Monday, January 28, 2013

Triple-Zip Along Fabric Pull, Take Two

Debbie's Triple-Zip Along began today! In order to qualify for prizes, finished pouches need to be posted in the Flickr group by February 15. Deadlines totally motivate me, as long as I don't have too many of them all at once.

Last Wednesday I posted the fabrics I'd pulled for this project; lots of Salt Water by Tula Pink, in the coral colour way.
The plan hinged on fussy cutting the octopus and centering it on the front of the pouch. Unfortunately, when it came to cutting the pieces, I realized that this was going to prove difficult, due to the pouch's construction. The main fabric is cut as one large piece with maybe two thirds becoming the front and the rest becoming the back. I wasn't confident I could accurately centre the octopus. Rather using up a fabric I loved and potentially ending up with a finished product I might not be happy with, I decided to dig back into my stash. Here's what I came up with.
The fabric on the left is from Heaven and Helsinki and I had just enough to cut the three lining pieces. The citrus print is from Maude Asbury's Kitchy Kitchen line and is called Fruit Slices. I picked it up in Salt Lake City last October on a whim. I'm using Metro Living Circles in navy and the chartreuse (my favourite colour) dots are from Bella by Lotta Jansdotter.

Now that all the pieces are cut, I'm going to put them aside for a while. I know! I really want to stitch them up, but I have a baby gift to baste and quilt. So many projects, so little time!

Sunday, January 27, 2013


I did it! I reached my January goal of completing my Bungle Jungle Wonky Star quilt top and I even finished it with six days to spare!
And just in time too, because the baby this quilt will be gifted to was born yesterday morning, mere hours before I finished the final seam. Now I need to kick it into high gear and get this baby quilted.
I'm planning to back the quilt with fleece. I've never quilted fleece before, but my Google search indicates that others have done this successfully. Spray basting is recommended so now I need to figure out where to find some in Toronto  I'm going to use a thin batting and straight line quilting on the diagonal.  I've picked a perfect red and white stripe for the binding. Exciting stuff!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

WIP Wednesday: The Rrrrrrrrrip Edition

Tonight just isn't my night. My plan was to complete my Bungle Jungle Wonky Star quilt top. I had eight pieces to join.  Last night I'd carefully arranged them which right sides facing. I was tired, too tired to take the time to pin, so instead I lay those pieces so that all the seams that needed sewing were on the same side (the left) and I put a pin in to remind me, "these are the seams to be sewn!" I thought I was paying close attention. I was wrong.
Enter my seam ripper. I had to rip out all by two of the seams I sewed tonight. I really bungled this up (see what I did there? Bungled my Bungle Jungle? Tee hee).

So much for finishing my quilt top. Luckily, I have until my self-imposed deadline of January 31st to finish it up and qualify for this months A Lovely Year of Finishes link-up.

In other news, I'm considering joining in on the 3x6 mini bee this quarter. I'd decided not to make too many commitments in 2013, what with expecting a baby mid-year, but I do need another six blocks to round out my plum and chartreuse sampler quilt. I think I can find time to make six blocks in the next three months. I mean, of course I can! I should just do it right?

Here's where things stand in my world:

On Deck
Triple Zipalong Pouch - fabric chosen, zippers purchased and the zip-along begins on the 28th.

In Progress

Bungle Jungle baby quilt -
see above
Hedgies & Hexies block - working away at it here and there
Farmer's Wife QAL - no new progress
Lucky Stars BOM - waiting for February's quilt block
Snowy Sparkly knit hat - knitting a round here and there

Hibernating projects

Curious Nature quilt - no progress
Sew Intertwined quilt -no progress
Flora Charm Quilt - no progress
Levi's Growth Chart - no progress
NY Beauty QAL - no progress
We Bee Learning Bee/Levi's Bed Quilt - No progress

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Other Fibre Art in my Life

A long, long time ago, before I was a Mom and before I was a fabric addict, I was enthralled with another fibre art. I was a knitter and crocheter! I learned to knit as a child and picked it up again in my early twenties. Since learning to sew, I have barely picked up my needles and hooks. I'm simply not drawn to yarn in the same way I was before. However, my winter hat is getting pilled and I've had a Sockhead Hat in progress since winter 2011. This is a wonderful pattern. This is actually my second Sockhead. I lost my first one which stinks because it was gorgeous. The hat is dead easy to make; just a straight knit stitch in the round using sock yarn. Oh, how I love sock yarn! I'm using Dream in Colour in cream and it has silvery strands in it. It's beautiful.
Knitting really is like riding a bicycle. It's a skill you just don't forget. I was even able to pick up stitches that had fallen off the needles and dropped six rounds. Not bad at all!

Saturday, January 19, 2013


I will try and keep the pink in check, but there will be no resisting the frills and ruffles!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

WIP Wednesday: Slow and Steady Progress

Nothing is getting done quickly around here, but progress is being made!

