Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Introducing...The Nameless Mini

Before I say anything else, let me first say that I hate naming quilts. I'm terrible at it and I don't enjoy it. I've been calling this one my Tula Spool mini quilt which simply describes what it is, and I figure, if I'm entering it in the Blogger's Quilt Festival (in the Mini Quilt category), it needs a proper name. But I'm drawing a total blank! So if you have any suggestions, please let me know in the comments.

Also, if this is your first visit to Modern Balabusta, welcome! Thanks for stopping by! My name is Lisa and I live in Toronto with my husband and two children. This here blog is where I share my crafty endeavours. I primarily quilt, though I'm dipping my toe in the garment sewing water and have been known to knit and crochet too. Check out balaWHAT? to learn about the blog's name and the Finished Quilts section to see more of my work.

I wanted to make something with the Tula Pink Acacia FQs the minute I bought them. I knew the raccoon print needed to be fussy cut, so I flipped through my huge stack of TP ten inch charms which I collected during several Flickr swaps. The timing of the Acacia purchase coincided with having fancied up my sewing space (new machine, new desk, new shelves, new design wall!), so a spool quilt seemed appropriate. I roughly followed the pattern in Liberty Love, except I made the spools 5 inch squares to accommodate the size of the items I wanted to fussy cut and didn't chose my own widths for my borders.
In addition to Tula Pink prints, I used Alison Glass's text print for the background and the binding is Robert Kaufman's Raspberry chambray (loooove chambray!).

This quilt provided me with a much needed opportunity to practise free motion quilting. I started by straight line quilting around all of the spools and borders. Then I mimicked the lines that thread makes the spools themselves, using thread colours that matched the fabrics as closely as possible. All threads are Mettler.

For the top and bottom of each spool, I did straight lines again, and finally, I pebble quilted the outer border.
I am so thrilled with this mini quilt! It came out exactly as I'd envisioned it and I love having found just the right print for each spool.

Quilt Stats
Size: 17.5 x 17.5 inches
Category: Mini Quilt
Date Completed: Today! October 30, 2013
Machine pieced and quilted by me on my Janome Horizon

If you are so inclined, you can vote for me here!
Past entries: Spring 2013 (baby quilt), Fall 2012 (mini quilt), Spring 2012


Monday, October 28, 2013

Halloween Prep

We haven't introduced Levi to Halloween yet. We have Purim as his opportunity to dress up and until he starts public school (or until daycare introduces him to Halloween) we are skipping trick or treating.
I do have a special six year old in my life though, my dear friend's son. I've been teaching him to sew. We've made a pencil case and a cape and he requested a crown to match the cape for Halloween. And if I'm making him one, I figured one for his little brother should be made too. I hope they like them!


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Not Here

I've been getting quite a bit of sewing done lately, but I haven't found time to blog. When faced with the choice between blogging or sewing, sewing always wins. Also, I'm finding Instagram is a great way to interact with the online quilting community. It's quick and easy and satisfies my desire to share my progress.

Here's a quick catch-up of what I've been working on lately:

I whipped up a voile infinity scarf. I get really hot, really quickly, so a light scarf is just right for this fall weather.

I took a class at TheWorkroom and made a WikstenTova. I LOVE IT! I'd been hoarding this fabric for over a year. It's called African Fusion (I think) from Pat Bravo's Indie line.

It's not breast feeding friendly, but I don't care. It's comfortable and the fit is great. I had to make one change to the pattern which was to add bust darts. As a result, the sleeves have a bit of a gather at the shoulder, but it looks like it's there by design! Bonus!

I've already begun work on a second Tova.

I've also been hard at work on my spool mini quilt. It's almost done and I'm hoping to finish it in time to enter into the Blogger's Quilt Festival.

There's also been a fair bit of garment sewing related purchases. I've really bitten the clothes sewing bug! Much to my dismay, most commercial and indie patterns' largest size for bottoms are too SMALL for me! It's pretty upsetting, because while I'm certainly not thin, I don't think of myself as fat. Luckily there are a few designers out there making patterns for women my size. I've ordered several and am waiting for them to arrive.

On the left is a stretch railroad denim and on the right a chambray, both from Robert Kaufman.

That about catches y'all up with my activities. I'm off to continue work on Tova 2.0.

P.S. I'm posting this from my iPad using the Blogsy app. I hope it works and doesn't look too wonky!

