Wednesday, August 28, 2013

WIP Wednesday: Yarn!

It's been two weeks since my last WIP update and I'm happy to report that projects are, in fact, in progress. First up is another adorable pair of pants for Lila. These are so fun to make and this pair happens to match one of her onsies. Bonus! I found the heart fabric on Queen street at one of my favourite shops. It's one of those places that has narrow aisles and bolts of fabric stacked on the floor and on every available surface. They also carry zippers in every length and colour imaginable.
I've been hard at work on my Stacking the Odds quilt. It's Queen sized and the top is done. It's been a challenge. You can read more about the process of piecing it here.
I'm continuing to work on Lila's Tula quilt. It's been basted for a few weeks, but I was waiting to buy my new sewing machine before attempting to free motion quilt it (more on the new machine soon!). So far I've just been FMQing a practise sandwich, but I'm going to start on the real thing tomorrow.
Finally, since Lila often doesn't allow me time to sit at my machine, I've picked up my knitting needles again. My two pairs of hand knit socks have worn thin, so I've started a new pair. Nothing fancy pattern wise, just simple toe up socks with lovely Koigu sock yarn. I'm pleasantly surprised at how quickly the knitting is going. I remember socks taking me forever to make, but at the rate I'm going, I should knock these out rather quickly.
I hope you are making progress in your crafty endeavours! I'd love to hear what you are working on, some please do leave me a comment and share your progress with me.
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Goal Acheived!

I'm amazed that I managed to finish my August goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes. Life with two kids is so busy, finding time to sew is a challenge. Managing to blog is even harder (hence the lack of updates lately). And yet, I've actually accomplished so much in the last weeks of August. I can't wait to share it all with you tomorrow in my WIP Wednesday post.

Today's post, however, is about my Stacking the Odds quilt top. It's my first queen sized quilt and I think it will be a long time before I attempt another quilt this size. As I mentioned in a previous post, piecing this quilt was tricky, in part due to the use of templates. Another issue was the way the background fabric is cut. The two outer columns are cut on a diagonal with one end being 5 3/8 inches wide and the opposite being 7 5/8. The column itself is over 90 inches long. Who has a straight edge that long? No one!
My solution was to use a piece of yarn and draw the line with chalk, but the result wasn't perfect. Not even close. However, I embraced imperfection and decided it was "good enough" and moved on.

The size of the quilt itself provided another challenge. I don't have enough floor space in my condo to lay the top out flat, even after pushing furniture against the walls. This made pinning the final borders difficult. It also means that I simply can't baste this beast at home. So, even though I'd love to get this quilt finished, I'm going to have to wait until the next Quilt Sunday at The Workroom to baste. The upside is that I'll have use of a huge table, as well as some lovely ladies to help me.

In the meantime, I'll be working on the backing. As usual, I'll be making a scrappy backing using the leftover pieces, Kona pepper and a fabric by Parsons Grey which I picked up today. I also bought some variegated thread for quilting. I'm planning to do a figure eight pattern from edge to edge.
Here's a photo of the finished top. Due to space constraints, it's really tricky to get a good photo - our bedroom is pretty small!
 The next time you see this quilt, it will be in a finish post. Wish me luck!

P.S. I should mention that I was a July winner in the A Lovely Year of Finishes random draw, which this the 2nd time I've won! This time I received 10 spools of Aurifil. Lucky me! Thank you so much to Shanna and Melissa for their hard work.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

WIP Wednesday: Baby Leggings!

There is so much I'd like to be working on, but unfortunately Lila has other plans for my time. She is not content to sit in her vibrating chair or lie on her play mat. No, she needs to be held. And she requires that I be standing and swaying while holding her. If she falls asleep and I put her down, she awakens in minutes.  For someone like me, someone who needs to feel like I'm getting stuff done, this is maddening. She does sleep in the car and stroller, so I can run errands and such. But sewing only happens in very short spurts and often not at all. Alas.

Despite Lila's high maintenance needs, progress has been made on my Stacking the Odds quilt. 2.5 of eight strips have been pieced. The rest of the strips are arranged in order so I should be able to get them pieced quickly, provided I have time to sit at my machine.
I also made two pairs of leggings for Lila, using the fabulous Briar Rose jersey I bought last week. I cut the first pair incorrectly - the stretch goes the wrong way - but they do fit!  I made the second pair (the strawberry ones) roomier and they are beyond adorable. I bought two metres of each jersey print and will likely make some larger sized pants for her to grow into.  
And of course I bought an FQ bundle of the entire Briar Rose line and am marinating on what to make with it. Some ideas are a St. Louis 16 patch quilt, a plus quilt or maybe an enlarged star block of some kind.
And now, I must run, as Lila is kvetching!

