Sunday, October 28, 2012

Snapshots of a Weekend

Levi loves to grab his "drum" and lead his Dad and me on a parade through the apartment. On Saturday, we marched up and down the halls of our condo. It was difficult to get a good photograph because Levi moves at lightening speed!

My two favorite men in their matching jackets, en route to The Workroom. 

Why yes, those are stunning Liberty of London quilting cottons. I placed an order at the The Workroom by email last week, because I knew I wouldn't make it into the shop before today and I was afraid that the ones I wanted most would sell out.  The Workroom is running a fifth anniversary sale running right now and I got these beauties for 25% off.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Curving Blossoms Mini Quilt

Amy's Creative Side

Have you heard of the Blogger's Quilt festival, run twice annually by Amy of Amys Creative Side? It's an amazing online quilt show where quilters from across the blogosphere showcase the handiwork. There are prizes to be won, but more than anything, it's a chance to be inspired by your fellow quilters.

I wavered between entering my Happy Melon Quilt and my most recent finish, my Curves Mini Quilt. I'm so very proud of my Happy Melon Quilt; it's my largest quilt today and is in a palette I adore, but it feels a bit like old news. So, let me introduce you to, the Curving Blossoms Mini Quilt!

This quilt was designed by Christina Lane of The Sometimes Crafter, and the pattern debuted at Sewing Summit in her Curves class (which I blogged about here). Christina didn't share the pattern in advance of the class so I had to chose and cut my fabrics without knowing how they'd be used! I think this is what makes the quilt so amazing to me, because the fabrics worked out perfectly for the design! The Amy Butler Soul Blossoms print in the centre was my feature fabric and came from my scrap collection. I actually got this piece in a Scrap Bag from The Workroom and it was just a small little piece that I was hoping to find the right use for. Success! I chose four hues from this print and looked for two values of each in my stash. I don't think I succeeded in finding enough contrast in value for my chartreuse prints, but the rest work well.

I'll admit that I wasn't very creative with my quilting. I went with the same design that Christina used for her sample piece. I just felt that it was the perfect compliment to the pattern and that anything I came up with would pale in comparison. Honestly, I think it was the right choice.

The quilt back was pieced from some of the leftover cuts used for the quilt top. I'm really happy with it. I just love a scrappy back! As this is a mini quilt and will likely hang on a wall or be used on a table under a bowl or vase, the back won't be seen often, but I still think it's important to create a quilt back that you'd want to look at, don't you?

Now, head on over to the Blogger's Quilt Festival and check out the other amazing entries!

Blogger’s Quilt Festival Stats
Finished quilt measures: 17.25" X 17.25"
Special techniques used: Curves!
Quilted by:  Me
Best Category: Doll/Mini Quilt, Wall Hanging

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

WIP Wednesday: The Not Much Doing Edition

November is never an easy month for me. As daylight wanes, my mood dips and it takes time for me to adjust to the change. For whatever reason, "November" has arrived early this year. I'm completely exhausted and after putting Levi to bed, all I want to do is sit on the couch with my feet up. As a result, I haven't plugged in my sewing machine since the weekend when I quilted my mini quilt. Tonight, I'll finish hand sewing the binding. Photos to come!

Before Sewing Summit, I prepared four Farmer's Wife blocks to work on during downtime. Hah! The only time I had to work on them was during my flights to and from Salt Lake City.  I finished block 21, Contrary Wife and I think it looks terrific, if I do say so myself.

Here are the fifteen blocks I've completed so far. It will likely take me years to finish this quilt, but it sure it fun to work on.

Nada, nothing, zip-o-lah

In Progress
Curves mini-quilt - finishing up the binding by hand
Curious Nature quilt - no progress
Sew Intertwined quilt -no progress
Flora Charm Quilt - no progress
Farmer's Wife QAL - one more block!
October We Bee Learning Bee -must do this weekend

Hibernating projects
Levi's Growth Chart - no progress
NY Beauty QAL - no progress
We Bee Learning Bee/Levi's Bed Quilt - No progress

I'm linking up with  Freshly Pieced and the Canadian Needle and Thread Network. Head on over to see what everyone else is working on.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Real Sewing Summit Recap

While I've already told you about the Curves class I took at Summit, there's so much I haven't blogged about yet. The six months of anticipation were definitely worth it. It's hard to know where to start, so I'll try chronological order.
Ella on the left, Shannon on the right
I'm glad I decided to go a day early and participate in the Shop Hop. People are often surprised when I tell them I'm an introvert. At work, or when in a leadership role, I can be outgoing, but I get nervous in unfamiliar social situations. The shop hop allowed me to get to know people in a smaller group. I'd arranged to grab coffee with one of my blog friends, Shannon of Hello My Name is Quilt, but she's a total morning person and hit Starbucks way too early for me. But, she brought me a latte for the bus ride. Thanks Shannon! I also connected with Ella of Throw a Wench in the Works, who I've swapped with twice in the 3x6 mini bee, on the shop hop.  We were loaded up with swag at every stop along the hop, plus I picked up a a ton of new fabric. I would definitely recommend signing up for the shop hop to Summit first timers.
Shop hop purchases
On Thursday night I went to dinner with a terrific group of ladies. It was another chance to make connections in a smaller setting, which I appreciated.

