Saturday, December 31, 2011

Blogger's Choice Fat Quarter Bundle Challenge

I figured I should use some of my time off for some crafty blog reading time and came across the Blogger's choice Fat Quarter Bundle Challenge via Quokka Quilts. I've seen a few of the bloggers I follow creating their own bundles so I was excited to try my hand at it. I'm uber obsessed with 'novelty' fabrics and so I chose one I've been loving as the focal point Critter Community Brown Birds of a Feather:

From there I wanted fabrics that echoed the feather patterns and colours:

And a leaf print to pull out the tree element:

Then I just looked for colours/patterns I liked the look of with these et voila:
Here are the fabrics I used from (note to self - next time number selections on mosaic):
- Pure Elements Pure Orange Solid
- Crazy Daisy Yellow Rhythm
- Outfoxed Yellow and Olive Tossed Triangle
- Outfoxed Olive Fern Stripe
- Pure Elements Parisian Blue Solid
- Pure Organic Chartreuse Solid
- Pear Tree Bright Blue Waving Stripes
- Alien Friends Red Bubble Dot
- Critter Community Brown Birds of a Feather
- Get Together Green Hearts
- Mimosa Orange Chevron
- Anchors Away Orange Diamond Ikat
- Orange Crush Citrus Little Triangles
- Greenhouse Flannel Grass Buttonwood
(I didn't realize this was a flannel when i picked it for its leaf motif - oh well)
- Prince Charming Olive Green Scallop

Phew, that's the whole lot of them. That took a long time of testing out different fabrics to get this bundle and lots of searching to make sure I linked to the right fabrics. Now fingers crossed the judges like my selections.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Chevron Quilt

My little sister decided she wanted to make a quilt for one of her teachers, so I set out to try to find something simple she could tackle and fast enough to make that we could get it done in the 2 weeks notice she gave me (silly sister). We decided to keep costs down we'd do it in solids on the front and a solid piece of patterned fabric for the back.

She was inspired by a quilt she saw online in greys black white and yellow with scattered half triangles. It was beautiful but when we picked up the fabrics we forgot  picture and both of our goldfish memories forgot it needed 2 shades of grey. We came home with just yellow, off white 1 grey and black. The result wasn't great - too dark with either no contrast (the black & grey) or too much (the black & off white). It was a big pile of yuck on the design board and we had already sewn all of the blocks together. My sister went to work in a less than delighted mood that night and I kept at it trying to make it work. Then it hit me - I had seen a sweet pattern on Cluck Cluck Sew for a zig zag baby quilt that used up half square triangles, so maybe with a few tweak I could make something out of our mess.

I ran over to her shop and purchased the pattern - and was i lucky - she was having a half price sale one day only. i picked up 4 patterns while i was there (I'm a sucker for a sale) and within the hour was fixing up the quilt with this result (pre-quilted):

I echo quilted the zigs and zags and got it done just in the nick of time to machine sew on the scrappy binding using a decorative stitch and scrappy binding. Hew teacher loved it (she cried) and told her it was perfect for her baby's room as she was having a boy. I wasn't able to get any of pictures of the finished quilt myself so my sister took some on her iPhone before she wrapped it.

Mission complete. Mr Malcolm agreed.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Snow Day Playtime

It has been a while since I blogged. I blame daylight savings time. I can't stand going to work when it's light and feeling like I'm missing the day, and I don't like getting home in the dark feeling like I missed the whole day. It sucks big time. So, daylight savings time has sucked all the crafty life out of me lately.

That and the fact that my mum decided to do an intro quilting class (yeay mum!) which has meant my craft room is now her homework room. I forgot how heavy the homework for intro classes is - some weeks she had to finish 3 blocks, which not getting home at night until 6.30 or 7 some nights meant some epic quilting sessions. Hew sampler quilt is looking amazing! I will have to get it up on the design wall to sneak a few pictures.

The biggest bonus of my mum taking this class is that she bought a new Bernina 330 sewing machine that resides in my house. Score! Until mum decides if sewing is for her I get to keep it here to utilize. If she decides it isn't for her I'm going to buy the machine from her in installments. Woo woo!

