Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Leftover Matched Set

My Sew Happy Quilt included a scrappy stripe as part of the border. It turned out that I made longer strips than I needed and ended up with a few yards leftover. I didn't want the fabric to go to waste, but what to do with it? It occurred to me that I could use the lengths to embellish a set of bed sheets to match the quilt. I purchased a set of white bedsheets and pillowcases and got to work.
This project took no time at all. I simply pressed the edges of strips inward about a quarter inch and edge stitched on either side. 
Aren't they pretty? I can't wait to finish binding the quilt so that I can make by bed and show you the finished product! 

P.S. Linking up with Jenna's manic Monday (see sidebar for the link).

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

WIP Wednesday: The Mysterious Serge in Hits Edition

So far this week, two exciting things have gone down. First, I started my new job. Woohoo! I've only attended training sessions, no actual work yet, but tomorrow is the final session and then the real work begins. The second exciting occurrence began with a mystery. I noticed that the finished quilts page of my blog had a high number of hits, all of a sudden, out of the blue. It was a weird, because I hadn't added to the page or posted a link to it recently. Then, on Tuesday, I got an email from a lovely lady named Cathy. She happened upon my Channukiah mini quilt (which I actually blogged about on my former blog, Crafting My Mama Leave) and posted a link to it to the Jewish quilting listserv she participates in.  Well, that explains the surge in blog hits.  It turns out my mini quilt led to a lively discussion on modern quilting.  Cathy invited me to join the group.  I was thrilled to be invited and have discovered that several of the members live in Toronto. One woman lives in Ottawa and knows my Nana! It's such a small world.
I've been too tired after spending the days in training to do much sewing this week, but I got loads of stuff done over the weekend. My Sew Happy Quilt is almost done (and I'm still taking suggestions for a better name for the finished quilt). I went to Quilt Sunday at The Workroom where I made Loralei's Quilting for Kids block. I've never really been drawn to I-spy quilts, but this block might have swayed me.
And, yes, no visit to The Workroom is complete without some fabric purchases. I managed to convince myself that I didn't NEED to buy a fat quarter bundle of Erin Morris's La Dee Da line. Instead, I picked up two metres of the print I loved the most from the line. I'm going to try and make an A-line skirt. I don't have any garment sewing experience really, but everyone else seems to be making clothes to wear at Sewing Summit, so I figure I should do the same, right?  If you have a favorite pattern to suggest, I'm all ears!
I also succumbed to the gorgeousness that is Liberty of London fabrics and bought this stunning print called Doctor Tulloch in pink. I'm going to attempt to make a Wiksten tank. It's supposed to be simple to make. Due to the lusciousness (and hefty price tag) of the tana lawn cotton, I think I'll make a sample out of some older, salvaged fabric before cutting into the Liberty.
New Projects
Wiksten tank with Liberty tana lawn cotton - waiting for pattern to arrive
La Dee Da skirt - searching for a pattern

WIP status report
Quilting for Kids block  - done and mailed
Flora Charm Quilt - no progress
Farmer's Wife QAL -
no progress
We Bee Learning Bee/
Levi's Bed Quilt - June is my month and I've received three out of eleven blocks so far
Sew. Happy. Quilt - almost done; binding is in progress
3 x 6 blocks for Q2 -done
Hibernating projects
Levi's Growth Chart - no progress
NY Beauty QAL - no progress

In the Queue
Curious Nature quilt - picked a pattern! Will update you soon!
Kona Sea Bundle quilt - picked a pattern! Will update you soon!

I'm linking up with WIP Wednesdays at Freshly Pieced and the Canadian Needle and Thread Network. Check out what everyone else is up to.
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Saturday, June 23, 2012

It Might Be...

It might be after midnight...

I might have a stiff back and neck...

I may have needed to clear my shuttle race of lint THREE times in the last four hours...

But... this baby is QUILTED!

Stay tuned to see which binding I chose. I'm planning to cut it tomorrow and sew it at The Workroom on Quilt Sunday. I probably won't get the back handsewn by the end of the weekend, but the front will definitely get done.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

HALP! Which Binding Works?

Friends, I need your help. I'm almost ready to start binding my Sew Happy Quilt (final moniker yet to be determined).

