A Capital Swap

I love how the quilting community works. Last year, Robin from the Washington DC Modern Quilt Guild (DCMQG) contacted me about doing a swap between the DCMQG and the Ottawa Modern Quilt Guild. Heck ya said my guild mates (okay, I may be paraphrasing).

The challenge was this - DCMQG members would make a pillowcase or mini quilt (approx. 15" square) reflecting Ottawa or Canada for their Canadian partners and the OMQG members would do the same but reflect DC or USA for their American partners.

I have been contemplating an Americanized version of my Happy Canada Day, eh? quilt for some time and thought it might be fun to make a mini one for my partner, Jamie from Busy Bee Quilts (@beacraftygirl on Instagram).

The mini I made for Jamie had magenta, her favourite colour, for the flag stripes. Aqua pairs nicely for the outer star and the big giggle was the Sweetwater Road 15 fabric for the inner star. It has a lot of the U.S. state names on it, which are also streets in DC.



For the quilting, I went with matchstick in the stripes and straight line echoes in the stars. Simple, but I hope, effective.


The back.


I was delighted to receive Jamie's mini quilt. She knew I liked rainbow so she made this awesome rainbow maple leaf mini.


I love the colours paired with the black and white prints. 



I'm not the only one who used Road 15. Great minds... ;)


Jamie sent along these great crab socks too because Maryland (where she is) is known for it's blue crabs. Will have to give them a try some day.


Check out this beautiful backing too!


Thank you Jamie for a gorgeous mini! And thanks to OMQG and DCMQG for a capital swap!

Modern Block Monday - BeeSewcial - Let's Get Comfortable

While January's Linear theme for BeeSewcial was a good challenge, February's theme was a stretch to say the least. Actually, that was the theme -- Stretch! Karen (@capitolaquilter on Instragram) had us design and make blocks in 'denim' colours with neutrals using the Stretch theme. So interesting and so challenging. After the initial relief of realizing that we weren't working in actual denim, I will admit thinking, "What did I get myself into?!" No, I can do this! I think.

Her inspirational photos and instructions were very helpful. I took the organic roots photo as inspiration for my blocks. I started building out one block of organic curving lines. Once it got to about 14" square, I cut it into 2 to make the foundation of both blocks. I added an inset 'jean hole' to break up the negative space on one of the blocks. The blocks didn't turn out like the inspirational photo I started with, but I'm happy with where they went.


Block 1 for @capitolaquilter's STRETCH challenge #beesewcial #inspiredbybeesewcial #improvlove #beeblocks @aquilterstable @playcrafts @spontaneousthreads @marci_girl @felicityquilts @quiltsforthemaking


Block 2 for @capitolaquilter's STRETCH challenge #beesewcial #beeblocks #inspiredbybeesewcial #improvlove @entropyalwayswins @felicityquilts @spontaneousthreads @aquilterstable @marci_girl @shecanquilt @playcrafts @quiltsforthemaking

One beemate thought they looked like ligaments. Huh. Hadn't even thought of that, but it's true!

To see more of what this bee is up to, check out #beesewcial on Instagram and if you'd like to play along, you can post your blocks to #inspiredbybeesewcial. Come play!

Colour Palette Play

On the way home from QuiltCon, the #ottmqgdrinkingteam, as we named the OMQG contingent at QuiltCon 2016, had some time to kill while waiting for our flight. After the excitement of a star spotting (which took me a month to figure out his name -- sorry Ken!), we got down to some play time. We couldn't let the QuiltCon good times end just yet.

I pulled out my box of Denyse Schmidt fat quarters (yes, I might have overpacked for Gwen Marston's Small Studies Improv class...oops) and wrangled my barely awake guild mates into a palette picker game. There's a tongue twister here, I think; How many palettes can a palette picker pick, if a palette picker could pick palettes? 18, apparently. 

Thanks @alisonharle for getting this photo!
An intense discussion about which green worked better with the palette. @aboutkirstin was laying bets about whether @slostudio and I would come to blows. True story. Not. ;)
Anyways, at first it was just putting together some colour palettes that we liked or thought worked well together. But then we got more daring and provided a challenge fabric to start us off. For me, that's usually brown or yellow. The results of our pre-boarding play are below.





