Today was the first real snowy day in my neck of the woods which meant havoc on the driving to work this morning. We passed ditched cars, and kept hearing bad news reports all the way in. When we hit a big hill with stopped traffic we deiced to go home. Good thing too because the cars were stopped due to icy conditions on the hill and ditched cars, and on the way home it was near white-out conditions. Boo-urns! If only I could have convinced the driver to turn around earlier. Oh well. I called my boss to ask what it was like in town and it didn't sound promising, so she told me to turn around and stay put at home which I did gladly. I admit I am a worrier as a passenger in the winter driving months, but I think I was okay this morning.

Once I brushed off the snow and got my boots off I immediately got my craft room ready for a major sewing session. I had a new ruler and book that I have been meaning to use as well as some Anna Maria Horner Innocent Crush fabric so I set to it, and this is the result:

Since this photo 2 things have happened: 1) my camera died, and 2) I finished sewing this all together. It always amazes me how much I can accomplish in an unexpected day away from work, but a planned day I get nothing done. Sheesh. So, I'm off to the fabric shop this weekend (the 25% off coupon I have doesn't hurt) to get fabric for 2 borders for this guy. I want it a little bigger for a good snuggling quilt.
I got the idea from Strip-Smart Quilts by Kathy Brown (The Patchwork Place) and used a 90 degree triangle ruler.

So until the camera gets fixed (aka getting charged batteries) no more photos to share. I hope to have this one done this weekend if all goes to plan, but as things rarely do I'd be happy with it being done by the end of next week. It is a good distraction from thinking about my sister who is about to pop out my first nephew. Can't wait to see little Jasper on this side of the flesh.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Jasper Quilt

I just cast the last stitch on my nephew-to-be Jasper's quilt. It's not exactly what I pictured when I started, but I am happy with the result. Hopefully my sister likes it.

It is my second go at machine binding and I have to say it went much smoother this go around. I think next time I would cut the binding even wider - maybe even up to 3 inches just to give more wiggle room when stitching. Next up is a quick wash through the machine to get rid of any loose threads and copious amounts of cat fluff as Malcolm decided it was a nice place to snuggle up last night. Silly cat.
Please excuse the sad excuse for pictures of the quilt - photo booth on the laptop definitely has its limitations! 

 The front - I decided after finishing the top with the posts in that it wasn't what I liked so I had to unpick soooo many stitches, and redo all the rows. It was totally worth it though, because it looks way more modern without them.

I wanted to have a fully reversible quilt, so I pieced together a scrappy back using the solids from the front as well as the left over prints (in the center strip). I think I like the back better than the front just because it is so out there.

As much of a close up as photo booth would allow. I think the Greek key style quilting really worked on the front, and doesn't look too bad on the back. I was concerned when I first started that it would seem to random on the back, but I ended up liking the effect. It has shown me that my quilting skills need improvement, so I think I might make some quilted placemats to practice on. I do love the bamboo batting I picked up at Wilton Creek Fabrics. It seems to glide through better than the cotton stuff I had for my sampler quilt many moons ago.

Next up are napkins and coasters for little sister who is moving into her first apartment today. So exciting. As a bonus she is in school for esthetics - yeay to not paying ridiculous prices for waxing anymore. Hubbie has even donated his legs to her for waxing practice - now that will be an hilarious afternoon!!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Geo Grand Coasters

The one thing I love and hate about doing napkins are the scraps they produce. Mostly I tried to use the biggest scraps up making more napkins (here), but there are always scraps too small for this, so I decided to make some scrappy coasters to go with the napkins.
I realized after I finished the napkins that I missed one whole fabric from the Geo Grand line, so I made that the main fabric. I used a tutorial I found online (When I find it again I'll link to it). I got the measurements a bit out of whack as the main fabric is supposed to be wider (like the one bottom right), but I liked the greeny-blue fabrics better anyhow, and they are solid on the back so there is lots of brown there. I think next time I try this I would make them all differently sized & play around with the scraps a bit more getting more contrasts maybe with a few solids thrown in.

And as a bonus I got to use up some of my batting scraps to boot. Happy times!