Friday was a whirlwind of classes. My first class was a serger class where we made a ruffle scarf. I discovered that the serger and I do not get along. I don't know why, but I am terrible at serging! I ended up with holes and wonky edges. I didn't even bring my unfinished scarf home - it was that bad! My machine partner Tina had much more success than I did.

My other classes on Friday were Zippers 101 with Sara of Sew Sweetness, Photography with Vanessa Howell (I picked up some great tips) and my Mini Curves quilt class.

Sara during Zippers 101
The zippered pouch swap also took place on Friday. I love the pouch I got. It's by Nydia of the ADD Quilter. Isn't it pretty?

Shannon and I ended the day with dinner at a fabulous Indian restaurant. We swung by the party put on by the Salt Lake City Modern Quilt Guild, but to be honest, I was so tired I just wanted to head back to the hotel and go to sleep.

On Saturday, I took a Metal Frame pouch class with Kelly of Kelby Sews which was fabulous, a lecture on blog design (man, does this blog need a redesign!) and I made a Maxi Skirt on the dreaded serger. I made mistake after mistake, but the instructor was very patient and I ended up with a skirt that fit. Hooray!
Sewing Summit is really about so much more than the classes and the swag (omg, the swag! We got so much great stuff from Summit sponsors!). It's about being around 250 people who share the same passion you have for creating beautiful pieces from fabric. And that, in and of itself, is reason enough to go. I can't say enough good things about the experience. In fact, I've been in withdrawl since returning home. I can't wait until next year! Thank you Erin and the Sewing Summit team for putting on a fabulous event.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

WIP Wednesday: The Still Recovering from Summit Edition

You guys, it's killing me that I haven't blogged about Sewing Summit yet, but I am still SO TIRED from the trip. Seriously, I'm exhausted. It probably didn't help that my journey home took over sixteen hours due to a tornado warning in Chicago.  The storm led to a cancelled flight and extended layover at O'Hare, the worst airport I've ever spent time in.  Remind me never to fly through Chicago again!

My show and tell piece for this week's WIP Wednesday is from my favourite Sewing Summit class, Christina Lane's Curves class. She blogs at The Sometimes Crafter which I encourage you to browse just as soon as you finish reading my post. I learned to sew curves in my Sampler Quilt class at The Workroom, but haven't attempted them since so this class was a great refresher. Plus, Christina showed me how to sew curves without pinning! Which is awesome, because do you know how many pins to need to use to sew a nice curve? Too many! 

Christina designed a mini quilt for the class and last week I showed you my fabric selections and the backing I pieced.  She plans to post the pattern on her blog, so definitely keep an eye out for it.

At first I wasn't thrilled with it but the more I look at it, the more I love it.

I finished the ten curved blocks during class time and the rest of the quilt top was completed during open sew on Saturday night. I really wanted to come home with it done. This weekend I'd like to quilt and bind it. I haven't decided on a quilting design yet. Any suggestions?

One of my other favorite classes was a lecture on blog design by Melissa Esplin. I gleaned a ton of information. Bear with me as I work on cleaning up Modern Balabusta to make it more readable!

And now my bi-weekly stats:

All sorts of Sewing Summit projects like the Tula pouches, my name tag and my 241 tote

In Progress
Curves mini-quilt - to be sandwiched and quilted
Curious Nature quilt - no progress
Sew Intertwined quilt -no progress
Flora Charm Quilt - no progress
Farmer's Wife QAL - I
hand-pieced a block and a half on the plane
October We Bee Learning Bee - I need to get cracking on this one!

Hibernating projects
Levi's Growth Chart - no progress
NY Beauty QAL - no progress
We Bee Learning Bee/Levi's Bed Quilt - No progress

I'm linking up with  Freshly Pieced and the Canadian Needle and Thread Network. Head on over to see what everyone else is working on.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Travelling Tula

I did it! I somehow found time to make a zippered pouch for the Sewing Summit swap and I'm so glad I did because it's pretty fabulous. I made a second pouch to hold my Farmer's Wife block supplies that I'm bringing to work on in transit.

I used a Tula Pink print from the Nightshade line for the outer fabric of both pouches. I bought it at the same time I bought the stack I gave away for my 100th post and have been waiting for the right project to use it for.  The square pouch, which will be swapped, features a turquoise Oval Elements print and my flat pouch used a gorgeous shot cotton from Westminster. It's purple with blue highlights.

I'm getting a bit nervous about my trip. I'll be away from Kivi and Levi for four nights! And I'm going alone. I won't know anyone. I mean, I have Flickr and Twitter and blog friends going, but we've never met in real life and what if no one wants to hang out with me? Everyone else is feeling anxious too, right? Yeah, I'm going to assume they are. 

