Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Up A Creek

Time for something fresh. New. Fast. I'm feeling the need, the need for Speed!

Inspired by this quilt and this quilt, I took a jelly roll of the New Bright Palette by Kona, paired each strip with a Kona Charcoal strip and then cut the Charcoal strips at somewhat varying lengths. If I just used the jelly roll, the quilt top would have been 82 inches long. I decided to add four more colours though so that the top would finish at 90" long and could handle the quilting without shrinking it too much.

As the strips got sewn together, I kept thinking that it looked like a creek, a rainbow creek more specifically.

The top's not quite together yet, but I'm already loving the rainbow progression.

I'm also working on my photography skills. I'm taking the Shoot It: Product Photography Class on Craftsy class, as well as reading Maria Elkins' tutorial and the Shoot That Quilt! site. I'm trying to get the whites in my quilts to look white, the reds and oranges to stop looking over saturated and the quilting to show. Not asking much, am I?

Below is one of my mistake shots, which I think looks kind of cool. Hope I can figure out how to do it on purpose. LOL!

Wishing you sunshine and rainbows today, my friends! ;)

Sew Fresh Quilts

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Put A Pin In It

I'm finally starting to kick this cold's butt to the curb. Good riddance! Funnily enough, it coincided with finishing the binding on Scrap{Bee} 2.0. ;) I'll share it next week once I've taken some good photos of it.

Our OMQG swap this month is a pincushion, maximum size 6" square. I made this one for my friend Jan from The Pickle Dish.

I was trying to channel some Zakka. I used Essex Linen (natural?), some aqua fabric I had in my stash and Little Matroyshka by Carly Griffith for Riley Blake that I found in Jan's shop. I'm very happy with how the pincushion turned out. So much so that I will just have to make another one for me. :)

Edited to add: The pincushion is filled with crushed walnut shells. I bought them at Pet Smart and they look like this. You can fill a pincushion with all sorts of things, but I like the weight and shape that the walnut shells give it. Walnut shells are allergenic, I'm told, so you need to make sure that the person using it doesn't have allergies.

So here's a question for you. If you are supposed to include some coins in a wallet or purse that you are gifting someone for good luck, should you gift a pincushion with a couple of pins in it for the same reason? Inquiring minds want to know!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Odds and Sods

Mad About Patchwork is in the last week of its six-year anniversary celebration. Save 16% until the end of the month on all precuts - charms, rolls & strips, and two new tumbler sets — Mormor and Enchant. Yummy! Use the coupon code CHARM16 at checkout to get the discount.


EQ7 for Mac was released this week. Yay! I'm thinking about getting it, but haven't seen any reviews yet. Anyone get it? Thoughts? Reviews? 

Spotted this quilt at the Museum of History. It was a quilt that was made by Japanese students in response to a quilt made by Canadian students after the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown in 2011. I just loved reading the messages on it -- "We are One". :)


And finally some Pinspiration...

I just wanna go on more adventures. Be around good energy. Connect with people. Learn new things. Grow.

This next one is more wishful thinking for me, but doesn't it make you smile?

Have a great day and be awesome!

Linking up with Really Random Thursday over at Live a Colorful Life.

Really Random

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

It's A Bee-utiful Day!

The snow is all gone, the birds are back, the kids come home wet and muddy, I've got a cold that just won't quit, and hockey playoff season has begun -- these are the true signs of Spring in my household. When hockey playoff season begins so does quilting season and I've been taking advantage of the extra studio time to finish up some bee blocks.

The Garden Fence block (Tutorial) in tangerine and aqua for Anne-Marie of my Canadians Quilt Bee:

Canadians Quilt Bee - April Block

Square in a Square Blocks for Joanne of my OMQG Bee:

OMQG Bee 1 March Block

OMQG Bee 1 March Block

OMQG Bee 1 March Block

Interesting discussion over at Molli Sparkles today...

Hope you have a great day!

Friday, 18 April 2014

A Little of This, A Little of That

Happy Easter all! Did you hear? Craftsy's having a super Easter sale. Sweet!

Enjoy up to 75% off all Fabric with Craftsy's BIG Easter Sale happening now!
Enjoy up to 75% off at Craftsy's BIG Easter Sale 



For those in the Ottawa area, I'm teaching a Modern Free Motion Quilting Sampler class on Wednesday, May 7th from 10 - 4 p.m. at The Country Quilter in Richmond. It's already almost full (woo hoo!) so if you're interested, sign up soon!