Monday, September 5, 2011

You Don't Know Jack

Hubster has been at me for ages to make him a union jack quilt ever since he saw a pillow in a magazine. Given the odd angles to the union jack I couldn't quite figure out a pattern on my own in my few attempts and shelved the project until I could find a tutorial or pattern I liked. My other issue was that I am not a huge fan of red, white & blue together as it makes me think of the American flag vs. the British flag. (A condition of being Canadian I suppose). But when I saw the Jack tutorial I posted earlier I started to get excited about the possibilities of fabric combinations. (Please check out the original tutorial at Lily's Quilts here)

I have been holding onto some batiks I picked up at the local quilt store which I have been hoarding uncut as I didn't know if I could get anymore of them. I decided this project would be the right time to use so I created this:
I used the purple and teal colourways and added a Kona Solids stripe in ash left over from this project. I thought using batiks would be a smarty-pants idea as they don't really have a front/back. Here is where it went wrong. The pattern requires precise cutting (check, did that) and with that, definite ways to use the precision cut pieces. I should have marked the batiks 'right side' to keep the triangles in the orientation they required. Oops! So in the end I had backwards blocks and after resewing had to cut down correct blocks to match the bodged together blocks. In the future I will make sure to keep proper labels on all my cuttings. Excellent lesson learned.

Even with these issues I still really like the block, and now that I know what not to do I think I might try to make this into a quilt for hubbie. I am trying to find more of this batik before I totally commit to that, and so far I've only seen a few of the other colours left at the quilt shop (who I am not happy with at the moment, but that's another story). So, I might have to rethink the blocks a bit - mix batiks & non-batiks? have all blocks different? have all blocks the same? So many possibilities. I think I might make this first block into a small wall hanging in the meantime since these colours were the ones missing at the shop (always the way). Actually, that is another lesson learned - if you adore a fabric buy yardage up since it might not be around anymore when you finally get around to using it!

Owlberta Pillow

I started this project ages ago cutting out the pieces, and it has sat in my craft closet ever since utterly forgotten. So when I found it the week before last I decided I should just finish it to see how it goes before tackling one as a gift. That way I can mess this one up and get all the mistakes out before making the next one. And let me tell you, boy were there were mistakes!

Firstly, I didn't really cut the shape out right for the ears - I think I'd like them pointy on the next one.
I also bodged the felt bit on when I should have taken more care, and probably should have hand sewed them on with matching colored embroidery floss. Lastly, I didn't take enough care on the bottom sewing and totally missed the inside fabric to the pocket - duh! I will cut that fabric larger next time to make sure it will all be securely sewn then cut off the excess. Oh well, it is one big learning curve. The next one I make will be more boy-ish as it might be a pressie for my nephew to come. Jasper should arrive late November early December and I can't wait.

One other thing I tried after reading something about alternative filling for pillows is use up my loads of tiny scraps. Although I can see where they are coming from that it does indeed stuff the pillow, it also makes for an incredibly dense and heavy pillow. So, for Jasper's pressie I think I'll stick to some sort of stuffing to keep it lighter, or make the owl pillow sized and add a zipper for easier clean up. So much experimenting to do!

I will try to get some closer pics of the details - my hubbie was helping me with the pictures before the camera battery died and we didn't get around to more pictures since. I'll be able to show the back of the pillow that has a pocket for a book.

All in all I am happy with the result and with these few tweaks and the lessons learned from the mistakes on this one I think I'm ready to tackle the next one as soon as I find some inspiring fabric. The purple fabric I used on the front made me think of feathers, and I used a coordinating owl print on the back which is what sparked this project, so I think an outing to the fabric shop may be in order.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Next set of Napkins

I wanted to use up the leftover bits of fabric left after the first set up napkins so I whipped up 4 more. I think I actually prefer these scrappy ones to the original ones. Isn't that always the way?

I think making napkins might be a new favourite since there is instant gratification. The more I quilt the more I realize I am all about the instant gratification. I love making each block, but get bogged down in the actual construction and cutting. I think that's why I lean towards improv quilting most where there is less precise cutting and more playing around.