See you after Summit! Wish me luck!
Linking up with...
Fresh Poppy Design

Monday, October 8, 2012

Tag, You're It!

I just finished my name tag for Sewing Summit!Isn't she sweet? I used Heat n'Bond for the applique and then quilted around the matrioshka doll and in the corners. My embroidery isn't perfect, but it's crunch time and there just isn't time to be fussing over the length of my stitching.

I really struggled with the binding. I cut it too thin and turning the corners was a major challenge. Still, it does the job and hopefully the little doll will help people remember my blog name. Matryioshka doll - Balabusta, pretty similar, right?

Now I'm off to whip up a zippered pouch to swap. Only two more sleeps until I'm leaving on a jet plane!

Linking up with Manic Monday over at Sew Happy Geek today and for the first time with Canoe Ridge Creates Sew Modern Monday!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Lemonade from Lemons

I'm knee deep in preparations for Sewing Summit, which is in LESS THAN A WEEK! Six months of anticipation is almost over! All my fabric is purchased and most of my garment fabrics have been prewashed. Tonight's task was to cut the pieces for the mini quilt we'll be making in my curves class.  After hours of auditioning prints, I selected my fabric the other night. Because the pieces are so small, I wanted to choose as many prints as I could out of my scrap collection. Here's what I ended up with:

In the end, only the main print (speaking of which, does anyone know the name of this print?) and two of the others are truly scraps. I started cutting my pieces, using the agenda that I'd saved on my Macbook a while back. During a snack break, I logged into the Summit Google group to see what had been posted in the last few days and found a thread about the Curves class.  I'd had a vague recollection that this thread existed but hadn't given it much thought. To my chagrin, the instructor had posted UPDATED cutting instructions! Gah!!! I'd cut the wrong sized pieces!

Full disclosure: the agenda currently posted on the Sewing Summit website contained the correct cutting instructions as well. It was totally my fault that I was referencing an older version of the agenda. It didn't occur to me that the one I'd saved might not be the latest.

The good news is that most (but not all!) of the new pieces were smaller than the ones I'd cut so I didn't waste too much fabric. But it was still extremely annoying.

My next task was to cut the piece for the back of the quilt. The instructions called for a piece that was 18.5 inches square. Think about that for a moment. How many inches are there in a yard? There are 36 inches.  Which means that the short edge of a fat quarter is only 18 inches. Which means that to get an 18.5 inch square, I would need to buy a cut that is more than a half yard.

Brief aside: some of the fabric I buy in person here in Canada is cut by the metre (and thus 39 inches wide), but many quilt shops here cut by the yard and all of the fabric I purchase online is also by the yard.

Now, the vast majority of my stash is fat quarters which meant I didn't have anything 18.5 inches wide on hand. How annoying is that?! When I realized this, I was not impressed. In fact, I was down right irritated. Couldn't the designer have made the quilt just a tad smaller?! But then, it occured to me that (d'uh!) the back didn't have to be all the same fabric.  C'mon, who doesn't love a scrappy back?

I whipped this together lickety split. It's not fabulous, but it meets requirements and used up even more of my scraps. All I have left it to make the binding (I think I'll use the teal jewels print) and I'll be all set for curves class. Hooray!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

WIP Wednesday: Gingerific

As promised, here are photos of me in my completed Ginger skirt.  This was a great pattern. I ran into a some challenges of course. I made a muslin in six 16 using some old sheets. It was a bit too big so I decided to make size 14. Since I don't own a serger, I decided to do french seams and this was my saving grace because, when I tried on the skirt, it was just a little too tight. I undid my french seams on the two sides and decreased the seam allowances by a quarter inch each. I was lucky: the skirt now fit perfectly!

I already shared photos of my first invisible zipper with you. It's not the cleanest zipper ever attempted, but it's passable. I'm looking forward to improving the next time I sew one into a skirt and it will be soon, because I've already purchased corduroy Chicopee for Ginger 2.0.

My other big finish is my Noodlehead 241 tote which I LOVE!  Check out my Travel Handmade post where I shared my lessons learned. I'm excited to carry this bag at Sewing Summit, which, by the way, I leave for ONE WEEK! Half a year of anticipation and it's one week away, can you believe it? I'm going to meet people I've swapped with and chatted with on Flickr, Twitter and our blogs. SQUEEEEEE!

I'm working on my name tag for summit. Here's a sneak peak.

My (bi)weekly stats:

La Dee Dah Ginger Skirt
241 Tote for Sewing Summit

In Progress
Curious Nature quilt - no progress
Sew Intertwined quilt -no progress
Flora Charm Quilt - no progress
Farmer's Wife QAL - I've cut out fabric for four blocks to work on during down time at Summit. 

Sewing Summit name tag

Hibernating projects
Levi's Growth Chart - no progress
NY Beauty QAL - no progress
We Bee Learning Bee/Levi's Bed Quilt - No progress

I'm linking up with  Freshly Pieced and the Canadian Needle and Thread Network. Head on over to see what everyone else is working on.