Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Stella's Baby Quilt

I purchased four metres of two different American Jane prints a couple years ago at an estate sale and knew they were destined for baby quilts. Our friends had a baby girl a few weeks ago and I decided that a simple quilt was in order.

I initially planned to make a whole cloth quilt but I then realized that I'd have to piece one of the prints because it ran directionality in the WRONG direction. Ugh. I remembered I had left over jelly roll pieces from a different American Jane collection so I pieced them jelly roll race style and added length the the quilt top.  
I free motion quilted vertical lines with unevenly spaced loops. Very fast and very sweet. I  wanted the quilt to be drapey and soft so the quilting is minimal.

I'm looking forward to passing this to its new owner this afternoon!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

FMQ Placemats

I'm falling behind on blogging my finishes and it's driving me crazy! Posting every project I complete is my ONLY crafty goal for 2015. So really quickly...I  made placemats! They are large. Placemat get washed so frequently that I find they shrink up over time so starting big is the way to go. 
I've loved these two Michael Miller veggie prints forever! I eye them every time I go to Len's Mills and finally picked them up one day when I decided I hated the quilted placemat under my breakfast plate (one of my first sewing projects ever, when I lacked an eye for colour apparently!).

I used this project as an opportunity to practise my FMQ. I  chose four different styles: spirals, cube stippling, a wavy leaf motif and a sunburst. The simplest is my favourite. Go figure! 
Aren't they just the most cheerful table toppers? Yes. Yes they are!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Fancy Sailor Top - My First TNT

There's a phrase I've seen around the sewing blogosphere: Tried and True (TNT for short). It's used when a sewer finds a pattern that fits her so well and that she loves so much, she just keeps making it over and over again. Well, I've finally found my first "tried and true" pattern. It's the Sailor Top by Fancy Tiger Crafts and I've made three so far.

My first was made using Nani Iro double gauze, which was an ambitious choice since I didn't make a muslin and I'd never sewn with double gauze before. What was I thinking?! Thankfully, this pattern is a perfect fit for my body. It's wonderful for the well endowed because of the gathers around the neckline. The construction is easy due to the raglan sleeves.  Gathers can be tricky to get evenly spread, but the pattern makes it easier by splitting the gathering into four sections.

I used the Kelvin print from Liberty of London for my second Sailor Top. It was easier to work with than the double gauze and turned out beautifully.
My most recent version used Cotton + Steel's new double gauze in mustard. This fabric is so soft! It's also a pain to work with. For some reason I found it more challenging than the Nani Iro. Regardless, the end result is just as terrific as the other two versions.
I wear these tops with jeans on the weekend and with dress pants and skirts during the week. They are so versatile! I hope that the Fancy ladies write more sewing patterns because I'll be first in line to snap them up!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Woodland Baby

My dear cousin is about to have her first baby! Like all good quilters, new baby means a new quilt is in order. I was most pleased to learn that the parents-to-be had chosen a forest animal theme for the nursery because I've been nursing (ahem) a Les Amis FQ bundle for at least a year, waiting for the right project. 

I knew that I wanted a relatively simple pattern for this quilt, as well as one that would show off the larger prints in the collection. Love Patchwork and Quilting had an insert recently showcasing Jeni Baker's Vintage Summer collection and the cover quilt served as my original initial inspiration. However, I changed up the pattern significantly: I cut 5 inch charms instead of 7.5 inch square, and I placed by solids in opposite corners, rather than adjacent. I love the process of designing my own quilt - calculating the yardage and cut sizes, (hooray for quilt math) and the number of blocks needed get the sizing perfect.
I used a large piece of the coral bunny fabric for the quilt back, along with a few skinnier stripes of aqua. It was still a bit too narrow, so I added a strip of the binding fabric too. Isn't the wood grain the most perfect addition to a Forest Friend quilt? (Levi insisted in being in this photo and I obliged).
I hemmed and hawed over how to quilt this. I wanted the finished piece to be soft and snuggly, so dense quilting was off the table. In the end, I chose a simple cross-hatch on the diagonal.
I used a variegated thread by Sulky which is quiet lovely. I particularly like how the cross hatching creates a secondary pattern on the quilt front.
I haven't gotten around to having quilt labels printed. I'd like to try printing them on my inkjet printer, but first I'll need to design a Modern Balabusta logo! Any volunteers? In the meantime, I've been embroidering my labels. It takes extra time, but I think looks quite nice.
This is my first finished quilt of 2015 and I'm thrilled that a quilt I love to bits is going to a cousin I love to pieces! I hope her family finds warmth beneath it for years to come.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Darning and a Pouch

My latest obsession is darning my hand knit socks. Knitting gives me repetitive strain so knitting new socks is out of the question. My last pair of knit socks are full of holes, but I can't bear to throw them out. Enter a very cool article in the latest Uppercase magazine, about Tom van Deijnen and his Visible Mending project. I was totally inspired to repair my socks!

