Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Here a WIP, There a WIP, Everywhere a WIP, WIP

I'm itching to start on a new design that I sketched out last week. The works-in-progress (WIP) list is a mile long though. I have told myself that I can't start a new quilt until I finish something else off the WIP list. Just one thing. It can be small. It can be big. But it must be finished!

So what will it be? 

Current Projects:

Bee Blocks: Julie from my OMQG bee wanted a cross-stitch block. She gave us each a different layout, using this tutorial from PileO'Fabric. Very cool idea! I can't wait to see what picture all the blocks will make. This block is done, but I have three other bee blocks that need to be done. Not sure bee blocks should count as a finished project though.

Rainbow Creek: It's basted and ready for quilting! I'm planning on quilting it like Mod1600. Good candidate.

Oops - that's a little blurry!

The backing - Finally scored some IKEA numbers fabric and paired with a good ole Cape Breton tartan!

Carsick/Scrappy Trip AlongNeed to get some photos of the front, piece the back and get some batting. Einh.

Fibonacci Is Not Random: Part Two and Part Three are done so I just have Part One to finish repairing. Good candidate.

Fibonnacci Twist: Hmmm.
Wedding quilt
Nine patch colourwash

It's a crazy week! I know I won't have a chance to do any touring so I won't be linking up to the usual parties, but these great parties always provide lots of inspiration --  WIP Wednesday at The Needle and Thread NetworkW.i.P. Wednesday at Freshly Pieced and Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts.
Right Click to Save ImageWIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Sew Fresh Quilts

Well, we'll see where inspiration strikes when I actually get a moment to quilt! 

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Hitting the Spot With Fabric Spot

FabricSpotI'm very excited to share that Fabric Spot, a Canadian online fabric shop, has become a sponsor for Quilt Matters. Yay!

Based in Toronto, Ontario, this family-run shop specializes in modern designer patterns and fabrics, including a huge selection of solids (Kona, Free Spirit Designer Solids, Pure Organic Solids, Essex Linen Solids, Birch Organic Solids (coming), Birch Organic Knit Solids (coming), Cloud 9 Organic Flannel Solids) and prints.

I've been seeing a lot of buzz from market about the new Cotton+Steel line. Have you been wondering where you'll find it in Canada? Well, Fabric Spot is going to have it!

They also have Canada's largest selection of organic fabrics. Like this Frolic Girl bundle by Birch Fabrics. Yummy!

Frolic Girl - Birch Organics

Oh, and I love this Geometric Knitting Stripe Geo in Grey by Timeless Treasures:

Geometric Knitting - TImeless Treasures

Karen, the owner of Fabric Spot, also has some fabulous texty fabrics too, like this Sudoku one by Geek Chic. Be still my puzzle-loving heart!

Sudoku - Geek Chic Fabric

Fabric Spot has excellent customer service and offers free shipping across Canada for orders over $100 (before tax). While the minimum cut from yardage is a fat quarter, Fabric Spot has a large selection of precuts (Charm Packs, Layer Cakes, Jelly Rolls, Hexagons) so be sure to check out those sections of the site too.

Welcome, Fabric Spot!

Sunday, 25 May 2014


Scrap{Bee} 2.0 was nominated for the Viewer's Choice category for the Blogger's Quilt Festival! There are so many gorgeous quilts in the festival that I'm blown away and so honoured that Scrap{Bee} 2.0 was nominated at all! Thank you!

Voting has started for all the categories so be sure to head over to Amy's Creative Side to vote for your favourites. 650 entries this festival -- what a feast for the eyes and soul!

Scrap{Bee} 2.0 is in the ROYBGIV category and now the Viewer's Choice category of the Blogger's Quilt Festival.

Hope you get a chance to check out the inspiration at the Festival and vote for your favourites. I won't be hurt if you vote for someone's else quilt though. I promise! :)

Wednesday, 21 May 2014


We had a gorgeous long weekend here, celebrating Victoria Day. My guerrilla gardening attempt for this year has begun and I hope to finish up today. Not sure why I bother, but I keep hoping my black thumb may turn green someday. Most of what I did last year did survive so maybe my thumb is more charcoal now. :)

We're doing needlebook swaps for the Ottawa Modern Quilt Guild this month. I drew Laura's name. She stipulated that she didn't want pastels or solids. No solids?! I've been teasing her that I'm pulling all the solid pastels from my stash just for her needlebook. And she will looooove it! ;)

A needlebook is one of those things that's been on my to do list for eons, but I just haven't got around to making one yet. For directions, I checked out these great tutorials:

And then I decided to do my own thing. There's that inability to follow patterns again. Ahem.