I've been working away on Scrap{Bee} 2.0. I finished the quilting last night. Yay! I thought I'd block it because of the different types of quilting and the improv piecing had some puffs here and there. Should have known that blocking this quilt wouldn't be straightforward as nothing has been simple to date. LOL!

Mug shot of the culprit!

As I was laying it out though, I saw that the dark red had bled. A lot! I've been pre-washing all my fabrics for at least five years, but these fabrics were pulled from the scrap bin and are older than that. I wish I had remembered that! I also wish I'd remembered that I had made some colour catchers and it would have been the perfect time to test them, but do you think I did that? No, I completely forgot about them until this morning. Luckily the Spray N'Wash looks like it worked. Phew!

Now I'm itching for it to be done drying so I can get the binding on. I think binding is my favourite part of the whole quilting process. Seriously. I love binding because I can do it while watching TV or a movie. This quilt is big enough for several movies too. :D Any movie recommendations? 

Monday, 14 April 2014

Modern Block Monday - Feathers

I've loved Anna Maria Horner's Feather Bed quilt for some time. For my OMQG bee, I chose the Feather block. Now what I didn't realize when I chose it, is just how tricky it would be to figure out how to make just one block. According to the free pattern (Thank you, Anna!), one block contains two feathers. A friend gave me this great link that makes the feather cutting simpler. I fiddled with Meredith's measurements and figured out that 10" strips will make two feathers. Here is my practice block:

March OMQG Bee 2 Block

The making of the strip blocks for the feathers is fussy, but otherwise, it's a pretty straightforward block. I really love the look. I can't wait to see what my bee mates come us with.

In case there are some of you who just want to make two feathers (maybe for a bee or a pillow), here are the instructions I gave my bee mates:

Please read through all of the instructions before beginning. 

1 fat quarter of a background fabric (cream) 
2 - 1" by 19" strips for the feather stem (grey)
Feather edges -  A variety of 10” fabric strips of varying widths between 1.5”-3”. Bright, medium value fabrics work best.


1) Print out and tape together the templates from Anna Maria Horner’s Feather Bed Quilt pattern

2) For the feathers, use 10” strips in varying widths of 1.5-3”. You will need enough for your feather template to fit on (12” high is good). Follow this tutorial for assembling and cutting out your feather edges — it's more fabric economical than Anna Maria’s instructions.

3) Using the remaining templates, cut out 4 F pieces first, then 4 B pieces, 2 D pieces, and 2 E pieces from the cream background fabric. 

4) Assemble the feather blocks according to Anna Maria’s pattern instructions on pages 4 and 5

You should now have two feather blocks of approximately 18.5” by 9.5”. 

Clear as mud? Feel free to post any questions or comments below.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

TGIFF! - Fibonacci Is Not Random - Part Two

On Tuesday, I mentioned that fixing my Fibonacci Is Not Random triptych is a goal for this quarter. Inspired by The Da Vinci Code and a Quilters Newsletter article on the Fibonacci sequence, I designed and made this triptych for our dining room in 2005 (Parts One, Two and Three).

The centre (Part Two) uses 1" squares on a fusible grid. It was a beast to quilt on my old machine because it was thick and stiff. Originally I wanted gold thread in lines radiating outwards, but my machine was having none of it. In frustration, I used cream cotton thread on the grid and extended the lines outward in the background in gold. Lots of nests and tension problems. I think I redid it several times. Finally, I just tied off the cream threads at the back as best I could so it looked like this. Attractive, eh?

Fast forward a couple of years and it gets damaged with caulking while we were installing crown moulding. I cleaned what I could, but there was still significant residue on the binding of all three pieces and some across the front on one of them. None of the stain remover stuff I had at the time worked so I was going to have to replace the binding. Ugh! I wanted to work to work on pretty new things though so into the WIP pile it went.

Fast forward to Wednesday, when it became clear that Scrap{Bee} 2.0 wasn't going to happen for this week. I took the binding of Part Two off and decided to redo the quilting, adding a few more radiating lines. My Bernina handled the thickness like a dream!

Would you believe that I even found matching extra binding in my scrap bin? It was meant to be! I used part of it to replace the damaged section of Part Two's binding and will even have enough to replace the damaged sections of the binding on the other two pieces.

On a whim, I tried Ease Out on the caulking on the damaged piece and it worked almost perfectly! Woo hoo!

