Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Three Happy Elves

Okay, they're done :)

Here are my three versions of Spud & Chloe's tiny elves :)

I don't know if I ever want to knit elf booties again, they were so tiny!

They all have homes to go to, already and will be traveling to their destinations next week.

Here's something funny I saw over the weekend:

Watched this Christmas tree transport for a couple of blocks, with many stops and readjustments :) Who says you need a truck to get the tree home???

Anyway, now that Christmas is upon us, it'll probably be a time of more sporadic quilting and blogging, but I hope you all have a

Very merry Christmas and a happy new year!

Monday, 21 December 2009

Brown and Turquoise(ish)

Some of you might have heard me complaining about not being able to find dark brown materials. The brown fabric I blogged about last week is actually destined for this project here, though it's almost too light!

I don't remember where I got the idea for this pattern, I saw a quilt like this somewhere a long time ago and started figuring out some math last month. This quilt will be for one of my best friends, who just loves turquoise. She also loves pink, but I didn't want to mix the two - maybe one of you will be brave enough for that ;)

As you can see, I've got 3 dark browns right now, but I'm expecting a couple of prints in the mail and hopefully the fabric from last week will work in this quilt. The turquoise/blue prints will add variety, if nothing else!

I love love love brown, and especially together with turquoise. The way this quilt is shaping up, it's a good thing I like my friend so much, or I couldn't part with the quilt :)

The plan is to have this quilt done by January 10th, haha, crazy, I know :) Not like it's my only project till then...

Sunday, 20 December 2009

I Am Not A Traitor!!!

But after all this deadline-quilting, I really REALLY needed a break from quilting, so apart from the occasional binding (well, and cutting pieces for a new quilt... with a deadline), I have not really been quilting.

Instead I've been going back to knitting! So indulge me on a brief post about something non-quilty!

I used to knit when I was younger, and a lot in undergrad, when everyone called me "Granny" and snorted. Now, apparently, knitting is the new fashion accessory, as in, if you knit in public, you're cool. Well. Ahead of my times, what can I say, ahem hahaha :)

I only ever did scarves and hats and aborted some started cloaks (it just took too long).

But recently, I came across Spud and Chloe's Blog who had just posted a free pattern for a tiny elf - they looked so cute, I thought I'd give it a try!

Here's my progress so far: three elves in various stages of growing arms and legs :)

I learned i-cord knitting in the process - otherwise they still be arm-less :)

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Rainbow Stacked Coins Completed :)

For baby quilts, Ginny's quilt hanging methods works really well!

Too bad there isn't much natural light by the time I am home to take photos! Leave in the dark in the morning, come home in the dark after work...

I tried to brace the camera on a chair to get shots without the flash so that you can see the quilting.

And as an aside, isn't it just perfect to curl up on the couch, with some freshly baked cake, a glass of milk and a really really good book?

The cake was still warm when I started eating it, but it was so good that I ignored my grandma's voice in my head warning me that warm cake gives you tummy ache. Well, she was right! But it was still worth devouring a third of the cake while the chocolate chips were partly melted!

Friday, 18 December 2009

Modified Log Cabin Quilt Completed!

This was a great moment: The last 8" of border to be quilted. What a feeling :)

I finished the binding in a day-long marathon session, added the label and tried to pick as many loose threads off as I could. They seem to be coming out of nowhere, I swear, I can still find threads on quilts I've already checked over 5 times!

I tried my new quilt-hanging method - but it wasn't big enough as you can see. Oh well, you'll see more of the quilt here than on the previously posted bed-photo anyway :)

The recipient loves it which makes me very very glad ;)

Some Finishes!

Here's the first installment, more to follow later today and tomorrow :)

Ginny explained a great way of hanging quilts to me: these clip-on curtain rings! No more quilts on the floor as the only photo-position! I went straight to the store and got a loooong (86") curtain rod and clip-on curtain rings. Wish they'd have had a curtain rod colour other than gold, though...

Here is the finished batik 9-patch baby quilt.

Without the flash, the different patterns really come out!

I was happy to get all your positive comments about how much you liked the different free-motion blocks!

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

New Colour Combo

Hmm, I might be entering a brown-orange phase...

