Saturday, 31 October 2009


Do not go to the Sew, Mama, Sew! Blog, and under no circumstances click on "Continue reading “Handmade Holidays III” »", if you do anyway, do not click on the "last year" or "year before" links, because you will - like me - spend 4 hours online browsing tutorials, use up your ink printing out the good ones and your memory space with the ones you save.

Don't say I didn't warn you... what a resource that blog is!

Scraps, Scraps, Scraps

I've started sorting through all my scraps.  I'm really torn between the different sorting choices.

Sort by colour?
Sort by size?
Sort with having a quilt pattern in mind?
Sort by print?

Any good tips?

Happy Halloween!

Friday, 30 October 2009

Call Me Crazy :)

EDIT:  The blue in the background of the quilt isn't as different as it looks here - it's actually all the same shade, but I think there was a slight different  on the front vs back of the fabric, which I didn't notice at the time.  Not this bad though :)

As you can see by these strange lines, I basted with thread instead of pins this time.

Because I've decided that I need to spend LOTS of time with this quilt since I'm in love with it and want to bond properly.

So I will be hand-quilting this puppy :) Wahoo!

I just went to my former quilting teachers to borrow here snap-quilt-frame - I'll give it a try, since this quilt is a bit big for lap quilting

Here's the backing fabric - it's just as soft as the front fabric, though it's not from the same line. It was a steal at 3$/m!

Good night lovely quilt! (The instructions said to remove the snaps so the quilt can breathe, oh dear :) I assume they mean 'so it doesn't crease' haha!

Thursday, 29 October 2009

I Jumped Right In!

Last week I went to the monthly quilt guild meeting for the second time and this time I joined. They had a really neat new thing: visitors got a white-star felt name tag and new members got a tag in a heart shape. Old members were asked to make everyone with a star or heart especially welcome and it totally worked. People could easily see that I was new and they had my name so starting a conversation was easy!

Best of all, the programs coordinator mentioned to me that the guild executive goes on a weekend retreat every fall, and there were three spaces still open and wouldn't I want to go along? Yay! Great for me as newbie to see a) what it's like to quilt alongside other quilters on my own projects and b) get to know some of the other members of the guild, c) learn lots of tips from all the experienced quilters that will be there, and d) to get to see a beautiful B&B in PEI for a really good price (2 nights plus meals for 100$, holy cow!!!) .

I ended up taking advantage of the guild's quilting library and borrowed one of the Elm Creek Quilts books that I hadn't read yet (probably because my town library doesn't have it - I wonder how many more are out there... chould look it up online I suppose).

At next month's meeting, members are encouraged to bring a little crafty something in a paper bag, anonymous, and we'll have a sort of secret santa for christmas. I look forward to making a little something of my "non-quilty how to" side bar :)

I also committed to making a block for the raffle quilt for next year's quilt show. I would have done more than one block, but the 6 blocks that make up the stunning quilt are mostly paper-pieced and I don't know how to do that. I had a hard enough time with all the tiny pieces in this block, phew. Not even that tiny, but it's a different story when my seam allowances are mixed with that of other quilters. At least when I make the whole quilt, I know it'll work out because all the block will be a bit smaller than intended :)

I received a ziploc bag that contained the instructions and precut pieces of fabric:

Once I figured out which fabric is which, I started on the small half-square triangles.

They were supposed to be 2" squares in the end, and I managed to trim them all to about that size. I couldn't imagine making a whole quilt in this pattern, so much cropping just for one block!!! I guess I am not a very patient person ;)

In the end, the layout worked out pretty well:

The guild meeting was on Wednesday and this block was finished by Saturday - I guess I was very excited :)

Because all this wasn't enough, I also signed up for the Mystery Quilt. I've heard about them, but had never done one before.

Again, we got instructions (they're on step 3, but I didn't miss much because step 1 was picking fabric and step 2 was cutting).

We had to pick a bold medium print, a dark and a light fabric. I tried to match a light and dark to a batik out of my stash first, but gosh, it's hard to match anything other than batik or solid, prints just didn't work with the batik, at least within the realm of my stash. Here are my choices:

I cut enough fabric for the smaller of the two size choices - what they call a wall hanging (38"x38"). It was that or a queen size quilt, and not knowing what it'll look like in the end, I didn't want to take the risk. Plus, the bigger quilt just uses blocks twice as big - and 9" half-square triangle blocks are not really my thing I'd say.

Then I went on to step three and matched up all the slightly larger squares destined to become half-square triangles and sewed them together. Also a lot of sewing!