The horizontal strips of my Bungle Jungle Wonky Star quilt top are almost finished. It's so incredibly boring to work on that I can only manage half an hour of sewing before I want to move on to something else. Luckily, I've only had that much time to spare in the evenings lately so it's a win-win. Side note: consider this my mid-month check in for the Lovely Year of Finishes challenge. I'm very glad I set the quilt top as my goal for January, as opposed to trying to finish the entire quilt, as there is no way that would have happened!
I've been working on my hexies while watching Downton Abbey season three (weddings galore!) and New Girl season one. I don't have a solid plan for them yet, but think I'll end up cutting the fabric into a 12 inch block for my 3x6 mini bee sampler quilt (I chose plum and chartreuse fabrics with this in mind).
Finally, Debbie from A Quilter's Table is hosting a Sew Along for her Triple Zip Pouch starting January 28. I met Deb and her daughter at Sewing Summit. She's such a warm and friendly person and is incredibly talented. The Triple Zip pouch looks perfect for holding all my hand sewing supplies. I've pulled a stack of coral prints to use for this project. The Salt Water octopus will be the focal print. I can't wait to get started!
And of course, my regular readers are well aware of my Lucky Stars BOM obsession. Maybe that's why progress on everything else is so very slow...

On Deck
Triple Zipalong Pouch

In Progress
Bungle Jungle baby quilt - coming along nicely
Hedgies & Hexies block - working away at it here and there
Farmer's Wife QAL - no new progress
Lucky Stars BOM - January blocks are complete

Hibernating projects
Curious Nature quilt - no progress
Sew Intertwined quilt -no progress
Flora Charm Quilt - no progress
Levi's Growth Chart - no progress
NY Beauty QAL - no progress
We Bee Learning Bee/Levi's Bed Quilt - No progress

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

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A Quilter’s Table

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Obsessed Much?

So, I might possibly, kinda, sorta be obsessed with my Lucky Stars BOM quilt and the Bloomsbury Garden fabric I selected. Shocking, I know! I've only written four blog posts in a row about it. Boring, right? Regardless, here's yet another post for your reading pleasure.

After worrying about not having enough fabrics in red and navy, I went shopping for more. Pink Castle Fabrics had what was left of their stock on sale. Sweet! I generally try not to order from the States, because shipping can get expensive (and occasionally I get hit with customs charges which sucks), but this time I just went for it.  Here's the happy mail I received today:
My fabric selection now looks like this.
I wish I had a few more prints in the navy range, but this is all I could find (and might be all there were in the line actually). Still, the turquoise no longer dominates as much so overall I'm pleased.

Now, if only the February block would come! I might have to resort to making the practice block, which looks so fussy and isn't needed for the layout I've selected.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Lessons Learned While Paper Piecing, Part Two

If you missed Part One (which I didn't realize would be part one at the time), you can find it here.

I debated two issues, when approaching my January block for the Lucky Stars Block of the Month. First, could I artfully include all of my Liberty fabrics, even though I had two, or even three colour ways? I hemmed and hawed, consulted others, and ultimately decided to go for it.  Second, should I use the cutting guides provided, or take my usual approach of only trimming as I went? For my 12.5" block, I ended up cutting my fabric using templates (see part one). It ended up being time consuming, but I didn't waste very much fabric at all.
I so enjoyed making my first block and using my Liberty that I wanted to keep going! I decided that I'd make a 12.5" and a 6.5" block per month. I sketched out a quilt layout that would incorporate the 24 blocks (plus sashing) and chose fabric for my little January block. Since my big block didn't use any of the brown colourway of the Liberty, I pushed myself to mix some of these prints with the blues and reds.  I admit it: I really struggled with my fabric selection.

I'm not convinced my fabric choices work together. The larger floral print I used includes both red and peach, which I hoped would pull the other three fabrics together.  What do you think of the result? Be honest now!

I used the cutting guides that Elizabeth provided for the smaller block. I figured I could handle a little wastage, since I would be using less fabric overall.
I learned two things from this experience. One: I simple hate wasting fabric! See all those little pieces up there? They are too small to be repurposed. Too small for hexies even! If I'd used the cutting guide for the larger block, the wasted fabric pieces would have been big enough to use for hexies or I could have sewn strips together and made a strip quilt, but these cuts are far too little. So annoying!  Two: using the cutting guides made piecing SO. MUCH. FASTER. I whipped this block up in record time. 

You see my dilemma right? There is no win/win. Either I go for efficiency and waste fabric, or I am a fabric Scrooge and double the time each block takes. 

I leave you with my two completed blocks. Have I mentioned lately how much I LOVE LIBERTY OF LONDON?

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Lessons Learned While Paper Piecing

I'm an experienced paper piecer. Well, as experienced as someone who only began quilting a year and a half ago can be. But, I've done my fair share: at least a dozen Farmer's Wife blocks and a couple mini quilts. In the past, I've always used large pieces of fabric and my add-a-quarter ruler to trim after each seam. If cutting guides were provided in a pattern, I simply ignored them. Isn't that the beauty of paper piecing? Not needing to do any advanced cutting? Sure, sometimes I'd end up with odd shapes of leftover fabric, but that's why I have a scrap box, right?