I know Laura likes Essex Linen and Charley Harper fabrics so I pulled out those (love that teal fabric!). I decided to make two needlebooks, just in case one didn't turn out well.

I also pulled out my grandmother's button tin to find a good button. She collected all her spare buttons for years so there are some fabulous vintage finds in there. I picked out a light one first and then the dark one. I think I prefer the dark one, but I'll let Laura decide which she prefers.

A little pocket inside with a spot for a stitch ripper and space for embroidery thread since I know Laura likes doing hand stitch embellishments.

Hopefully Laura will like one of these, but if she doesn't, I guess I'll just have to make her a solid pastel extravaganza. ;)

Hope it's beautiful and sunny wherever you are!

Saturday, 17 May 2014

TGIFF! - Min

What an interesting exercise this foray into Minimalism has been! I loved reading your comments and hearing your opinions about the quilting and what would make it minimal.

When it came to the quilting, it was interesting that matchstick was brought up many times -- approved of and disapproved of in almost equal measure. It raised the question for me of whether one has to use a minimalist process (e.g. only a few quilting lines) to achieve a minimalist look or whether a simple final look is okay even if the process is more elaborate (e.g. matchstick quilting)?

When I first envisioned this project, I had planned to do matchstick quilting, hoping the simple texture would cancel the elaborate quilting process.

I added a black line of quilting on either side of the black fabric and started with 1/2" vertical lines in white Aurifil #2021 to see if that was enough. I should have taken a picture of it at that stage, but it didn't feel completed so I filled it in with matchstick quilting.

This is Min (let's be minimalist with the name too, why don't we?):

I'm not sure if the matchstick quilting detracts from the minimalist look, but I love it. I find it warms it a bit and I just love the texture.

I used a non-mitred facing binding (tutorial available here) so the binding wasn't visible. Adds to the clean look, I think.

Finished Size: 21" by 39.5".

So is Min Minimalist? According to minimalist principles, it is pretty objective (doesn't really look like anything else I've made), it is simple, it focusses on line, it uses only two non-colours, and there's no obvious binding. That said, it uses traditional materials (cloth and thread) and the quilting gives it a lot of texture.

I'll let others be the judge, but I'm liking it. A lot more than I thought I would. Yay!

Even though it's Saturday here, TGIFF! is still on over with Kelly at My Quilt Infatuation so I'm going to link up and head over to enjoy the other finishes.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Friday, 16 May 2014

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Winner

Thank you all for entering this giveaway. I loved reading your comments and daydreaming about all those great colour combinations you shared!

According to Ms. Random Number Generator, the winner of this bundle of fat quarters...


I follow via bloglovin.

Congratulations, Rachel! I've sent you an email.

FYI, Ms. RNG went through two no reply bloggers (who also didn't leave their email addresses in their comments) before Rachel. You guys might want to check your settings.

Bloggers Quilt Festival - Scrap{Bee} 2.0

I was planning on sharing the results of my minimalist quilt exercise today, but when I started taking pictures this morning, there were some rather noticeable water stains from removing a stain the other day. So it's in the wash right now. Fingers crossed! Lesson learned - don't bother spot cleaning a white quilt, just wash the whole thing! Barring any other quilty hiccups, I'll share it tomorrow.

No worries though because the Blogger's Quilt Festival starts today! Woo Hoo! I love this festival and always come away inspired and motivated to try something new. Thanks to Amy for organizing such a great event!

I decided to share my Scrap{Bee} 2.0 for the festival. It certainly feels like my biggest quilty accomplishment (literally and figuratively) over the last few months and I'm just so happy with how it turned out. :)

This quilt began as a challenge to use my more traditional fabric scraps in a modern design. I enlisted the help of my Don't Worry {Bee} Happy bee mates in 2012-13 for making most of the blocks. Huge thanks to these wonderful women:

Katie @ There & Back
Charlotte @ Twelfth Zodiac
Chelsea @ Pins and Bobbins
Elyse @ ElyseSusanDesign
Alisha @ A Squared Craft Affair
Marian @ LookWhatLadyFaceMade
Heather @ Winding Bobbins
Rebecca @ Sew Festive
Bianca @ Sweet Diesel Designs

Previous posts about this quilt and how I made it can be found hereherehere, and here.

