Wednesday, March 28, 2012

WIP Wednesday: The Time Warp Edition

It's been an entire month since my last work in progress Wednesday post. How did that happen?! Oh wait, yeah, I know! It's the whole working full time while keeping up with volunteer commitments and also friends and family and raising a human being too. I'd rather spend what little down time I have actually sewing, rather than blogging about sewing.

Despite the crazy pace of life, LOTS of sewing has been accomplished this month.

My Sew Happy Quilt top is done. I need to start piecing the back and decide how to quilt it up.

My Sampler Quilt is done (see the reveal post here)!

All my bee blocks for March are done: Brandie's We Bee Learning Wonky Star and all six of my 3x6 Mini Bee blocks are in the mail.

My Wonky Log Cabin placemats are fully quilted and the binding has been machine sewn on. I'll be hand stitching the back of the binding in front of the TV over the next few weeks.

I'm adding a new project to the list this week. My Flora charm quilt pattern has been chosen. I'll be making a granny square quilt. I've decided to follow the basic granny square block pattern using Krista's tutorial, instead of the tutorial I linked to the other day. The reason for this decision is that I want to make the quilt in blocks and Becca's quilt is constructed in long strips. I just don't have the space to lay out the entire quilt at once, nor do I have the focus to design it all at once. Perhaps it would be in my best interest to do it this way, but my brain can only handle so much!

So? What have you been up to?

WIP status report
Flora Charm Quilt - fabric has been purchased
Farmer's Wife QAL - no progress
Sew. Happy. Quilt. QAL - top is DONE!
We Bee Learning Bee - March block is done and mailed
Sampler Quilt class @ The Workroom - DONE!
Wonky Log Cabin Placemats - all four have been quilted
Levi's Growth Chart - no progress, but embroidering is halfway done!
Levi's Bed Quilt - on hold until I settle on a pattern
3 x 6 Bee - DONE and in the mail

As always, I'm linking up with WIP Wednesdays at Freshly Pieced and the Canadian Needle and Thread Network. Do take the time to check out what my talented internet friends are working on. There's so much inspiration just waiting for you!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

The Big Reveal! Presenting...The Frog Prince Quilt!

Way back on March 5, I told you that I'd finished my sampler quilt, but I didn't share photos or details because I fully intended to write a dedicated post shortly thereafter. It seems that life got in the way because here we are at the end of March and I've been snuggling under this quilt for weeks but, have yet to blog about it. My friends, this quilts time has come. I give you...The Frog Prince Quilt!

That's right. My sampler quilt has been named. This quilt features an adorable Frog Prince, fussy cut from, you guessed it, the Frog Prince fabric from Tula Pink's Prince Charming line on its front and back. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this fabric collection and The Workroom had many of the prints on sale at the time I was constructing this quilt. Johanna Masko was our instructor for the sampler quilt class. She is fabulous and I learned so much her: sewing curves, binding and basting properly, fabric selection and more. If you live in Toronto, you *must* take a quilt class of hers, you simply must!

I quilted each of the six blocks for this quilt differently. I chose a variegated Valdani Thread. I think it's the third spool from the left in this photo here. I outlined the birds in the applique block.

Stitched in the ditch of my log cabin and finished it with lines across the diagonals.

I kept it simple with the Churn Dash block and stitched the quadrants and diagonals. 

My flying geese block was quilted into 16 squares.

I had a blast piecing the back for this quilt. I did it completely on the fly, improv style and I think it is awesome.

And finally, I added a splash in pink into my binding, just for fun.

And there you have it! My very first completed quilt: The Frog Prince Quilt. An obsession is born.

P.S. I'm linking up with TGIFF!, which is being hosted by the Fiona at Finding Fifth.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

On Deck: Granny Squares (and other Sunday Splurges)

These lovely charm packs of Flora by Lauren & Jessi Jung for Moda Fabrics have been hanging out in my stash for months, waiting for me to dig in to. I love the idea of charm packs and have been waiting to be inspired by the right project for these beauties. This collection reads baby blanket to me. I'm not sure why, as the red hues aren't exactly babyish, but there you go.

I started a Pinterest board for charm square quilts and started pinning ideas. The granny square craze that's hit the quilting blogosphere sounded like the right project. Working with itsy bitsy squares didn't really appeal to me, but what if I made gigantic granny squares instead? Lo and behold, it's been done and there's a tutorial and everything! Hooray!