Now, I don't really like cutting the little corners off after I iron the blocks, so I did it before I cut the squares in half, by snipping a wedge out of each corner between the seams, just a tad pointier than a 90 degree angle.

(I already cut and ironed all my blocks, so I just held two together, you get the idea :)

Not sure if it saved any time, I guess I didn't have to pick up as many pieces, as I cut the eqivalent of 2 HST blocks with every piece I snipped.

I'm very excited to see where this is going. Right now I'm expecting a star, probably because I just made one for the raffle quilt :)

So, I'd call that a case of me jumping in with both feet! Oh, and I'm the youngest member by three years. The next one up turned around in her seat, grinned and said "Yes! I'm not the youngest any more!!!" She was busy during the meeting making a Grandmother's Flower Garden out of less-than-penny-sized hexagons. I mentioned that the pattern is aptly named, because she'll likely be a granny by the time it's done. The patience some people have!!!

I'm so excited about the next meeting!

And tomorrow I'll show you how the story of my Imagination 1/Soft quilt continues :)

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Give-Away Notice

A give-away not to be missed. I'm drooling.

Here's A Useful Trick

For those of you who, like me, don't have long-arm quilting machines, here's a trick to avoid pushing masses of quilts through the sewing machine during quilting: Rita described really well how to join two quilted quilt halves on her blog. Go check it out and admire her beautiful mermaid quilt while you're at it! A permanent link to Rita's tutorial is in the Quilty How-Tos menu on the right :)

Saturday, 24 October 2009

A Little Fabric Indulgence

I treated myself to a bit more fabric again :)

Most of these are matched to some fabrics I already have, the leafy red for example has about 6 matching fabrics awaiting it in my stash - that'll probably be a warm-hued LOVEly quilt in the future...

And I just couldn't pass up these little blue crabs, I mean, really! Cute :)

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Something's Not Right On The Farm

In May, I bought some fun farm animal fabric in BC. I started cutting out some animals in the summer, but never did anything with it until last week.

I tried some wonky arrangements, but I'm not quite happy with my dancing farm animals. Way too much background yellow.

At this stage, I have a 3-2-2-3 block layout, 3 blocks for the piggies on the top and bottom rows, 2 blocks for the bigger farm animal squares in the two middle rows. (I feel like I'm describing a soccer-strategy ;)

The 10 yellow blocks are still loose at this stage, and I'm trying to figure out how to fill up the space in between.

Should I quilt something elaborate with brown thread matching the pig-frames?

Should I redo the 4 middle blocks to frame the farm animals? (I'd really like to avoid that)

Should I sash the blocks?

Applique something?

Other ideas?

I'd appreciate your input!

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

I've Been Hit Again (of Soft Quilt Part 2)

By inspiration...

I found a new, very cool blog called Film and Thread and this post in particular showed a cool cool quilt. I thought that I'd like to try what I call an unbalanced design, where there either isn't a pattern or it doesn't continue over the whole quilt.

So I came up with this - I called it "Imagination 1" as I'm obviously planning #2, #3 etc as well :)

In my mind, I saw a white background with maybe blues, turquoises and browns, or maybe a MODA charm pack for the circles, for which I've found a tutorial here.

However, the decision was difficult until I remembered my 'soft' fabric!

I blogged about this AGES AGO! Way back when I first started. I loved the fabric for its soft feel, even though it's just normal 100% cotton. The fabrics aren't purely one colour though, the green for example has some orange threads woven in, it gives the fabrics much more vibrancy (more than you can probably detect on the photos :).

Anyway, this was to be the fabric for "Imagination 1" and I went about chop-chop-chopping :)

The whole thing was a figure-out-while-you-go project, mostly fun, sometimes frustrating, and it ate up my entire weekend, but gosh, that quilt needed to get out of my system!

I very nearly ran out of blue, I have a few 6" pieces left over, but that's it. I had hoped for the quilt center to be much bigger, but really wanted the blue as background.

At this stage, it measured about 40" x 50", but I'm putting light green (4" wide) and dark green (6" wide) borders around it, so it'll get up to a decent lap quilt size.

Even just the center was bigger than the current lap quilt I'm using, which is just a teensy bit too small for my likes.

I'm very very excited for this quilt to get finished. I have lots of green fabric left for the backing, and this soft quilt will be mine and mine alone!

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Robots Are Ready To Roll!

I was a busy girl yesterday - apart from blogging and answering comments - and finished binding the robot quilt.