The full frontal:

Each coloured square is quilted with a different motif in the coordinating colour. The background was improv quilted using a cream coloured Aurifil thread (thread colours below).

The backing is pieced with scraps from the front and some beige yardage from my stash.

This quilt has been a test at almost every step of the way, but I've learned so much and tried some new things throughout the process. My lessons learned can be found here.

Fabrics: Colours - scraps, Neutrals - Kona Parchment, Raffia, Bone, Oyster, Ivory, Natural, Cream, Eggshell, Champagne, Putty, Tan, Wheat, Sand and Essex Linen. Backing - Scraps
Thread: Aurifils 2000, 2314, 2140, 4093, 1243, 1320, 1135, 2581, 2740, 2460, 2870, 5017, 2875, 5124, 1104, 1100, 2885, 1240 and Gutermann 2626
Batting: Hobbs Heirloom

Finished size: 86.5" by 86.5".

I'm putting this in the ROYBGIV category of the Blogger's Quilt Festival. Hope you get a chance to check out the inspiration at the Festival and participate!

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Off and Running With The Running Stitch

Happy Thursday, all! I am happy to announce that The Running Stitch has become a sponsor for my blog. Yay!

The Running Stitch is a fabulous quilt shop here in the Kanata area of Ottawa. Michèle Santerre, the owner of the shop, and her team know just how to tempt you with a gorgeous selection of fabrics, books, patterns and notions.

RunningStitchLogo_smallIn fact, this Saturday, May 17th, they are tempting us with a Buy 3m, get the 4th free sale (*Fabric must be full metre cuts and be of equal or lesser value) so if you are in the area, check it out!

Walking into their shop is like going to a quilt show, with beautiful quilts and projects everywhere to provide inspiration.

They also have a great selection of classes, which you can now sign up for online. Hand and machine quilting, paper piecing, applique, color theory, art quilting, and modern quilting -- they cover the gamut of quilty interests out there. They also run a retreat and bring in well-known quilters and teachers for trunk shows and special events. They brought Ricky Tims in last August and I'm still kicking myself for not being able to go!

The Running Stitch also offers long-arm machine quilting services and sells sewing machines in a recently enhanced sewing centre. They are our local Bernina dealer and it's where I got my Bernina (LOVE!) and where I bring it for servicing every year. Great service!

They are constantly updating their website so be sure to check it out regularly.

Welcome to The Running Stitch! I'm so thrilled to have you aboard!

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

An Exercise in Minimalism

I caught a documentary on Herb and Dorothy Vogel, the proletarian art collectors, on the weekend and was intrigued by the type of art they collected. They focussed on conceptual art and minimalist art. It was the minimalist art that intrigued me. I don't particularly like minimalist art because I usually find it cold, but I also don't understand it very well either. I started reading more about it. And I started thinking. You know that spells trouble, eh?

What might a minimalist quilt look like?

I considered different quilt styles. Wholecloth? Although the top is not pieced, the quilting often has trapunto and is usually pretty elaborate so no, probably not whole cloth, unless it was done differently. Amish? Simple style, yes, but still more elaborate than minimalist art. Gee's Bend/Improv? No, don't think so.

There's Alissa Haight Carlton's book, Modern Minimal, for good inspiration. There's also Lindsay Stead's quilts. Yum! I also found a great Pinterest board of inspiration.

What's über minimalist though? Something that's basic to art? What's a fundamental part of art and design? A line? Yes, let's go with a line.

Using the rule of thirds in design, I put in a 1" black strip of fabric in a 23" by 44" piece of white (Kona Snow). I want this piece to be one of the quilts that I rotate in our kitchen so it will be about the same size as Happy Canada Day, Eh! and Purplelicious. I chose this rough size to account for shrinkage from the quilting and trimming.

There. That's pretty minimalist, right?

But wait, it's not a quilt yet. What might minimalist quilting look like? Is it barely quilted or just simply quilted? Is it quilted at all? Thoughts?

