Wednesday, 31 December 2014

A Quilty Look Back at 2014

With the craziness of the Fall, I actually forgot that I had set out some goals for 2014. Oops. So let's see how I did then. Fingers crossed...

Goals for 2014:

We're definitely keeping it simple this year because I will be returning to the paid work world. Hopefully soon. I'll still be keeping up the blog though, but I doubt I'll be as productive as the last few years. C'est la vie!  The return to the paid work took a lot longer than hoped and this is true since I started the new job in September, but it was still a pretty productive year holus bolus. :) 

1. Finish Falling for Stripes pattern! Maybe design another one? Hmm. I worked on it. I did do another one, Modern Totems, which also almost finished. Writing good patterns is hard, but I think I have more of a mental block on this. Maybe I'll just blame it on the EU VAT taxes. ;)
2. Triage my WIPS and UFOs. Seriously, some of them just need to be put out of their misery. Some completed -- Fibonacci Is Not Random. Yay! Others added to the list. Boo! Triage? What?
3. Quilt for the guest room. Yes! Yes! Scrap{Bee} 2.0!
4. Quilt for oldest son's bed. Yes! Rainbow Creek
5. Quilt for youngest son. Cobbler's child, that one. He received a hoodie for Christmas and asked who it belonged to before him! LOL! Um, no. We started a placemat for him though. Okay, that just sounds sad. 
6. More scrappiness and more working with prints. Still love my solids, but I'd like to get better at mixing and using prints. Working on it.
7. Drawing/Sketching/Zendoodling. Yes, working on it. 
8. Organize my sewing studio. :) Yes, here and here!

Not bad, considering that I forgot about these goals for the latter half of the year. There have also been a number of other quilty highlights and milestones in 2014 that weren't accounted for in my goals list. 

1. Happy Canada Day, Eh! was accepted and shown at Quilt Canada 2014 in St. Catharine's. Still pinching myself for this one!
2. I started accepting sponsors for Quilt Matters and I'm so thrilled that these fabulous stores on the left hand sidebar support Quilt Matters. Thank you to my sponsors for your support and thank you to my readers for supporting them!
3. I started teaching two workshops - Modern Free Motion Quilting and Modern Totems. Such a thrill to see students' work!
4. I continued speaking for guilds and added a new lecture - Bring Out Those True Colours - to the line up. So much fun!

Quilts completed in 2014:

Other sewing projects from 2014:

Thank you for indulging me in this look back at 2014 and for taking the journey with me this past year. I always look forward to your comments, feedback and suggestions. They truly make my day!

Tomorrow we'll talk about some goals for 2015. What are you hoping to do next year?

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Modern Block Monday - Flip!

The November block for our Ottawa Modern Quilt Guild bee was simple and straightforward. Kirstin asked us to make 15 wonky HSTs (tutorial) using our scraps with a background she provided. We were to leave the blocks separate so she could mix them all together. I had fun revisiting scraps from a lot of the projects I made this year.

Once I had them made, I played a little with the layout:

Flipped them this way:

Flipped them around again:

Really intrigued with this last layout. Thinking wonky Christmas trees. Must be the season. LOL! 

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Boxing Week Specials

Mr. Chompey says, "Boxing Week treats await you!"
Wondering what quilty Boxing Week deals are out there? Well, my wonderful sponsors have a few things on the go that might interest you.

FabricSpark is having a Mystery Fat Quarter event until December 31. Pick a minimum 1 yard of fabric and Daryl will add a coordinating fat quarter. She has fabulous taste so you know you'll get something fun. She also has over a 100 fabrics priced to clear!

Mad About Patchwork is having a 12 Days of Christmas sale. 20% off over 190 beautiful fabrics until January 6th. Coupon code 12DAYS at checkout. Yay!

Craftsy's Year-End Clearance Sale year end sale is also on! Starting today, you can get up to 65% off ALL fabric, yarn and kits. Stock up while supplies last! Offer expires at midnight on December 30th, 2014 at 11:59 PM MT.

The Running Stitch is closed until January 1st, but they reopen with a 7th Anniversary Sale on January 2-7, 2015. Buy 6 and get the 7th free (except Bernina products)! Woo hoo!

Happy shopping!

Friday, 26 December 2014

There Are Good Days...

Happy Holidays all! I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season, whatever you celebrate! It was a bit of a whirlwind leading up to it, but we had a very Merry Christmas around here. Definitely a good day!