So much better! Okay, maybe it's not that noticeable, but I'm much happier with it.

You know, while I would choose different fabrics today, I still really like this piece and the value changes. I liked asymmetry even back in 2005. :)

Final size: 13" by 35" at the tip.

This is also one of my Q2 goals for the Finish Along with Katy @ The Littlest Thistle.

Now to fix Part One and Part Three...

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

One Goal, Two Goals, Red Goals, Blue Goals

I'm having a hard time staying motivated to quilt my Scrap{Bee} 2.0 quilt. It's big and it's cumbersome. The quilting is supposed to be wonky to work with the wonky blocks, but I find it sometimes just looks bad. This quilt is apparently going to test me all the way to completion. So I'm making it my April goal for A Year of Lovely Finishes to finish this one.

I was hoping to finish it for TGIFF! this week, since I'm hosting, but it's not looking close enough, is it?

I'm also going to do my Q2 Finish-A-Long goals in this post too.

Q2 Goals for FAL 2014:

1) Scrap{Bee} 2.0: As mentioned above.

2) Carsick: I think I'll need a smaller project before I tackle this one, but I'm putting it down to finish this quarter too.

3) Blue Improv: I really enjoyed the process of making Purplelicious so now I'd like to see if I can do one with blues, starting with this block.

 Or this one.

4) Re-finish Fibonacci Is Not Random: The binding was damaged several years ago so it needs to be replaced. And if I'm going to take off the binding, then I might as well add the quilting I had always wanted to do, but couldn't at the time.

5) Finish the two patterns I have in the works. Before I start any others. :) It's hard to write good patterns when you are terrible at following them. LOL!

What are you hoping to finish next? These lovely parties have some great prizes. Just sayin' :)

Finish Along 2014

Monday, 7 April 2014

Introducing Mad About Patchwork

Mad About PatchworkHappy Monday, all! I'm very happy to announce that Mad About Patchwork has become a sponsor for Quilt Matters. Yay!  

I still remember the first time I saw a Mad About Patchwork booth at our local quilt show about five years ago. Pam, the wonderful owner of Mad About Patchwork, had a booth that looked very different from all the other booths. It was bright and bold, and not a calico in sight. I loved all those colours! It was the first time I'd heard about Amy Butler fabrics (beautiful!) and I had no idea what to do with them. Five years later, I still don't know what to do with Amy Butler fabrics (still find them beautiful!) and I still love Pam's great selection of fabrics. LOL!

Mad About Patchwork is celebrating 6 years in business this month. Congratulations, Pam! She has a coupon good until tonight - $10 off purchases over $50 with the coupon CELEBRATE10. I know I'll be stocking up on Konas...

Kona Classic Roll Up
Or maybe some Charlie Harper:

Charley Harper: Cardinal Patch

Charley Harper: Cardinal Stagger

Charley Harper: Twig Fall Mineral

Or maybe it's time for some spring colour. Perhaps some Heather Bailey True Colours?

True Colors: Herringbone in Yellow

True Colors: Herringbone in Turquoise

True Colors: Herringbone in Pink

But Pam also has the new Wee Wander collection by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller:

Wee Wander Twilight

Wee Wander Sunrise

Decisions, decisions!

Pam also has a great Mad About Patchwork Flickr pool, whereby if you post your in-progress photos you might win a 1/2 yard of fabric from her shop. Hello?! Besides the chance of winning free fabric, the pool has got some great inspiration to check out!

So if you've got a hankering for some Spring fabric therapy, hop on over to Mad About Patchwork and stock up! Say hi to Pam for me! :)

Have a great day, all!

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Fibonacci Twist - A Work in Progress

While making Innocence Lost, Courage Found, I kept thinking that the Fibonacci sequence (related to the Golden Ratio) depicted in tile formation could be a cool quilt design. Wouldn't using the Golden Ratio as the founding design principle for a quilt almost automatically assure success? I wasn't interested in the spiral or conch shell look so much, but the graphic look of the square tiles.

I also thought it might be neat to play with complementary contrast and colour ratio (i.e. 1:3 yellow to purple, etc).

I made two blocks using the Fibonacci sequence up to 13 again and rotated one of them to get this:

Hmm, it has potential, but it needs more and I'm not sure quite what yet. Something to balance the colour ratios? Using the Golden Ratio is not so easy. LOL! Thoughts? 