Today was Quilt Sunday at The Workroom and I was hoping to pick up another couple charm packs so that I could make this quilt with nine granny squares but unfortunately they were sold out. Instead, I decided to supplement with Kona solids: canary, aloe, grass green and paprika. The background will be PDF Bleach White.

I made some more progress on my Wonky Log Cabin placemats today. In fact, I finished quilting the final two. So exciting! These have been WIPs for far too long. Plus, we could really use some more placemats for our table. If that isn't incentive to get 'em done, I don't know what is.

A trip to The Workroom is never complete without unplanned stash building. I picked up an FQ bundle of Parson Gray's Curious Nature. My bundle doesn't include any of the forest green colourway. It's all navy, grey, blacks and browns and it is oh so manly. It's just asking to be made into a guy quilt. I'm thinking maybe something for my dad. A combo birthday and fathers day gift perhaps?

My final splurge was these three Art Gallery FQs from the Poetica line. When I saw them posted in The Workroom's flickr photostream I know I had to have them.

Finally, I leave you with some cuteness. Levi decided his soother needed a yogurt bath. And his hair needed a yogurt shampoo. His dad and I then decided that HE needed a bath!  All in all, a pretty wonderful Sunday.

Whut?! It's yummier this way!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Done as Dinner: 3 x 6 Mini Bee Blocks

My blocks for the 3 x 6 mini bee were starting to stress me out. They need to be done by April 15th and with Passover hot on our heels, I was beginning to worry about finding time to finish them up. I'd been cutting fabric whenever I could find a few spare minutes. When my friend cancelled our plans tonight, I knew this was my chance to get 'er done. I showed you the first two last week. Here are the rest.

Beth asked for black, white and red:

Amy wanted dark purple, grey and white:

Christine selected raspberry, pink, grey and white:

Sonia asked for aqua, black and white:

Here are all six together.  Sorry about the wonky photo! I'm too lazy to re-shoot it.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Bundle Up Baby

Y'all know I love me a contest. I have yet to win any of the giveaways or contests I've entered since my fabric obsession began, but I one day I will. I'm a Ginger Monkey and Pink Castle Fabrics have teamed up for a bloggers bundle giveaway. You're supposed to make a fat quarter bundle of 12 fabrics. There will be two winners and the prize is the bundle you created. Plus, your bundle will be listed for sale in the shop for others to purchase. If you win, you'll be famous! Okay, not really. Whatever. They don't actually explain what the criteria for winning is. I'm assuming it'll be the bundles they like best.

I used this photo as my inspiration for my bundle.

I won't tell you how long it took me to put this together. Let's just say it was not easy narrowing down to 12. The end result, however, it a bundle I would LOVE to create with. I'm tempted just to order it all right now.

The fabrics: (starting top left, by row)1. heirloom_chrysanthemum_blush, 2. dandelion-in-olive-prince-charming, 3. heirloom_marbled_stripe_gold, 4. vintage_ironwork_coral_michael_miller, 5. outfoxed_jewels_pink, 6. Sea Garden in Coral salt air, 7. crosshair-in-citron, 8. modernmeadownap_sack_sunglow, 9. calico-cactus-in-new-day-hope-valley, 10. holly_jolly_stripe_gray, 11. saltairwavesinocean, 12. metro_living_circles_pewter

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sunday Sewing

Now that I've finished my Sew Happy Quilt top, I can turn my attention back to my 3x6 bee blocks. I'm making the Quatrro Stagioni Star for my hive mates. The thing I love about this block is that, while it looks impressive, it's extremely easy to make. Four flying geese, a four patch and you're pretty much done. I completed two this evening.

This one is for Ella, who requested a purple and tangerine block with a white background.

Staci asked for black and white blocks.

Levi still has "daycareitis," our word for the ongoing runny nose and wet cough that he's had still his second week of daycare. I have it too, in the form of swollen throat glands. Have I mentioned that I get every strain of sick that goes around. My immune system sucks. I think it's related to my celiac disease but I don't have any proof, it's just an assumption on my part. I thought I'd beaten this bug after a round of antibiotics but it's back. I think a visit to the clinic is in order. I hope I can find time this week.

Saturday, March 17, 2012


I did it! There's nothing like a deadline to get something finished. I'm thrilled to share my finished Sew Happy Quilt top with y'all:

This quilt-a-long was my first and was so much fun. I learned a lot of great new blocks (dresden plates!), interacted with some terrific women and tackled my largest quilt top to date. Now I need to figure out how to quilt this baby. I'm considering sending it out to a long arm quilter because I'm not sure my Kenmore can handle a quilt of this size. On the other hand, I do love me a challenge.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Grrr! Arg! Etc!

