational to read your colour ideas and now I want to go and try a whole bunch of them. To those of you who decided to follow along with my quilting misadventures, welcome! Without further ado, the winner of the bundle of Depression-style fabrics is:

Congrats, Mary! I will be contacting you for your snail mail address shortly.  

Now for Modern Block Monday. I know -- prints. Me? Yes! The colours in the photo are a bit off, but you get the idea. Our Ottawa Modern Quilt Guild Queen Bee this month wanted Stuck in the Middle from 99 Modern Blocks. I decided it was time to break into the Denyse Schmidt Flea Market Fancy I've been hoarding saving. I got the stripe in the green to be all straight and parallel and everything. Yay! It's the little joys, isn't it? :) I can't wait to do this one in solids for my Modern Block Sampler.

Other blocks from this series:
Hope it's warmer in your neck of the woods! It's a 'balmy' -20C here. Brrr!

Thursday, 12 December 2013

TGIFF! - Bébé Éléphant

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

When my cousin announced her pregnancy, I (of course) offered to make her a quilt. I'm the only quilter in our huge family so she immediately took me up on the offer.

She sent me some ideas - grey, white, aqua (or mauve, but she went back to aqua) and elephants. Then Pam from Mad About Patchwork contacted me about curating a bundle. Hello!

Remember this yummy stack from Mad About Patchwork?'s still available. Just sayin'. Holidays and all that. :)

While I ended up taking out some of the darker tones, I used most of these fabrics for the patchwork band and the elephants.

I showed you this layout of the top a couple of weeks ago. The grey (Kona Iron) was looking too dark so I switched it to Kona Ash. Much better!

The Spoonflower fabric for the backing arrived and it was perfect! I decided to try linear loopy quilting for the first time on the grey and stipple in the patchwork band, with my trusty Aurifil light grey (#2600). Love, love, love! 
Bébé Éléphant - Front
Bébé Éléphant - Back
I also decided to wash it to get rid of the guidelines I made for the quilting lines and also so I could see if I liked the scrunchy washed look. Can't say I'm loving it.

I had pre-washed all the fabrics, but not the batting and the batting shrunk. Not a lot, but enough that the fabric looks a little bulky in a few of the lighter quilted areas. Lesson learned -- if I'm going to do looser quilting, I'm going to pre-wash everything.

Not a big deal though -- I still love this quilt and so will my cousin, I hope! It will be perfect for cuddling her petite bébé d'amour!

Final size: 38" by 50".

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Hands Hands Fingers Thumbs - A Work in Progress

I'm madly working on a commission for a friend right now. A beloved teacher is leaving and she wanted to send him on his way with a quilt involving the children he taught. When we discussed the project and the style the teacher might like, my friend said that at a Jackson Pollack-style painting party, the teacher in question tried to mix up some colours, but ended up just using grey and black.

So grey and black it is!

With that info in mind, I suggested doing improv chevrons on one side -- très moderne, non?

I'm working on the other side right now. It will be a white background, with some slices of black and white prints pieced into it. Each child from the class has traced their name onto some fusible-web backed fabric in oranges and reds and written their names on white fabric. The hands and names will be fused to the white and zig zag stitched down. 

It's a fun project and I think it will turn out really well. Now, if I can just finish it by the 19th, we'll be golden. Gulp! Wish me luck!

I'm hosting TGIFF! this Friday and I hope you'll join us. I'm so excited to share the quilt I made for my cousin with you. Also, if you haven't had a chance to enter my Sew Mama Sew Giveaway, you can do so here

I'm linking in to WIP Wednesday at The Needle and Thread Network and to W.i.P. Wednesday at Freshly Pieced. Thanks Monika and Lee for hosting such great linkies!
Right Click to Save ImageWIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

What are you working on this week?

Monday, 9 December 2013

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway!

Happy Canada Day, eh!
Yay, it's Sew Mama Sew Giveaway time again! For those of you who are stumbling upon my blog for the first time, I'm M-R (stands for Michèle-Renée) and I live in Ottawa, Ontario with the hubster and my three boys (yes, quilting is my refuge).