And then there are the not-so-good days. Even in the studio. We had an ornament exchange at the Ottawa Modern Quilt Guild this year and I was paired with the lovely Stephanie!

After scouring Pinterest for sewn ornament ideas, I thought I'd make her a Christmas light bulb ornament, using fussy cut print fabric. It started out okay, but when it came to hand finishing the opening, things went all wonky. Literally.

Can't see the problem? How about this angle?

Um, yeah. No!

Let's try again. Handstitching with felt this time... Gotta work on getting a more even buttonhole stitch, but overall much better.

Yes, those are real French knots, made by moi. Had to watch the video twice to figure out what I was doing wrong the first seven times I tried the knot, but I got it in the end. 

As 2014 draws to a close, I'm very glad and thankful that the good days in 2014 far outweighed the bad days, both in the studio and outside of it! I hope it was the same for you!

It may be small, this is definitely a TGIFF! so I'm linking up with this week's TGIFF host, Lorna of Sew Fresh Quilts

Have a great one!

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Playing with Design

I have not been getting a lot of time in the studio these days, I must say, but I have been sketching a bunch of designs. 

I took a few of those designs and tried them in EQ7. Yes, I bit the bullet and got it. Early Christmas present? Yes! :)

Fibonacci Flow - uses the Fibonacci sequence up to 5. Dying to make this one using a fat eighth bundle of shot cottons I have. The colours will change, but this is the idea. 

Have you heard of Quilt Design a Day? This Facebook group's goal is to "spend a little time (15-20 minutes) each day, creating a quilt design. The design can be as simple or as complex as you like. To spark our creativity, we have users contribute images and color palettes for inspiration. In addition to producing a design daily, QDAD helps members strengthen their creative process and hone their creative style by sharing constructive feedback." (From the group's description on Facebook)

I joined in September, but have only completed one design to date. No plans to make this one, but it's fun to play with.

Looking forward to doing some more though! Goal for 2015? Hmmm...

Have a great day!

Sunday, 14 December 2014

What Makes A Great Bee Block?

January Block for EP
Grey and white provided - Tutorial
Do you enjoy being part of online (and offline) quilt bees? I do. I like that it forces me to try blocks and colour palettes that I might normally be too intimidated or lazy to try. It's a great way to try something new, without committing yourself to a whole quilt!

I often struggle when it's my turn to be Queen Bee though because I can't decide what to ask my bee mates to make.

I've found that the most successful bee quilts are those that leverage something dominant and make it consistent throughout all of the blocks, whether it's the background, the feature fabrics, the colours, or the design.

I thought I'd share the criteria I use for picking blocks:
  • Everyone's 1/4" seam is a little different so I usually choose a block with a lot of background fabric so I can trim down or add to it when I get all the blocks back.
  • I love stash bust blocks. I like the scrappy look so I try to find a block that gives people a chance to use their scraps.  
  • That said, I also often provide some or all of the fabric so that the quilt will have a unified look. 
  • Provide a colour palette or some colour guidance without being too prescriptive. E.g. aqua fabrics and red fabrics, but not aqua fabrics that have orange and white accents and red fabrics with aqua and white accents. I don't want my bee mates to have to go shopping if it's a stash bust bee, so if I have something that specific in mind, I provide the fabric.
  • Choose something fairly easy for bee mates to do in about an hour or less. The more complicated it is, the more bee mates may put it off. That said, some of my favourite bee blocks that I've made for others have been very complicated and I've absolutely adored them.
  • I try to pick a block that allows bee mates to use their creativity, whether it's in the fabric selection, the block design or the piecing (e.g. improv piecing). 
  • Provide a good tutorial and/or clear instructions for the block. 
Please keep in mind that these are just my personal preferences to date. You may have other criteria and I'd love if you shared them in the comments. Aren't we always looking for new ideas?

Here are a few of my favourite blocks over the years:

Simply Woven - All fabrics provided:

Weathervane - Centre square fabric and colour palette provided: 

Arrows - Colour palette provided and low volume background requested: 

Circle of Squares - Background fabric provided, solids bee:

Scrappy Trip - A couple of fabrics provided:

Cross stitch - All fabrics provided:

Improv - All fabrics provided:

Slash and insert block - All fabric provided:

Modern Butterfly - Background and aqua fabric provided: 

Mod Mosaic - Background, colour palette and most fabrics provided:

Confetti Block - Background provided, solids bee:


Snowflake Block - Sashing provided, solids bee:

Snowflake Block

Feathers - Background provided:

March OMQG Bee 2 Block

And how do those quilts turn out? Well, I've only fully finished one quilt from bee blocks so far.