I read numerous articles and watched a bunch of YouTube videos and eventually found a technique I like called duplicate stitch. I even bought a darning egg to make my job easier! I'm almost finished repairing this pair of socks and am on the lookout for holes in my other woolens!

My darning project needed a pouch to hold the tools of the trade, obviously. I stitched up a large quilted zipped pouch. I just love it! I used two gorgeous prints from Katarina Roccella's latest line, Recollection. The outer fabric is quilted with gridlines and the overall effect is fabulous!

This is my sixth finished project of 2015. I'm excited to post about a quilt I completed recently, but I need to make sure it has been received first!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Liberty Cowl Revisited

I made another cowl, this time for my lovely boss. She asked for one as soon as I finished mine but it's taken me some time to get around to making it. I think I love it even more than my own!

I also made a mini fleece scarf for Lila. Levi is modelling it because Lila is napping. I made a large button hole using a long and narrow zigzag stitch. My kids love tucking the scarf end through the hole! 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Liberty Cowl for Me!

I bought a fabulous hat and scarf at the One of a Kind Show last winter. The hat is loop back jersey, as is the scarf, which is actually more like a cowl. The only thing I don't love about them is that they are black, and my winter coat is navy.

When I saw the gorgeous Liberty jersey that came in at The Workroom this week, I knew my problem was solved.
The first step was to create the pattern. I traced my existing scarf and added a half inch seam allowance. 
Making this cowl took no time at all. I used pearl covered snaps to finish it off. Next step? Finding a jersey hat pattern. Does anyone know of one?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

WIP Wednesday: Back to the Farm

About three weeks back, I wanted a quick finish and decided pull out the little pink case that holds my Farmer's Wife.
I keep all of my blue, green and teal scraps in this cardboard briefcase, as well as my farmer's wife book and the handouts from the Secrets of the Farmer's Wife class I took at The Workroom. The brilliant Johanna Masko created this class and even if you aren't making this quilt, the information she shares is invaluable!

No. 78, Shoot Star. Paper pieced.
No. 20, Churn Dash. Machine pieced.
 No. 24, Country Path. Paper pieced. I made an error when putting the pieces together, but decided to leave it be. It was too fiddly to rip and recreate.
 No. 19, Checkerboard. Paper pieced.
 No. 88, Star of Hope. Paper pieced.
 No. 87, Star Gardener Machine pieced. Yes, really! I used the bias strip method to cut these 1" HSTs.
 No. 22, Corn and Beans. Machine pieced.
It's been a very long time since I've linked up, but this week I'm linking to the Freshly Pieced WIP round-up and to the Canadian Needle and Thread Network.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Little Mats to Brighten my Days

Well, would you look at me? I committed to blogging about each and every finish of 2015 and here I am, ready to share yet another mug rug!

The mug rug I made to decorate my desk at work has proven to be too small for the various drink vessels that I collect throughout the day. You know, the coffee cup, water glass and soda can. A six inch square can only hold so much!

This little mat is mine, all mine. I wanted something that would make me smile when I looked at it, and this lion print by Sarah Watts from her August collection does it for me every time. In fact, the bag I carry every day uses a different colourway of this very print in canvas.

This coral and navy combo is one of my ultimate favourite colour combinations. And who can resist gold metallic pearl bracelets? No one can. It's a fact.

I also wanted a quick finish. As I've mentioned in my last post, improv piecing is a current obsession, but I couldn't get too creative this time, because I wanted to use a good sized piece of the lion print and a mug rug needs to be small. But I did have fun adding the coral and gold pops to the navy strips on the right. I ended up adding the gold strip in between the lions and the navy because I wanted an entire arrow across the bottom of the mat. I'm thrilled with the way it turned out!

P.S. If I was a better blogger, I would have waited until there was daylight tomorrow to take this photo. But alas, I am impatient.

Friday, January 2, 2015

First Finish of 2015

I love to do improv piecing when making small pieces like mug rugs or coffee cozies . It's a chance to play with fabric, lines and angles and since the project is little, it's no big deal if the outcome is less than fabulous.
For this mug rug, I used jelly roll strips from Punctuation by American Jane, which are left over from the very first quilted piece I ever made, a yet to be hung growth chart for Levi. I'd initially planned to use this for a coffee cozy, but decided to make a gift for a colleague instead. So, I added the top section to the bit I'd already pieced and voila! Mug rug!
Lately, I've been skipping bindings on small pieces like these. I just turn it like if turn a bag or lough and edge stitch. Much faster and still very cute!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Last finish of 2014

I like to have a separate pin cushion for each type of pin. Lately, I've been loving my red and white clover pins, but they didn't have their own cushion, so I whipped one up yesterday. I used a few of my 2.5 inch charms, including my very favourite Lizzy House hedgehogs.  I knew charming my scraps was good forward thinking!