Up next will be the coaster set I made to go with the napkins, and a practice union jack quilt block. Oh and an owl pillow. I guess I was busy during my holidays.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Helper Dogs

Here is Crosby helping me out by keeping me entertained with his snoring:

And here is Ruby Tuesday fed up with all the sewing and sneaking a lie down in our bedroom after making a proper puppy nest with the covers:

Oh the cuteness factor is high with these 2 today - it will be hard to go back to work Monday after 2 weeks of crafting and relaxing with them.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Nifty Napkins in an Hour

I decided I needed a project to bust through some of my stash and get the creative juices flowing trying to do some fabric match ups. The result is a new pack of napkins in browns, greens, blues, and yellow. I'm pretty happy with them even though I cheated slightly and put a few from 1 fabric line together (Geo Grand by Daisy Janie). The blue/green floral fabric is Zinnia Path by Paula Prass, and I'm not sure what the other fabric line is. UPDATE: mystery solved the fabric line is Free to Grown by Nancy Mims. They were part of a birthday present last year, and I can't seem to find any selvedges anywhere. Next step is getting back to little sister's quilt back, and finally deciding on a pattern for middle sister's baby quilt. Busy busy.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Little Sister Wonky Log Cabin Quilt

This quilt is a WIP for over a year that now has a deadline. My little sister is moving into her first apartment and I want to get this finished up for her move in October. It is quarter wonky log cabin blocks made from all of my scraps and a few fat quarters in my stash with a purple solid background fabric. Windy day = blurry photos!

The top has been done for months, and now I'm tackling the back. My goal is to make a quilt that can be reversible. That way if little sis gets bored with the front she can flip it & vice versa. I've already got the quilting pattern idea in my head - just need to finish the back and find someone to quilt it for me since this is too big & I'm not experienced enough to machine quilt it myself.

So far I have a few blocks done for the back and have pulled some more scraps for the back. I have a bit of purple left and will be using some more bright pink (as in the border of the top middle block on the front) to get it all together. I'm running out of time, but hopefully I can get this completed by September, buy the batting and find a long arm quilter to complete it. Then the dreaded binding phase (yuck!) and it is all ready. Fingers crossed!

Baby Quilt Bonanza - Part 2

The quilt is complete and off to Australia. The machine sewn binding worked decently, though I will need more practice as I still cannot sew in a straight line. All in all I am pretty happy with the end result and thrilled that I finished it in time to send it with my father-in-law instead of having to pay to ship it.
Here are some shots of the process I wasn't able to load before:

And here is the finished product:

Sorry the colours are a bit off from the afternoon sun coming in that day.
Here are some shots of the binding grey thread on front & blue on the back:

So, onto the next baby quilt. Luckily I have a longer time frame for this one so I'm going to tackle a tougher pattern I think. I'll try to post progress photos as I go.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Baby Quilt Bonanza - Part 1

After a marathon of sewing the quilt for my sister in-law is finished. I've quilted it, did the binding, and washed it to make sure there are no dyes left in it, or loose threads. Phew.

I must say that my husband was a trooper for taking care of the pets, and feeding me on Friday while I sewed all day - last day of vacation. So now the package is ready to be delivered to Melbourne in the coming weeks when my father-in-law goes back home after a whirlwind visit.

The front pre-binding. I used this pattern because I think it looks like stacks of books, and my brother and sister in-law have so many books at their house, or did when I visited in 2009. Perhaps some have gone to make room for the upcoming bubs, who knows. I think I'm going to call it 'Red Riding Hood' as that was my inspiration for the colours, and say 'to the bookworm to be' since I don't know what her name will be.

For the back I used selvedge to selvedge strips of the fabrics from the front. I think that make it more useful as a baby quilt to be totally reversible. I did straight-ish line quilting so it would look good on the top, but I don't think it looks too bad on the back. The one pre-planned aspect I did get right was to have these stripes facing the opposite to the 'books' on the front so there were seams lying on top of seams. For the spacing I just eyed the front of the quilt to try to make the lines look good against the 'books'. All in all I'm pretty happy with the results being this is my 2nd completed quilting project.

I will get some photos of the binding and the washed completed project up soon. I copied a technique I saw on an antique quilt in Perth where they had zigzag sewed the binding on. It looked so wonky & adorable I knew I had to try it. I won't lie - the binding did not go well as far as it being super equal all the way around. I cannot sew in a straight line to save my life. Hence all of the 'wonky' quilt patterns I like. I think more of the problem came from my squaring up not really being square, but who wants a cookie cutter quilt - right? This one has heaps of personality. Or so I keep telling myself.

Here is one of Crosby at the end of the day of sewing. One tired little guy.