It was really fun to see what palettes each of us picked -- different styles and colour preferences made for some really interesting combinations. There were a few I never would have thought worked, but they did!

Hope you enjoyed following along with our game. :)

Q2 2016 Finish-A-long Goals

It's Q2 pledge time for the 2016 Finish-Along. Like last quarter, my list is going to be more ambitious than realistic, but it gives me the flexibility to finish whatever I feel like finishing. Let's see where the winds take us this quarter.

1) Separation of Church and State - I'm all over this one so there's a good chance I will get this one done this quarter at least. And it's small. :)



2) Rainbow House - the top is done and I still haven't got a good picture of the top -- it's huge! 



3) Heart Strings - some hand stitching and quilting to go. I would really like to finish this one too. 


4) If A Tree Falls - top is assembled! 


5) Glibly Blithe - Let's get this together! And a better picture -- so hard to get good photos in the winter.



6) Going Fractal - needs to be sandwiched and quilted. 


Linking up with the fabulous peeps for the 2016 Finish-Along. What are you hoping to finish this quarter?

Separation of Church and State - A Work in Progress

The improv bug has definitely hit. That paired with overflowing scrap bins made doing some improv piecing a good idea this week. I separated my scraps into two piles -- brights and tones. This is what I did with some of the tones.

It's a puzzle:


Added a grey stripe and the improv pieces felt done:


Then I had a thought to add a border to showcase the quilting I had in mind. Also the border would help contain the busyness of the improv piecing.

Trying out some greys:


And then some Essex linen:


In the end, I switched out the grey for natural Essex linen and there it was -- Separation of Church and State.


I'll let you decide which section is which. Any guesses? ;)

Hope you are having a wonderful weekend!

TGIFF! - Colour Pop!

Woo hoo! Colour Pop is done! Happy dance! This quilt started in an Elizabeth Olwen quilt design class with the Ottawa Modern Quilt Guild last April.

It was time to break into my black and white fabric collection and try something new for me. Okay, the rainbow isn't new, but it's all prints!

Here are the elements I wanted to play with in this quilt:

  • Asymmetrical design
  • Progression of the values of black and white prints outward from the rainbow
  • Progression of the size of the coloured triangles
  • Ruler quilting
  • Getting more comfortable with prints

I am very, very happy with the design. :)


It fits perfectly!




I talked a little more about my experience with ruler quilting in this post. I will say this -- while I love the look of ruler quilting, it was very hard on my hands and arms and I probably won't try this again on a quilt this large.


When it came to the quilting, I did a concentric triangle in all of the black and white prints using a ruler and my favourite white Aurifil 2021 on both the front and the back. For the large coloured triangles, I did a different straight-line motif in each one in a matching thread colour.

I love this spirograph.







Here is the back - stuck with the black and white theme. It was the first time that I was successful at getting the pieced back to line up straight with the front. It's the little things, I tell you.



Final size: 53" by 71"

Some lessons learned:

  • All black and whites are not the same. While all of the prints looked to have the same white in my studio, when I took the top outside, I found that they were not. Since this quilt's natural habitat will not be outdoors, I didn't bother fixing it. 
  • I wanted to make sure that the strong backing did not show through to the front so I doubled the batting. Added bonus -- the quilting shows up more.
  • Because the triangles have bias edges, they can stretch more easily and I found there was some stretch along the edges of the quilt as I was quilting each triangle. To prevent or minimize this next time, I would quilt along the perimeter to stabilize the edges after I've done the grid quilting foundation and before I quilt in each triangle. Blocking the quilt also helped remove some of the waves along the edge. 
And the most important lesson with this quilt? EaseOut is awesome at getting rid of crayon or marker marks on black and white quilts. To be fair to my kids, it does look like a colour book. ;)

As this was finished during Q1 Finish-A-Long, you can bet I'm linking up there.

2016 FAL

I'm a little early, but I'm also linking up with my TGIFF peeps over with Cynthia this week.

Wholecloth Experiment

I've been mulling over an idea about doing a colourful wholecloth using the walking foot quilting technique I learned from Heather Lair,...