One thing I'm not quite sure about is the red border - all the fabrics in this quilt are from the Cogsmo fabric line (very very nice fabric, feels great!), except the white and the red with dots on the border. In hindsight, I don't really like the red border, maybe it's too busy? I'm hoping that it'll grow on me over time! I love the stripy binding though :)

Tried myself on the outline quilting. Straight lines, hmm. They sure highlight every time my squares aren't perfectly aligned! Oops ;)

I used the jungle print flanelette for the backing again:

Funnily enough, I've seen a few recent robot-themed quilts in the blogging world since I started working on this one - must the the season for robots???

Monday, 12 October 2009

Fall Quilt Festival

You must have heard about it! It's time for the Fall Quilt Festival!

Here's my showcase quilt, the famous Character Quilt :)

This quilt is for someone very special in my life, a friend with a 'boy' in front of it.

I collected fabrics that illustrated his interests and hobbies. It was a long and winding road - who would have thought that cheese-fabric is so hard to come by??? (Blogged about here and here.)

Each framed blog represents a hobby or interest, for example:

He likes to cook:

He collects sea shells:

This quilt taught me a lot.

I tried my hands at applique when I couldn't find the fabric I wanted, for example a vinyl record since he likes to collect old records:

I also learned how kind fellow quilters are!

I'd been searching for sheet music fabric everywhere when I saw it in a quilt at a quilt show. The maker of the quilt was there and I asked if she had any scraps left. She sent me the small pieces she had left and I managed to join them into a block:

Then there was Ginny, who gave away some great coffee-themed fabric in a give-away package. I emailed her saying all I needed to win was the coffee fabric, so she sent me some of it (which was great, because I didn't win her give-away - I never win those!!! Boohoo). It made a beautiful block for my espresso-loving BF:

And lastly, I learned a new way of free-motion quilting: pebble-quilting

It was a lot of work, and like everyone says, it uses a lot of thread, but I love the effect, it feels great!

Since a lot of the theme fabric will likely not be used any many other quilts, I added some blocks to the back of the quilt, so now it's somewhat reversible:

I put the final binding stitches in 30 min ago - it's really hard to sew on black binding to black backing fabric using black stitch - lighting is key here. Of course I used Mal's invisible ladder stitch for the binding, the link is in my Quilty How To's menu on the right.

This will be one great birthday gift next month!

Now let's see your quilts!

Oops, Another New WIP...

When inspiration strikes, it should not be ignored - that's my motto!

I was tired of hand-stitching the binding on the character quilt and also fed up with working on a quilt I'm making on commission for a work colleague - it's been intense quilting on that project all weekend. So I browsed some blogs and found this one, which I'd bookmarked and always wanted to adapt to my own fabrics.

Well, there was nothing stopping me really - it's the beauty of quilting, you work on whatever you feel like! No deadlines (generally), no pressure.

So out of this

and this

came this draft layout:

It was quickly turned into rows of squares

then the quilt top center

and 1-2-3 there's the quilt top finished!

Size approx. 31"x43"

Yay for another work in progress :)

Sunday, 11 October 2009

One Happily Finished Baby Quilt And Business Musings

I love it when plans work out. I brought this baby quilt along on a work trip last week, after a marathon-session on the weekend during which I quilted the whole thing, made the binding and machine-sewed it to the quilt top.

I finished hand-stitching the binding on the first evening of my trip, yay!

Here's the finished product, front and back:

I really really like this baby quilt, and here's why:

1) it has some neat fabrics:

2) the stippling goes very well with the backing fabric print, which is swirly:

3) the floating coins pop just as much as I had hoped:

4) but the best is this amazing see-through effect when I hold the quilt up against the light!

I hope some baby will have fun with this quilt some day.

I'm making all these baby quilts to sell and make a bit of money to pay for all my fabric purchases (though I haven't bought anything in ages after the buying frenzy earlier this year!).

I'm considering opening an Etsy shop but have some concerns about it:

1) customers can't see my work before they buy it; I mean, yes there are photos, but you can't check out every detail online, you can't feel the quality of the fabrics etc. I'd feel horrible if a customer is not satisfied with their purchase!

2) what if an order get's lost in the mail? I thought about this one and I could offer optional shipping insurance so that everything can be tracked (I've had some bad experience with an online order that never arrived...)

3) How do I know how much to charge for a quilt? Is there a formula? Do I just pick a number?

Do any of you have experience with selling quilts? I'd love to get your input!