The quilt top looks like this (I know, I know, you've already seen it a million times):
I had originally bought a pink tone on tone print for the binding, but today I picked up a cute mini harlequin in pinks and oranges that might be a tad more interesting. There's also the dark green Jewels fabric that could be the perfect frame for this sampler. And y'all know I LOVE me some jewels.
All three together

Option 1

Option 2

Option 3
Better photo of Option 3
Please, please, please leave me a comment with your opinion. I am so torn! I can not make this decision alone. I'm counting on you, my quilty friends!

Also, please admire today's purchases. I went to Sew Sisters with my friend Sara today. I'd never been there before. It's a more traditional quilt shop that The Workroom, but they did carry some of the designers I love, like Riley Blake and Michael Miller. It's north of Sheppard which means I won't be heading up there often, but it's nice to know they exist. Plus, they had a ton of stuff on sale!
Now, puh-lease, leave a comment with your choice: option 1, 2 or 3. Thank you!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

WIP Wednesday: Staycation Edition

I mentioned yesterday that I'm starting a new job on Monday, after almost eight years with my former employer. I took off a week off between jobs and declared it a staycation! I set some goals for the week. They are:
  1. Quilt as much as possible. Specifically, I want to complete the quilting for my Sew Happy Quilt. By the way, this quilt desperately needs a better name. Any suggestions?
  2. Take as many naps as possible and/or sleep in every day.
  3. Get my hair cut and my brows waxed.
  4. Buy a new work dress (or dresses) Success!
  5. Drop off dinner for a friend who just gave birth.
  6. Organize our bank accounts: close my personal account and move our joint account to a fee free bank. FYI, this is more work than I anticipated it would be, considering we have already opened the new account.
  7. Spend an afternoon with a girlfriend, who I haven't visited with since I was on maternity leave.
  8. Meet another friend for lunch.
  9. Stave off anxiety about starting mynew job!
As is often the case when one has some time to oneself, the days quickly got booked with errands and appointments, but I was careful to carve out "me time." Monday was a wash. Levi and I both had doctor's appointments, although I did take myself out for lunch in between. Tuesday was grand; I went to the salon, shopped, made my friend dinner and got in several hours of quilting. Today I dropped off dinner, ran a couple errands (including a stop at The Workroom!) and quilted for two hours (so far).
Little Gems mini-scissors and Summersville FQ
I also made a yummy rhubarb and strawberry compote using produce from our CSA (Everdale Organic Farm).

Yummy deliciousness
My Sew Happy Quilt is over halfway done! And I still have two days of staycation left! Things are looking good for my reaching goal #1.
I did hit a minor snag though. Puckering! I decided to rip out the offending rows because I'm a perfectionist and it would drive me crazy if it remained.
Okay, here's the status report you've all been waiting for.

New Project
Quilting for Kids block - Loralei, the woman who ran the text swap I recently participated in, is asking for i-spy charm blocks for a foster child her mother is involved with. I've selected the fabric for the block (including the Summersville post above).

WIP status report
Flora Charm Quilt - HSTs are moving right along
Farmer's Wife QAL - yup, working it
We Bee Learning Bee - June is my month, yippee! I've asked the ladies to help make Levi's bed quilt so...
Levi's Bed Quilt -no longer hibernating!
Sew. Happy. Quilt back  - Quilting is half done
3 x 6 blocks for Q2 - in the mail, two have been received.

Hibernating projects
Levi's Growth Chart - no progress
NY Beauty QAL - fabric has arrived

P.S. I'm having Blogger formatting issues. So frustrating! I'm giving up and just hitting publish now.
P.P.S.  I'm linking up with WIP Wednesdays at Freshly Pieced and the Canadian Needle and Thread Network. Check out what everyone else is up to.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

New Job, New Dresses! Let's Take Lots of Pictures!

I recently resigned from my job at an organization that I worked at for almost eight years. Thursday was my last day. It was weird to hand over the key to my office and take the elevator down 61 (!) flights for the last time. My colleagues threw me a lovely goodbye party and showered me with farewell gifts - I felt very loved.  I'm extremely excited about the next step in my career. The job I'm going to is with a very highly regarded international organization and is a management position. I decided to take a week off in between to decompress and focus on doing things I wanted to do, like quilt, nap, and shop. Because a new job calls for some new clothes. Obviously.

The rest of this post is going to involve a copious amount of photos in which we pretend that I am a model. All of these dresses are from The Bay. They were having a dress sale which I didn't know before arriving. Great timing!