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Baby Batik 9-Patch Part 3 (of 3)

Last installment of the free-motion quilting on my batik 9-patch baby quilt:

I was excited about this one because I work with mussels!

"Mussel Shell"

Hey, I didn't come up with the name :) I guess I can see the bananas now...

"Swirling Bananas"

"Etch 'n' Sketch"

On the border I just did a random, attached-to-each-other swirls pattern, let's call it my own creation and forget that many quilters probably have done something very similar...

And what does the whole quilt look like?



I left the 9-patches entirely unquilted, partly because I was utterly done quilting this quilt, and partly because I wanted it to be a little bit fluffy and soft and not just stiff!

Seeing that I'm currently stippling a quilt (though not allover :), I guess I haven't branched out too far yet. If I have a quilt whose layout lends itself to some of these filler designs, I'll definitely experiment some more! How about "stomach lining" all over a quilt, starting in the middle??? Haha, maybe if I rename it ;)

Monday, 14 December 2009

Quilting The Big One

Here it is, the modified log cabin quilt - the biggest quilt I've worked with to date - all spread out over my sewing table.

Here's a close-up of the quilting I'm doing - it'll make the coloured stripes stand out really nicely!

The quilting is going surprisingly fast, I'm nearly done!

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Baby Batik 9-Patch Part 2

I'm glad you guys liked the free-motion designs I blogged about so far! Here are the next few designs I tried on the batik 9-patch baby quilt.

This one makes me think of blown glass, and it's called...

"Flowing Glass"

I'm glad there wasn't a spider on the web as well - I hate spiders!

"Spider Web"

Maybe something useful for a Christmas quilt???


"Shadow Waves"

I love the look of this one, though it doesn't make for a soft quilt - very dense quilting and time consuming!
"Pebbles in a Stream"

"Basic Spiral"

Which one do you like best so far?

Saturday, 12 December 2009

So Much For The Crinkly Look...

I have this weird fear of washing my quilts once they're finished, because I'm convinced something horrible will happen, e.g. I'll get a mini quilt or it falls apart or whatever.

I've given away a few but either those people don't wash their quilts or nothing awful happened, because I've never had any bad feedback. But now that I'm selling quilts, I'm worried about disappointed customers!

So last night, I took the plunge and just added the navy floating coins baby quilt to my regular laundry (a mix of hot/warm water, liquid detergent, regular setting as I don't have a gentle cycle setting).

I took a photo before, just in case it came out mini ;) I also measured it: 26" x 37.5"

After the wash, it came out in one piece and feeling softer. So far so good. I measured it again: 26 " x 37.5" - great!

Then I thought, hmm, I'm in a country where people throw everything in the dryer... so in it went, again, no gentle cycle and I used the hot air instead of cold.


And again: well.

Now I've heard people RAVE about the crinkly look, which they get by not pre-washing and the quilt shrinking a bit. I got that. Very crinkly, not sure if it's my thing.

The shrinkage is definitely not my thing.

The quilt now measures 25" x 35". It lost 2.5" in length! Aaaaaah! I'm NOT happy about that! Is this shrinkage relative? Will a queen size quilt shrink 10" in length?

I'm going to wash one more quilt on hot then hang it to dry, and after that, there'll be some advice to my customers and other quilt recipients!

It looks so tiny now...

On the bright side the coins are nice and fluffy :)

Friday, 11 December 2009

A Hilarious Picture

A quick second post today, because I spotted this yesterday on my way home!

I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want to buy a fur tree, but it'd depend a lot on which animal the fur came from ;)

The Monster Quilt

The blocks for the modified log cabin quilt are together:

The borders are on:

The backing is complete (and taped to the floor) - made from all the left-over pieces after I finished the quilt top blocks:

And as of Wednesday, the quilt is basted and I get the use of my living room back!

This quilt is big. Too big for my living-room as it turns out. The chairs had to go, the couch had to be moved, I had no room to move once the quilt was on the floor. It measures around 97 x 108" plus all the extra backing/batting attached to it while it's pinned on the floor.


I've also run out of pins.

I don't even think this quilt is that much bigger than the bento box wedding quilt (I think that was around 80" x 100"), but holy cow, my memory doesn't seem to last long enough to remember my struggles from May ;)

Now I'm off to quilting it!