Wednesday, 2 April 2014


I've been a big fan of Craftsy for a while now. I've taken over 20 classes with them. I've learned how to dye fabric with Jane Dunnewold, inset circles with Cheryl Arkinson, free motion quilt negative space with Angela Walters, and design modern quilts with Weeks Ringle. Right now, I'm branching out and taking a photography class.

Online Quilting Classes I've really enjoyed every class I've taken with them and, since I recommend Craftsy to everyone I talk to anyway, I decided to become an affiliate. That means that I now have that button on my sidebar with a link to Craftsy and I get a commission if any of you sign up for classes through my links.

I'm going to be using the money to help fund this rather expensive quilty habit of mine. My pie-in-the-sky dream is to get to QuiltCon 2015, but we'll see. It may be 2017. Or 2019. ;) Maybe it will be used towards my ideal cutting table (counter height, on wheels, with scrap baskets underneath for immediate sorting and storage). Or more Craftsy classes. LOL!

I'm not a hard sell kind of person. I'll tell you what I like about Craftsy and, if you haven't tried one of their classes before, you can decide for yourself if it's something you are interested in. Like I did before, if I make something from a class, I'll tell you about it.

These are my favourite things about Craftsy classes:
  • I can take classes with big name artists like Weeks Ringle and Jacquie Gering and not have to spend a fortune to travel.
  • I'm a visual learner and I learn much quicker and better by watching someone than by reading or just by listening. 
  • I love the variety of courses they offer. Modern stuff. Art quilting stuff. Traditional. You name it, they probably have it. 
  • Their sales. They regularly offer classes at 20%, 30%,40% and even 50% off. That's huge plus for me and my budget.
  • With small kids, I don't have my weekends free to do workshops. I can take Craftsy classes while they are sleeping at night or while they are at school. I can also pause it or replay a section if I get interrupted or miss something.
  • I can adjust the resolution and screen size ie. I can go HD if it's something I want to see the detail for or low resolution if we're getting low on Internet bandwidth that month. 
  • I can replay my classes as many times as I want and refer back to the them whenever I want. 
  • I like how Craftsy deals with problems. On Valentine's Day, they offered some 'paired' classes. I bought one set, not realizing that I'd already purchased one of the classes. I didn't realize the problem until Craftsy notified me and they offered me a free class in exchange. How a company deals with problems tells me a lot about their integrity. I was impressed.
  • In looking over the affiliate information, I was really pleased with their marketing philosophy. They were really clear that they don't allow spam and that they don't want their affiliates doing any of those annoying marketing things we all hate. 
Things about the platform I don't use, but others seem to like:
  • Asking questions of the instructor. I love reading people's questions and the responses, but I haven't asked one of my own yet. I just haven't needed to, which also tells me that the classes are well done. All the questions are answered so the ongoing responsiveness is there.
  • Video notes. These are notes you can leave for yourself when you refer back to a video. It's a great idea and I'm glad it's an option. 
Oh, and since I regularly use Craftsy to procrastinate from doing what I probably should be doing, I call it ProCraftsynating. I'm really good at ProCraftsynating! :)

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Lunch, Anyone?

April Fools's Update: We tried switching the kids in their beds last night. One of them woke up though and wanted to return to his bed. Oh well. The other two thought it was funny when we told them about it this morning though.

The auction for the OMQG went really well last night. Such a great group of people! I put the placemats out as two sets of four, as many of you recommended. Thank you! Both sets were bid on and sold. Yay! We also approved our Constitution, By-Laws and Procedures and approved a motion to officially join the Modern Quilt Guild. Double yay!

On the theme of dining (placemats yesterday), this is a lunch bag I made for a friend's birthday. I used this favourite lunch bag tutorial from Ayumi at the Pink Penguin. Still love the design of the bag!

I had picked up the fabrics for they exterior separately and then noticed that they go so well together. Then I looked at the selvages. D'uh! They are both from Jay McCarroll's Center City line for FreeSpirit. The lining bag fabric, which is not from that line, looked like it went well with the outer fabrics when I made it, but it's looking off in the photo. Hmm.

I don't know what it is exactly, but I had a really hard time giving this one away. I love map fabric! My friend better like it 'cause I don't have enough of that fabric left to make another for me. Will have to find some more, I think.

Off to cuddle the little one now, who is home sick today. Poor little bug! Have a great April Fools' Day!
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