Dress #1: I really liked this one. Chartreuse! My favorite colour! But unfortunately, it was a little too tight for the office and they didn't carry a larger size.
Dress #2: I loved this dress so much! But, again, it was waaaaaay too tight for the office (you can see my belly button! Yes, I have no shame!) and they didn't have a larger size.
Dress #3: Simple, understated with a lovely detail at the neckline, and entirely office appropriate. Purchased.
Dress #4: Flowy (huh, not a real word according to spell check) and flattering. It's hard to tell from the photos, but it's a deep grape with taupe polka dots.
Dress #5: My favorite of the bunch.  Everyone needs a navy blue shift dress. This one has a cool neckline and fit perfectly. And it was half price!

And finally, a pretty blouse. I might return this. The jury is still out. 

I promise to return to my regular quilty posts tomorrow!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Almost Wordless Weekend

We went to a retreat this weekend with a number of other families. It was great to get Levi out of the city and into nature.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Shout out to Mad About Patchwork

Hey fellow Canadian fabric lovers! You know how it's super expensive to buy designer fabric from the US because of high shipping costs and customs charges? Did you know that there's an awesome Canadian online retailer that carries over 140 Kona bolts, Essex linen/cotton, shot cotton and more? Pam at Mad About Patchwork is a great source for solids and basics. I've ordered from Pam three times so far and have been thrilled with each experience. I put in an order yesterday morning and my package was here waiting for me when I got home from work today! I was shocked with the speed. Especially because I'd ordered 40 custom charms. That's right, Pam will custom cut charm squares in the Kona colour of your choice. Now I can finish up my Flora HSTs without having to spend any time at the cutting table. Yippee!

Right now Pam has Kona FQ bundles on sale and I picked up the Sea Spectrum bundle which is 18 fat quarters for only $27. I want to use them all together in something special. I'm open to ideas so send them my way!

I also picked up a few colours of Michael Miller's Painters Canvas because I thought they would be good blenders for my Farmer's Wife Quilt. They look fantastic in person. From the bottom: Aqua, Platinum, Ocean, Vanilla and Grey.

P.S. I have no affiliation with Pam or Mad About Patchwork. I'm just happy with her service and wanted to share the love.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Friendship Saves the Day

Actually, the Friendship Block, #40 from the Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt book. It's not that today was a bad day. The weather was gorgeous and we had some good family time running errands. But Levi had a fever off and on all day and was not his usual cheerful self. It's probably teething and nothing to worry about, but I'm his mom and I don't like it when he's out of sorts.

Us, out and about
I needed tonight's sewing session to be relaxing. I didn't want to be frustrated, so there would be no HSTs or monster quilting for me. Instead, I chose a pretty fabric scrap from the scrap bags I scored from The Workroom a few weeks ago, matched it with a lovely wood grain print in blue from my stash and selected a Farmer's Wife block. I'd forgotten how satisfying paper piecing can be. I just love how my points come out crisp and perfect. Yes, it was an evening well spent.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Losing its Charm

I've been taking a break from quilting my Sew Happy Quilt and instead have turned my attention to my Flora charm quilt, mainly because I was getting a bit frustrated with quilting such a large beast on my little Kenmore. Little did I realize that I was about to make myself even more crazy with the monster that my Flora quilt is becoming.  You see, this quilt will be made almost entirely from half square triangles. You guys, what was I thinking?! Here's where things stand:

I currently have 62 turquoise HSTs, 54 green, 52 rust and 48 yellow. 

I have charms cut in my four solid colours enough to make 14 turquoise, 26 green, 22 yellow and 16 rust.  I still need to cut 40 more Kona Snow charms and at this point I'm actually considering just ordering a charm pack of them to speed things up a bit. Once sewn, I will have a grand total of 294 HSTs...

That is 294 HSTs to trim down to size. Which is INSANITY! Again, what the heck was I thinking?!  Now, let's just say that I chose not to trim my HSTs and instead trust that my 1/4 seams are perfect (HA!). Is this flirting with disaster? What do you think? Of course, I should keep in mind that if I don't trim the HSTs, I will have to snip 1176 little wings off the corners of these suckers. 1176! Somehow I'm not finding this prospect appealing either. (EDIT: It's actually only 588 little wings, but STILL!).