I've been composing a post in my head for the last two days about how much I hate sashing. It's definitely my least favourite part of the quilt making process. Yes, sashing is helpful when a few of your blocks are a tad small or a smidgen too big. But keeping the wonk to a minimum is crazy making. And getting everything to line up properly makes me want to tear my hair out.

Misaligned! Grrrr! Arg! Etc!
Unfortunately, I don't have time for a rant about sashing because I'm quilting on a deadline. My Sew Happy Quilt top is due to be posted by Sunday!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Wonky Stars and Sashing

I finished my March block for the We Bee Learning Bee tonight. Brandie asked for a Wonky Star block in dreamy aquas, buttery yellows and light greys with a white background. I didn't have any yellows in my stash so I had an excuse to shop. Thanks Brandie! I still need to make a siggy block before putting this in the mail. Here's the finished block.

Thanks for your suggestions about sashing my Sew Happy quilt. I decided to use white with purple cornerstones and went to The Workroom to pick up more Kona White. Except when I got there, I found out they were sold out! Since I really want to finish my top by the 18th, I asked one of the girls to help me select something else. And I'm so glad I did. I selected Basic Grey's Grunge in Rosemary. It's green with the perfect pink in it. I'm about half done the sashing. Here's a sneak peak.

I'm going to use the purple for the back, so it won't be wasted. I also picked out a pretty print for the binding. This quilt is going to be so fabulous!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Decisions, Decisions

I finished the final two blocks for the Sew Happy Quilt QAL and just in time too. In order to be eligible for prized, the completed top needs to be posted on Flickr by March 18th and I'm determined to get it done by then. Block 11 was the QuatraStar block and was paper pieced. My star isn't aligned perfectly, but I'm not redoing it. It looks fine.

Block 12 was the Dresden block and I was really dreading it. I've seen them all over the blogosphere and assumed that it would be difficult. I was wrong! It was surprisingly easy to put together.

My only qualm is the way it's attached to the background fabric. We were instructed to stitch 1/8 inch around the entire fan and also around the corner half circle. I think I'd prefer to applique it because the stitching is very obvious. Again, I'm not redoing it, just noting this for next time.

Now comes the big decision. Actually, two big decisions. First: layout. Not so easy.

Second: sashing. I'd planned on using my favorite Jewels fabric by Lizzy House in dark purple, but now I'm not sure it's the right choice. I'd considering going with white instead. What do you think?

Thursday, March 8, 2012


The realities of being a working mom have started to sink in, now that I've been back in the office a couple of weeks. Overall, it has been a smooth transition. Here are some stray observations.
  1. I miss my kid. I know, I know, this is an obvious one. I don't wish that I was home with him all day. He LOVES day care and has way more fun there than he did with me. But seeing him for less than two hours a day is tough. Especially since he's just waking up for the first hour and exhausted for the final hour. I live for weekends in a way I hadn't in the past.
  2. My kid has totally bonded with his day care ladies and this hurts a little bit. These women are amazing caregivers and I feel so lucky that we have such great child care and yet... Twice I've gone to pick him up and sure, his face lit up when he saw me and he started towards me. But then he stopped. And turned to the lady he was playing with.  And (OMG, heartbreak!) reached for her. Cue mommy tears! I know this is normal and I know I can't be replaced. It's still gut wrenching.
  3. And finally, shock of shocks: I have way less time for quilting. I suffering serious withdrawal.  You know, itchy fingers, wistful glances at my sewing machine, dreaming of three hours of uninterrupted sewing time? I'm not even able to get a single block done in an evening!  Here's a snapshot of a typical night for me.  Pick Levi up and arrive home. Play with Levi for fifteen minutes. Feed him, bathe him,  read a couple stories, sing the shema to him (nighttime prayer) nurse him. Then I spend 30 minutes pumping so that he has milk for naps the next day. Most nights I feed myself as quickly as possible, touch base with my mom, nana or sister by phone and grudgingly help with laundry or whatever else needs doing around the house.  And then, finally, I can set up my machine and sew. 
Tonight I managed about an hour of stitching time  I'm working on my Sew. Happy. Quilt quatra star which is paper pieced. I always forget how slow going this can be. I totally expected to finish this block before bed. Not gonna happen. It's only half done.

And now, off to bed so I can do it all again tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I'm a Finalist!