Find out how my challenge turned out on Friday. Oh, and I'm also keeping track of the time and materials spent on this to do another Value and Worth exercise. :)

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day & Blogiversary

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day kind of snuck up on me this year. Luckily I was already planning a giveaway for my blogiversary (three years this week!). Yay!

If you are new here, welcome! I'm M-R and I live in Ottawa, Canada with the hubster and my three wild things (9, 7, and 4). I quilt. A lot. It lasts longer than housework. :)

I put together this little purple, yellow and grey combo for you from Mad About Patchwork. Mmmm...

To win this bundle of fat quarters, just leave a comment telling me what your favourite colour combo is these days. Followers get a bonus entry -- just leave a comment. For another bonus entry, follow me on Facebook or Twitter and leave me a comment saying so. 

No reply bloggers, please leave your email address in your comment, otherwise I'll need to pick someone else. This giveaway is open until Friday, May 16 at 8 p.m. EDT. The winner will be chosen via Ms. Random Number Generator and announced on May 17th. I usually reply to comments, but I don't think I'll be able to keep up so I'll thank you for entering now and I wish you good luck! For other great giveaways this week, check out Sew Mama Sew.

Before I go, I thought I share a few photos I was able to get this weekend. With the gorgeous weather we had, I 'made' the boys take me to the Tulip Festival this weekend for Mother's Day. Some tulips were open, but many are just days away from opening. Next weekend should be phenomenal. Can you tell I'm working on the 'close up with the fuzzy background'? ;)

Have a good one!

Saturday, 10 May 2014

It's a 50% off Kind of Weekend

(This post contains affiliate links which means, I will be compensated if you purchase after clicking these links.)

I checked out the Common Thread Quilt Guild Show yesterday that's running this weekend and it was so much fun. A great mix of traditional, art and modern quilts. Unfortunately, I can't share the photos I took on the blog, as they said no 'publishing' of photos. I also found some great goodies in the merchant mall, which I'll share later this week. 

Speaking of shopping, Craftsy's having a Birthday Flash Sale! Get select online classes at up to 50% off for a limited time only. Lots of classes with low prices, including the Shoot It! photography course I'm taking with Caro Sheridan. Offer expires May 11th at 11:59pm MT. Shop Craftsy's Birthday Flash Sale!

I also noticed that Fabricland/Fabricville is having a members' sale this weekend too. 50% off there too!

Perfect timing for Mothers' Day, eh? 

And speaking of Mothers' Day, for those in North America, have a wonderful Mothers Day tomorrow!

Thursday, 8 May 2014

TGIFF! - Fibonacci Is Not Random - Part 3

I had a wonderful time teaching my Modern Free Motion Quilting Sampler Workshop at The Country Quilter yesterday. Such great, hard working students! I suspect they all slept well last night. ;) The second class for May 22nd is now full so we've added a third for Thursday, June 5th. Yay!


Welcome to TGIFF!, where every finish deserves a celebration. After Scrap{Bee} 2.0, I needed something a little simpler and smaller to finish. Another piece of my Fibonacci Is Not Random triptych was just the ticket.

This is Part 3 of the triptych. It uses block measurements from the Fibonacci sequence up to 13" -- 1", 2", 3", 5", 8" and 13".  It was made back in 2003-ish for our old dining room. It was damaged a few years later so has sat waiting in my WIP pile to be fixed. It's done! Woo hoo!

The quilting isn't what I had pictured doing when I first made this back in 2003, but I didn't know how do to do this style of quilting then either. I do love the texture this quilting gives pieces. These triangles are my favourite section of the quilting. 

I used Aurifil # 2312, with some accent lines in gold thread.

Remember how I mentioned how much quilt shrinkage there was with Scrap{Bee} 2.0? Well, even on this small quilt that was 13" wide by 31.5" long, the tighter quilting I added reduced the quilt to 12.25" by 31".  I lost 3/4" on the width and 1/2" on the height. And this is a small piece!

The quilt underneath is Part 1in the triptych
and it is the same size as Part 3 was. 
The back:

An interesting post on Explorations in Stitch about straddling the modern/traditional quilting divide that is worth checking out! Thanks for the shout out, Jo! 