The Lucky Stars BOM includes cutting guides. I considered using them, but I hate wasting a lot of fabric and those who'd used the guides had posted on Flickr that they'd noticed a lot of waste. Since I'm using my precious Liberty of London stash, I wanted to keep waste to a minimum.  So, no advanced cutting using the provided guidelines. At the same time, I didn't want to just use my entire fat quarters and trim as I went because I'd be left with weird shapes that might not be reusable.  What's a girl to do?

I ended up cutting up the templates and cutting my fabric in advance, adding a half inch or so extra around the perimeter of each shape. This worked pretty well, except I wasn't quite as precise as I should have been. The result was a lot of seam ripping and a few seams that were less than a quarter inch. I was extremely frustrated when, after sewing a seam, I'd find that my fabric piece didn't quite cover the area it should have.

That said, the end result was totally worth it. There was hardly any fabric wasted! My lesson learned is that I need to be extremely precise when cutting my pieces and I should always err on the side of caution and add an extra quarter inch. 

Isn't she pretty? I can't wait to make February's block!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Lucky Stars Quandry

You guys, I'm really struggling with my fabric choice for the Lucky Stars Block of the Month (read about it here). My initial thought was to use my stash of Liberty of London's Bloomsbury Garden fabrics.

Looking at these fabrics again, I realized that I don't have a great variety of colour here. I have lots of turquoise, a good number of prints in the brown colourway, a couple reds and a few navy prints. But as a group, can they all go together? The brown sticks out like a sore thumb. Taking those out of the mix, I'm still uneven. I needed more red and navy fabrics so I took to the internet and found five additional prints at Pink Castle Fabric which I quickly ordered. But even with them, does this make a cohesive colour group? Is it too much blue?Gah!  I'd use various cream/white Kona solids for the background.

Getting more and more frustrated, I turned to my stash. I have a layer cake of Mama Said Sew by Sweetwater, which would work. I'd again use various whites for background. I like the fabric line a lot and don't have anything picked out to make with it yet, but it doesn't really excite me for this BOM project.

So, dear readers, please help me out. What do you think of the two options? What would you use if you were me? 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A Lovely Year of Finishes: January's Goal

A Lovely Year of FinishesI know, I know. Two posts in one day? Unheard of! I'm just too excited to wait until tomorrow to share my January goal for the A Lovely Year of Finishes challenge. Plus, I have time to blog tonight and who knows what tomorrow will bring, right?

To learn more about this challenge and join in the fun, check out my introductory post or head over to either Melissa or Shanna's blog.

My goal this month is to complete the quilt top laid out in the above photograph. It uses two charm packs of Bungle Jungle and I'm using Kona Papaya for the wonky star. I'll be using the same flannel backing that I used for my Hungry Caterpillar quilt and will probably use the Papaya for the binding. I haven't decided if I'll add a border yet. Do you think I should?

This top belongs to one of two baby quilts I'd like to finish by mid-February, but I'm all about setting realistic goals, so I'm only willing to publicly promise to finish this one top!

I'll let you know mid-month how I'm progressing. Be sure to let me know in the comments if you are also participating in Melissa and Shanna's 2013 challenge so that I can check out your January finish.

Introducing...The Hungry Caterpillar Quilt!

The sun is shining in Toronto today, so Levi, Kivi and I got all bundled up and headed out to photograph my latest finish, the Hungry Caterpillar quilt.  You can read about my progress here, here and here.

I used a panel for the main portion of this quilt. I bought it over a year ago and was just waiting for the right project. My initial plan was to finish this quilt in a week so that my mother could bring it back to Ottawa at the end of her visit in November, so using a panel seemed like a fast and easy solution. It didn't quite work out though. I finished the quilt top quickly, but decided to try some free motion quilting and well, it took a long time.  But it was worth it! The FMQ is definitely the star of this quilt.

The outer, red border is stitched with straight lines at random widths that cross at the corners.  The blue inner border is a loop da loop pattern and the marbles in the centre of the quilt is pebble quilted. I really stretched my skills with this project.

Finally, I stitched some doodles in the white spaces in the panels. I drew trees, clouds, worms, leaves and flowers.

The quilt is backed with a cute flannel print. Quilting with flannel is a royal pain! So! Much! Lint! But the softness makes it worth the trouble.

The binding is the green ombre from V and Co's Simply Color line. I had hoped for more variation in the colour, but I'm still happy with the result.

So there you have it: the Hungry Caterpillar quilt! I'll be mailing it out to my dear friend tomorrow. I hope she and her baby-to-be enjoy snuggling beneath it for many years.

I'll be linking up with WIP Wednesday tomorrow with Freshly Pieced and the Canadian Needle and Thread Network.

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