This quilt was made with blocks from my Don't Worry {Bee} Happy bee. I provided all of the fabrics for the blocks and provided a tutorial for my bee mates to improv piece the blocks.
Scrap{Bee} 2.0
Made with blocks from my Simply Solids bee (Carmine group) - Top is together, but the rest is still to bee (ha ha) finished.

How about you? What are your favourite bee blocks to make and receive?

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Giveaway Day Winner

Hope you all are having a fabulous weekend! It's a beautiful snowy day here. I do love Ottawa in the winter...when I'm dressed for it. :)

I'm glad Ms. Random Number Generator is choosing the winner of my giveaway, because there were so many fabulous colour combo suggestions from you all that I could never pick just one!

According to Ms. Random Number Generator, the winner of this bundle of holiday-but-not-too-holiday fat quarters is....

Congratulations, GranChris! I've sent you an email asking for your mailing address.

It's blues and greens for me.

Thank you all for entering!

I'll be back tomorrow with a post about bee blocks. How do you pick your bee blocks? Tips or suggestions? Pet peeves? I'll be sharing my thoughts tomorrow.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

TGIFF! - It Figures It's Modern Totems

Welcome to TGIFF!, where every finish deserves to be celebrated!

I'm sharing my Modern Totems quilt that is made with the Figures by Zen Chic fabric line paired with some Kona white. Except the binding. The binding was Serena Blue Diamonds by Windham Fabrics. The backing is the Numbers fabric from IKEA. :)

For the quilting, I used Aurifil #2024 for doing straight-line quilting and some wavy-line stitching with my walking foot.

For the wavy-line quilting, I took one of the decorative stitches on my machine (#4 for those of you with a Bernina 440 QE) and elongated it so it gives me uniform wavy lines.

This quilt is 54" by 58". 

Thinking of trying this pattern next with rainbow solids and charcoal backing. Mmmm...

Monday, 8 December 2014

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day!

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day is here! Woo hoo!

If you are new here, welcome! I'm M-R and I live in Ottawa, Canada with the hubster and my three wild things (10, 7, and 5). I quilt. A lot. It lasts longer than housework and it keeps me sane. :)

This is my most recent finish -- October Sky:

I'll be sharing another finish this Friday when I it's my turn to host TGIFF, a touring linky party that celebrates those hard-earned finishes! Have a recent finish yourself? Come and link up!

Feeling festive, I put together this holiday-but-not-too-holiday combo of 5 fat quarters for the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day. 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 telling me how you follow (via Bloglovin', Feedly, etc.). 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, December 12th at 8 p.m. EDT. The winner will be chosen via Ms. Random Number Generator and announced on December 13th. I don't think I'll be able to keep up with comments 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.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

It Figures It's Modern Totems - A Finished Top

Happy Thursday, all! I taught my Modern Totems workshop for the Ottawa Valley Quilt Guild last weekend. So much fun!

I love seeing the different fabrics that people pick for this pattern (yes, it's still in the works, but I'm slow). One person used a couple of Pretty Potent charm packs paired with a browny blue shot cotton. It's going to be gorgeous. Another used purples, oranges and greys I think, paired with a white. Beautiful and fresh! Someone else used a more traditional fabric line paired with a white tone-on-tone paisley fabric and it looked fabulous too. It's proving to be a pretty versatile pattern. Woo hoo!

I finished up my top last night.

It uses a Figures by Zen Chic charm pack paired with Kona white. I'm thinking alternating straight-line and squiggly-line quilting on the vertical for this one. :)

Monday, 1 December 2014

Modern Christmas Tree Blocks

I'm Queen Bee for my Canadians Quilt Bee for December. It took me a long time to decide what to pick for my block, but I've decided to embrace the holiday season and ask my bee mates to make some abstract modern Christmas trees -- okay, just triangles and no trunks. ;)

I am picturing Christmas trees arranged in groups and scattered over a lot of white background. Works for the season, but not too Christmassy.

Here are a couple of test ones that I made:

I made these with a paper-pieced pattern I designed. If you'd like to do one too, use this PDF Pattern for Modern Christmas Tree Block 1. It makes an 8.5" unfinished block. I then added 4.5" strips on two sides, making it 12.5" unfinished.

This is another paper-pieced block. PDF Pattern for Modern Christmas Tree Block 2 also has 4.5" strips added to two sides, making a 12.5" unfinished block.

I can't wait to see what my bee mates come up with!
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