Friday, October 11, 2013

A Trio of Good Stuff

Three pretty great things happened today. The last two weeks have been exhausting and "good stuff" was definitely welcome. If I truly reflect on the last two weeks, there have actually been quite a few highlights: the Tova class I'm taking at The Workroom; getting new shelves up in my sewing space; a fun night out with a girlfriend; and, progress on my Marcelle Medallion. But I really need to think to remember all the good, because the tiring (Lila is teething and up several times each night), the frustrating (Levi is not going to bed easily these days and is often up past 9) and the busy (I'm a person who needs a significant amount of downtime/alone time) are overwhelming.

So, three great things about today. First, I made a superhero cape with one of my favourite six year olds. In late August, I volunteered to watch my friends' son one morning so that his parents could get stuff done. Our activity was to make a pencil case out of Batman fabric. He loved it and asked for a second sewing lesson. Sure!
The resulting cape is reversible and attaches with velcro. I made the neckline too big but it's a pretty great result for winging it and the young man in question is really proud of it which makes me very happy. I didn't get great photos unfortunately.

The second great thing was a total surprise. I was having terrible afternoon. Lila wouldn't nap so I put her in the stroller to try and induce sleep and on the way out I check the mailed and found a care package from my dear friend Shannon (who I met at Sewing Summit 2012)! I'd asked the name of a fabric in a project she posted on Instagram and what does she do? She goes and buys it for me! Whaaat?! These Denyse Schmidt prints aren't available in Canada; they are only sold at JoAnn's.
The third great thing about today actually began on Wednesday when I bought a stack of Tula Pink's Acacia after class at The Workroom (the two black prints are from Sweetwater, not Tula). 
I wanted to cut into it right away! I knew I needed a project that would allow me to fussy cut the sweet raccoon, so I thumbed through my magazines and books and landed on a spool mini quilt. I used a few of my big charms from a Tula swap I took part in recently. This mini will hang in my sewing room once completed. I'm looking forward to free motion quilting this top in the next few days.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

October Goal: September 2.0

For what I believe is the first time, I didn't achieve my montly goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes. My goal was to piece the back of my Stacking the Odds Quilt, as well as baste it.When I started working on the back, I got so frustrated. The quilt top is HUGE and there isn't even enough floor spacer to lay it out!
I became even more frustrated when I measured the portion of the pieced backing that I'd completed and found I was about 10 inches too short! So I did the only thing that made sense. I shelved the project and moved on to happier projects, like my Marcelle Medallion.

But, I do want this quilt finished. So I'm making it my October goal to piece the back. Once done, I'll be sending this off to a long-armer, because the thought of quilting this makes me want to hide under my bed!

A Lovely Year of Finishes

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Deer + Birds = Love

I have a finished quilt to share with you today! It's actually been finished for over a week, but it needed to reach it's home before I could blog about it.  Introducing...Deer + Birds = Love. Get it? It's a PLUS quilt with Deer and Birds? I know, I can hear you groaning.
My sister is expecting in November and I made this quilt for my future niece or nephew. This is the first quilt I've made for my sister which makes it really special for me.

I used two charm packs of Oh My Deer, which I bought in Salt Lake City at Sewing Summit in 2012. I probably have close to a whole pack worth of squares left, because I wanted to only use prints that read as a single colour, so that the pluses would be visible. It's a very simple design and the construction went quickly. I particularly like how the bird print, which sits in the middle of each plus, is noticeably larger than the deers and dots. Again, I think this helps draw the eye to the plus design.
I quilted this using a leftover spool of Sulky Blendables from my Happy Melon Quilt. The quilting is simple: straight lines about 1/4 inch on either side of every seam. I continue to love the effect of  straight line echo quilting. You really can't go wrong with it, particularly with simple patchwork like this.

The quilt back is Valori Wells flannel from her Bliss line. I've used it twice: here and in Lila's yet-to-be-finished quilt. It's extremely soft and I love the elephants!
This is the first time I've remembered to include a label. I couldn't decide whether to date it September, when the quilt was finished, or November when the baby is due. Then I thought, what if the baby doesn't arrive until December and the quilt has the wrong month listed?! Hence, the label reads"Quilted with love by Auntie Lisa, 2013." I used the alphabet function on my Janome Horizon, another first! Unfortunately, the letters doesn't show up very well. I should have used darker thread. Next time!
The binding is from Marmalade by Bonnie and Camille. As you know from my recent stash enhancements, I love a striped binding!

My sister and her husband received the quilt by mail today and they love it, which gives me a real thrill. They said that it's their first family heirloom and they want to hang it on the wall and then pass it down, but I'm trying to convince them that quilts are made to be used! At 32x32 inches, it's the perfect size for a playmat or stroller quilt. I promised them there would be many quilts in their future so there was no need to memorialize this one!