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Baby Batik 9-Patch Part 1

My baby batik 9-patch is done. It's a pretty involved quilt, so I'll feed it to you in piece-meal :) I'll have to savour the quilting on this quilt!

It all started with me finding this awesome free-motion quilting blog: http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/ by Leah Day. She challenged herself to create/showcase one free-motion filler design (to cover large areas) a day for a year. Some of the designs are very similar, others are really amazing. Here you can see all of the designs she has come up with or described so far.

Because I'm a scientist, I was lured in by the design she calls "Stomach lining", so I did this one on my first background block in the batik 9-patch:

"Stomach Lining"

It was really easy, so I went ahead and picked other motives I liked and zoomed through them!

"Sea Anemone"

"Swirling Flames"


Now, I thought these designs would be difficult, but I basically just had her example up on the computer screen as reference and went ahead. Sometimes I'd watch her video to see how she does a particularly tricky part, other times I just did the whole design from memory (and it turned out slightly different, of course :)

I found traveling (=stitching pack over a quilting line to get to a different place in the design) tricky at times, especially when I was going too fast - because in that case, there were 5 stitches off the original path, instead of just 1 or 2.

Also, I had a really hard time with skipped stitches, where your needles goes through the fabric several times and just doesn't pick up the bobbin thread from the bottom. I've blogged about this problem before and have figured out that there are two reasons this happened for me:

1) my needle was dull and the wrong size. I've since bought a quilting needle (I think it's an 11 or 14 in size) instead of the massive universal needles I used before - what a difference.

2) I had this problem especially when going through seams, the bulkier, the worse it got. Now whenever I get to a really bulky seam and need to quilt over it, I just go extremely slowly, sometimes just turning the knob to make the needle go up and down, then lifting the foot and moving the fabric, foot down, another stitch. It goes a lot faster than having to rip out stitches and requilt them!

In addition, I found out that dark thread is heavier than light thread because there's more dye in it. That was a big problem when I started the wormy-apple-quilt, because I tried to match threads. Well, no more! :)

I learned a lot about tension problems in free-motion quilting (leading to skipped stitches in my case) on Leah Day's blog (a whole post about skipping stitches!) and on Diane Gaudinsky's blog (here, here, and in the comments here).

Tomorrow, an update on the modified log cabin quilt, then you'll get the next few designs I tried on the batik 9-patch!

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Random Things

Just a couple of random things before I get back to quilting posts...

For one thing, I've seen blog reports of snow storms in the US for about 2 months (and in one case, there was snow in June), so I find it hilarious that I've just had my first snow storm of the season, even though I live in the permanently snowed-in north called Canada ;)

These pictures were taken 3 days after the storm, I just never got around to snapping some shots beforehand. It was a decent storm though, with 4" on the unplowed passing lanes on the highway, sections of highway closed by police and firemen because of accidents, and really slow highway traffic (can you tell I was traveling through the storm??? :)

In other news, I'm considering starting a gallery of "Cooking and quilting don't mix"...
I'm partly posting these pics to remind myself of my follies, but I think I've got a few more burnt meals to go before I properly learn my lesson. All your great tips are just lost on me (the timer went off at the correct time, I just quilted right through it...)

And after a night of soaking, it looked like this, just to show you how deep the rice stuck to the pot... it was on the stove for over 1.5 hr! Luckily just on low heat, so I got to eat most of the rice ;)

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Cutting 8 Layers??

For Jennifer's Quilt, I bought extra-width fabric for the borders to avoid piecing. What I hadn't considered was that cutting 120"-long strips of fabric is tricky. I folded, and folded, and folded again. Do the math - that gives 8 layers of fabric. Was my rotary cutter up to it?

Yes, but only barely :) (it has gone through cutting a few quilts already, so is probably not the sharpest anymore).

I took about 3-5 cuts before I was all the way through the layers.
Like I said, they're loooong strips!

Friday, 4 December 2009

Quilt Class Was A Success!

Community school finished on Tuesday!

All my students finished their quilts, but one couldn't make it unfortunately (she sent her quilt, though, you can just make out the pink on the left of the photo).

Didn't the quilts turn out spectacularly???

I already look forward to teaching again next year!