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Rainbow Creek - A Work in Progress

Up A Creek turned into this:

Hmm. I don't know. I'm very happy with the Charcoal background (the colours look better against it in person), but I think some work needs to be done to adjust the green and blue sections. They feel a little rougher than the yellow/orange/red sections. And possibly move the light pink to the top. Thoughts?

Monday, 5 May 2014

Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner

So I think you liked the Minimalista fabric, eh? Ms. Random Number Generator picked...

I like your Facebook page too :) Generous giveaway!

Thank you and congratulations, Amy! It was a generous giveaway indeed! Thank you again to Sew Sisters Quilt Shop for sponsoring this fabulous giveaway. Don't forget that Minimalista and plenty of other great Art Gallery Fabrics are on sale at Sew Sisters right now.

My three year blogiversary is coming up so you know there will be another giveaway soon. I'll be on the lookout for something special at the merchant mall at the Common Thread Quilt Guild Show this coming weekend here in Ottawa.

I'll leave you with this, 'cause don't we all need a little more Colin Firth? ;)
Quilting Blog - Cactus Needle Quilts, Fabric and More
Found on Pinterest

Friday, 2 May 2014

TGIFF! - Scrap{Bee} 2.0!

If you haven't had a chance to enter the Sew Sisters Quilt Shop giveaway yet, you can do so here. It's sew sweet!


Also, I'll be teaching another Free Motion Quilting Sampler workshop on Thursday, May 22nd at The Country Quilter in Richmond, Ontario from 10-4 p.m. There are only a few spots left. Very exciting!


On to the main event! Scrap{Bee} 2.0 is done! Woo hoo! The silver lining of having a cold last week was that I felt totally fine just sitting my butt down on the couch and finishing the binding, while watching movie after movie.

This quilt was started with my Don't Worry {Bee} Happy bee in 2012-13. I wanted to challenge myself to use my more traditional fabric scraps in a modern design. Thank you, thank you, thank you to my bee mates for making most of the blocks:

Katie @ There & Back
Charlotte @ Twelfth Zodiac
Chelsea @ Pins and Bobbins
Elyse @ ElyseSusanDesign
Alisha @ A Squared Craft Affair
Marian @ LookWhatLadyFaceMade
Heather @ Winding Bobbins
Rebecca @ Sew Festive
Bianca @ Sweet Diesel Designs

Previous posts about this quilt and how I made it can be found here, here, here, and here.

The full frontal:

Each coloured square is quilted with a different motif in the coordinating colour. The background was improv quilted using a cream coloured Aurifil thread (thread colours below).

The backing is pieced with scraps from the front and some beige yardage from my stash.

As I've mentioned before, this quilt has been a test at almost every step of the way, but I've learned so much and tried some new things throughout the process:
  • First time doing improv piecing.
  • First time using Essex Linen. Definitely pre-wash!
  • First time finishing the quilt top and then taking it apart again to change the layout. 
  • First time trying this binding technique (Thanks Heather!).  
  • This design does not use as many scraps as I was hoping it would and way more Kona neutrals. LOL!
  • Use colour catchers for blocking a quilt too, not just for washing the quilt once it's done. SprayNWash OxiAction worked though. Phew!
  • Essex linen is thicker than Kona, but it is only noticeably so in the binding where it is doubled. 
  • This quilt really drove home the point that the quilting can really shrink the size of the quilt so take that into account when making your quilt top. It was 93" square before quilting and now it's 86.5". There was a little trimming to square it up, but that's crazy shrinkage!
  • First time doing an indoor photo shoot using lights and a tripod, as recommended by Maria Elkins' tutorial and the Shoot That Quilt! site. Getting better!
Fabrics: Colours - scraps, Neutrals - Kona Parchment, Raffia, Bone, Oyster, Ivory, Natural, Cream, Eggshell, Champagne, Putty, Tan, Wheat, Sand and Essex Linen. Backing - Scraps
Thread: Aurifils 2000, 2314, 2140, 4093, 1243, 1320, 1135, 2581, 2740, 2460, 2870, 5017, 2875, 5124, 1104, 1100, 2885, 1240 and Gutermann 2626
Batting: Hobbs Heirloom

Finished size: 86.5" by 86.5".

Now I have a quilt for our guest bed. Who's coming for a visit? ;)

This is also my first finish for my Q2 FAL goals. :)

Finish Along 2014

Linking up with Laura at Quokka Quilts for TGIFF! Come join us!

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