Well, this is unexpected! My Matriochka Doll Mini Quilt is one of seven finalists in Ellison Lane Quilts Modern Mini Quilt Challenge!

You guys, I'm in total shock! I'm a new quilter. I've been sewing for less than a year. And the blogosphere is CHOCK FULL of amazingly talented sewists. Plus, did you see the other entries?! The are amazing! 

How incredible would it be to actually win this challenge?! Just being nominated has me overwhelmed and jumping for joy! I can't imagine how I'd react to WINNING!

Please take a moment to head on over to Ellison Lane Quilts and vote for my quilt.  I would be so honoured to have your vote!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Sew Happy to be Catching Up

It's hard to believe that the Sew Happy Quilt QAL is nearing its end. This is my very first quilt-a-long and I have loved every minute of it. Jenna is an amazing QAL host. She's quick to respond to questions and she comments on every single photo that's posted in our Flickr group. Talk about dedication! Her tutorials have been fantastic: great photographs, detailed and easy to follow. Hooray Jenna!

I've fallen behind with my blocks and I was beginning to panic. You see, there are some lovely prizes for this QAL and in order to be eligible to win, my quilt top has to be completed by March 18. Eek! That is SOON! Tomorrow Jenna will be posting the twelfth and final block and as of an hour ago, I only had nine completed. BUT! I am happy to report that my tenth block is now complete! Behold, my HST diamond:

Isn't it fun?! True, my points are not perfect, but I'm learning to embrace imperfection. Here are all ten blocks to date:

I'm struggling a little in picking the fabrics for my final two blocks. One is a quarter dresden block and the other is a paper pieced quatra star.  I've been trying to make sure I  more or less used all of my fabrics and colours evenly within the quilt, but I'm now seeing that some fabrics have been under utilized and they don't necessarily work for these final few blocks. Two of the fabrics I used in my flying geese block only appear in one other block each. Did I ever mention that my quilting instructor told me that I have a tendency to micro manage my quilts?

I also need to decide what colour to use to sash this quilt. Any opinions? I really don't know which way to go. Pinkish red? Orange? Should I just use white and let the blocks shine? Maybe the lighter purple solid? Or the dark purple jewels print that I love so much? Decisions, decisions. I hope to have time this weekend to bring all of the blocks to The Workroom where I'm sure they'll help me choose the right sashing.

Oh! Did I tell you that I finished my Sampler Quilt? Last night! Yeehaw! I'm waiting for a sunny day to take some photographs and then I'll do up a finish post. It's my first full sized quilt (well, lap size I suppose but it's not a mini!). It's beautiful and I love it to pieces. I can't wait to share it with you!

I'm linking up with Manic Monday this week. Hosted by Jenna of course! Hop on over and see what's what.

Sew Happy Geek

Saturday, March 3, 2012

My Entry in the Modern Mini Challenge

Sometimes timing is everything, you know?  Jennifer at Ellison Lane Quilts is hosting the Modern Mini Challenge right now and what do you know?!

Modern Mini Challenge

Actually, if you are a regular Modern Balabusta reader you know that I've just finished my second mini quilt. All of the details about my quilting process are here. I've also blogged about my abandoned first attempt here. I don't want to be too repetitive but here are a few items of note about my Matriochka Doll Mini Quilt.

The size: 12 x 12 inches

The inspiration: Heather of alamode made a version of this quilt pattern and I was smitten.  You see, my my parents have two sets of these traditional Russian nesting dolls which I've always loved. My father traveled a lot for work when we were younger and I believe that both sets were purchased during trips to Moscow.

The pattern: From Bubblestich on Etsy.

The Challenge: Well, it's paper pieced, but that's not a new technique for me, just one that I totally love practicing. This is second quilt I've hand bound the back of the binding and my stitches and corners are much improved, but I don't think that counts as a true challenge.  I hand drew her pretty face, but I used the pattern as a guide so I can't really take credit for that either.

No, the challenge here was the free motion quilting. I've only done it twice now. The first time was for my Hannukiah Mini Quilt and I used a meandering stitch. That went pretty well.  This time I tried doing bubbles. I didn't do any research or googling, I just improvised and this led to my starting each bubble anew. There were a LOT of ends. I got quite a few suggestions in the comments on my last blog post on how to make it easier next time I try this technique. Thanks ladies!

So there you have it! My first entry into a quilting contest. I have no illusions of being voted a winner - you should see some of the quilts that have been linked so far. They are AMAZING! I'm continuously inspired by the talent in the blogosphere. I'm just happy to be part of the online quilting community.