All of the above assumes I'm making a queen bed sized quilt, which was my initial hope. Now, with the HSTs I have material for, I'm looking at a size of 64 by 72 inches. That's without borders. Assuming a 5 inch border all the way around, I'm up to 74 by 82. If I do another 5 inch border, that gets me to 84 by 92 which is what one of my handy-dandy quilt size reference charts tells me is the minimum size I would need to make this a queen bed sized quilt.  I'm beginning to think that this will be the first quilt I send out to a long arm quilter. If I tackle quilting this baby, it could be years before it gets completed. Plus, I really want it free motion quilted. I can't begin to fathom doing that on my Kenmore.

Sigh. I'm starting to feel a tad defeated. I think I'd better go back to my Sew Happy Quilt tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

WIP Wednesday: Buckwheat Edition

I missed WIP Wednesday last week, but if you keep up with me regularly, you know that I've managed to get quite a bit done over the last two weeks. To recap: I created a photo tutorial for the Zig Zag block I've asked my hivemates to make me for my month of the We Bee Learning Be. I also completed all six of my dresden blocks for the 3 x 6 mini bee.

I've been making progress on my Flora HST charm quilt, primarily by cutting Kona Snow charms and prepping them for stitching. I hope to sew the seams tonight.

I finally turned my attention back to my Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt blocks. Actually, just one block, #13 Buckwheat. I hand pieced the majority of this block in front of the television. There are SO MANY pieces. I'm embarassed to say how long I've been working on this block for. I guess I just don't spend much time watching TV anymore. I finally got so tired of this block that this evening, I machine pieced the final four seams.  This is a block that I should have paper pieced because my points aren't fabulous. I do like the fabric I chose though.

WIP status report
Flora Charm Quilt - HSTs are moving right along progress
Farmer's Wife QAL - yup, working it
We Bee Learning Bee - June is my month, yippee!
Sew. Happy. Quilt back  - Quilting is about a third done
3 x 6 blocks for Q2 - done but not yet mailed
Levi's Bed Quilt -no longer hibernating!
Hibernating projects

Levi's Growth Chart - no progress
NY Beauty QAL - fabric has arrived!

I'm linking up with WIP Wednesdays at Freshly Pieced and the Canadian Needle and Thread Network. Check out what everyone else is up to. There's so much creativity out there!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, June 4, 2012

My Turn! A Zig-Zag HST Block Photo-Tutorial

It's my month for the We Bee Learning Bee! Hooray! Originally, my month was scheduled for December, but one of the women in our group is unable to do June so I'm taking it on.

I'm asking the ladies in my hive to help me make Levi a bed quilt. You might remember the Growth Chart I made him (which I'm still not done embroidering the numbers on yet) using Moda's Punctuation line. Soon after "completing" it, I purchased the ABC panel from the same line to use for a quilt for his bed. 

The panel will be sliced and diced to make one side of the quilt. The other side is going to be zig-zag stripes. I'm assigning each woman in my hive a colour, three will get red, four blue and four yellow, and asking them to make me an HST zig zag block. I've put together a quick photo tutorial to help them out. Here's what we're aiming for:

First, cut 16 squares, 4 inches by 4 inches. Eight will be black. The other eight will be in your assigned colour. It's okay if a couple of the fabrics have other colours in them, as long as the fabric "reads" red (or blue, or yellow) overall.

Next, assemble your half square triangles. There are a ton of tutorials online explaining various ways to make HSTs. I like to draw guidelines on my fabric - a line on the diagonal and one a quarter inch away on either side like so:

Actually, I'm lying. I use this handy dandy Onmigrid ruler made especially for HSTs. But if I didn't have one I'd totally draw three lines.

Okay, so next I sew just a hair to the right of each of the lines I've drawn because I read somewhere that this creates more accurate HSTs. See? 

I chain piece all sixteen HSTs, then snip and chain the second line. Once both lines are sewn, cut down the centre diagonal and press. Since we're using black, be aware of which way you are pressing. What I mean is, if the other fabric has a lot of white, press towards the black so the seam doesn't show through.

Okay, now all your HSTs are done. Just kidding! You need to trim them to 3.5 inch squares. I hate this part. Sorry hive mates! But it's a really important step when you're using 16 HSTs in a quilt block. 

Okay, now you are done are ready to start assembling the block. One thing to keep in mind. This block looks best when you pay attention to your seam allowance and use an accurate scant 1/4 inch seam.

Choose your layout. Then start sewing...  

OOOOPS!  See what I did there? So annoying! Pick, pick, pick... TA-DA!  All done!