Happy Wednesday! Linking up with Freshly Pieced and The Needle and Thread Network.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Quilts at the Creek

Last Sunday, the four of us visited Black Creek Pioneer Village to see Quilts at the Creek. Quilts at the Creek is an annual quilt show put on by the York Heritage Quilters Guild and this year there were over 150 quilts featured. It was my first time attending the show and I really enjoyed myself (and Kivi and the kids had fun visiting the Village buildings and seeing the animals). I definitely want to enter a quilt in this show next year.

One of the highlights of the visit was meeting women from the Toronto Jewish Quilting Project. This group meets weekly to hand sew and quilt gifts to be donated to "people touched by cancer." I'm planning to attend the next meeting.

Here are some of my favorite quilts from the show. Enjoy!

Beyond the Blue Event Horizon by Helen Benninger

Sunny Days and Starry Nights by Jessica Speiker
Crochet Ladies by Helgard Koch. Yes, each of those ladies are crocheted and then sewn onto the blocks.
These six Bargello quilts (there is a seventh that didn't fit in the photo) were sewn by a stitching group. The neutral one is my favorite.
Dutch Oude II by Mary Elizabeth Kinch.  This quilt was AMAZING to see in person. Those hourglass blocks are tiny! But not as tiny as the blocks in the blue border.
 Can you believe these itsy-bitsy four patches? Wow!
 Star Flower by Lenore Workman won 2nd place at CQA in 2012. It's breathtaking.
Snack time! Do you have any idea how hard it is to get a family photo with everyone looking at the camera when your kids are 9 weeks old and 2 and a half?!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


I've been unhappy with my blog template for a while now, but I lack the technical expertise to make the blog fancy like the pros, and I'm not willing to pay someone else to design a template either. I've made some initial changes and right now I'm struggling with my header. The issue is fitting the blog name into the photo of my Happy Melon quilt, which is the photo I want to use. My husband didn't like my first version:
Version two inverts the photo (because Kivi thought it should flow from right to left) and places the blog name on the quilt itself. I don't like the green writing, but pink, white and black blended into the photo too much.
Kivi felt that a background behind the blog name would be helpful. Photobucket wouldn't let us do this, so we had to find an app-for-that. Sadly, the one we found wouldn't allow me to make the font any larger than that in version three below.
So, people of the internet, I'm looking for your thoughts. Like any of these? Hate them all? Want to make something better for free for me (!!)? What say you?

Stacking the Odds Revisited

A couple days ago, I got an urge to revisit a UFO that's been in a shoebox, on a shelf, for a very long time. In fact, I just checked my blog history and discovered that it's been over a year since I began work on Stacking the Odds. I intended to make this quilt for my sister. The reason it got shelved was that it uses templates, which I discovered a severe aversion to via this project.

For whatever reason, the templates don't feel as daunting anymore. Also, the fabric is fabulous (Parson Gray's Curious Nature) and it's a shame to have it all boxed up instead of showcased in a quilt top.

In an effort to provide myself with motivation, completing this quilt top is going to be my August goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes. Wish me luck!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Fresh from the Farm

There are so many things I love about my Farmer's Wife quilt project. I love that I can whip up a block relatively quickly, when I feel the need to just finish something for a change. I love being able to switch between paper piecing, hand piecing and machine piecing. I love pouring over my stash and auditioning fabrics for each block. And I love that I can put away this project for a few weeks or months and then return to it with fresh enthusiasm. 

I have six new blocks to share with you today. My favourite of the bunch is Century of Progress. I paper pieced this block. I can't imagine attacking this any other way! 

I bought the floral fabric several years ago. It was one of my first quilting cotton purchases and I love the shiny silver in it. I was surprised when I took it out to iron it that I hadn't cut into it yet, as I'd always intended to use it in Farmer's Wife blocks.

Here are all six blocks. From top left they are: #30, End of Day; #61, Northern Lights; #5, Bat Wing; #71, Puss in the Corner; #29, Economy and #18, Century of Progress.
I've completed 28 blocks to date. I haven't decided how many I'm going to make. Completing all 111 seems impossible, and also, oh so tempting!