I made my first quilt 20 years ago, but I've been quilting regularly for about 16 and obsessively for about four. I'm one of the co-founders of the Ottawa Modern Quilt Guild and a member of the Ottawa Valley Quilters Guild.

I like to try different techniques and have a 'bazillion' (as my four year old would say) projects on the go.

Hope you take a moment to look around my blog, but let's get to the giveaway, shall we?

For our giveaway, we are going vintage/modern - 8 long quarters of these fun Depression-style fabrics, just perfect for a traditional or vintage modern project:

How can you win? Those who follow regularly know I love to play with colours so I'd like to know what is your favourite colour combination. This giveaway is open to everyone and all you have to do is leave a comment with your favourite colour combo below. Followers or new followers get a bonus entry -- just leave me a separate comment letting me know how you follow along (Bloglovin', Facebook, Twitter, etc.).

This giveaway will be open until December 13th at 5 p.m. PST, at which point I will pick a winner via random number generator. No reply bloggers, please leave an email address so I can contact you otherwise I'll have to choose someone else. Hint: If you've commented on my blog before (except for giveaways) and not received a response, you are a no reply blogger.

I probably won't be able to respond to all the comments, but I'm certainly looking forward to reading them. Thanks for entering and good luck!

For more fabulous and fun giveaways, visit the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway page.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Carsick - A Work in Progress

I'm not even sure where to begin. I finished all the blocks for my son's Scrappy Trip quilt during our Sew-In but didn't have enough space to lay them all out that day so back into the box they went. 

I laid them all out this morning and was quickly reminded of this post and this post on Molli Sparkles about the scrappy tripalongs/scrap vomit quilts out in the blogosphere. Now, I took no offence when I read his original comments -- we all make a fugly quilt now and then and I know Joshua knows that. It's how we learn and how we get better. I also think that some fugly quilts are more loved and cherished than some prizewinners -- to each her/his own, I say! 

Sad to say, but I think this scrappy trip is joining the ranks of the fugly. I was hoping that the greys and purples would organize the scrappiness, but alas, I fear this whirlwind of colour cannot be tamed. 

Not from this angle:

Or from this angle:

Maybe move some blocks around? Uh-uh.

Back to this angle? Nah.

Maybe if I try it from over here? Sigh.

Gravol anyone?

I'll keep playing with the arrangement of blocks, but I am not making more blocks in an attempt to make it better. This is going to get sewn together in some fashion and used for my son's bed. It will be used for sleeping, for making forts, for catching vomit when he's sick (and hopefully not when he first receives the quilt ;) ), for snuggling under when he's reading and probably for a bunch of other things I haven't even thought of (and/or don't want to think of!).

I'm going to embrace the fugly and I dub thee Carsick! ;)

I'm linking in to WIP Wednesday at The Needle and Thread Network and to W.i.P. Wednesday at Freshly Pieced. Thanks Monika and Lee for hosting such great linkies!
Right Click to Save ImageWIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

What are you working on this week?

Monday, 2 December 2013

Going Fractal

My middle son expressed some interest in learning how to sew last weekend. Not wanting to pass up this golden opportunity, we hightailed it up to the studio and sewed up this block together. Doesn't he look pleased with himself? :) 

This granny square is part of a leader/ender project I've started with scraps from my Fibonacci Is Not Random quilts. The block finishes at 5". Yep, small pieces.

I saw a show on Fractal Geometry a couple of months ago and I've been wanted to see how it might apply to quilt design ever since. Google fractal geometry and look at the images that come up -- wow! Wouldn't those images look fabulous as quilts? Check out this quilt - love it!

I'm probably oversimplifying it, but the basic idea behind fractal geometry is that the design replicates itself no matter how much you zoom in or zoom out. Seeing how small these granny square blocks were made me think that I could use them to make bigger granny square blocks. Not quite the fractal play I had in mind originally, but still applicable, right?

One Granny block:

Larger block made of nine granny units:

I don't know what this will become yet; I want to see how many blocks the scraps make first. Oh, who am I kidding? As my son did one of the blocks, he'll probably be staking his claim on what this becomes. :) 

Have you done or seen any quilts inspired by fractal geometry? I'd love to see them! 
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