Monday, September 26, 2016

About time!!

At long last these went from languishing on the WIP pile to being pillows I can enjoy!

These were both pieced and quilted I don't know how long ago. But they ended up on the ever-growing pile of partly finished projects, I think because the pattern tells you to trim the sides to make it square and I just couldn't bring myself to do that. It's so tough to slice off bits that took great care to put together!

But with a little distance and time, I had no problem slicing and dicing these and finally getting a back put on. That step of making a pillow is so fast, it was ridiculous that's all they needed. I grabbed this great Tula print I had yardage of in my stash. And the pillows are on the small side - about 16" - so it didn't take much.

It was also nice, after not having seen them in quite some time, to admire the quilting. I did one in blue and one in pink, similar yet different straight line quilting. I need to do more quilting like this again with more varied spacing between the lines. Oh and that reminds me of the thing I keep forgetting to put on my shopping list - masking tape! I find it's the best tool for quilting, and cheap!

So I whipped up these pillows and guess where they are now a week later? Still sitting on the bench in my front hall where I took the photo. Tsk, tsk Johanna!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Blogger's Quilt Festival entry

Hello! Here's my entry in the ROYGBIV category of the Blogger's Quilt Festival fall 2016 edition, hosted by Amy Ellis.

How wonderful when an idea you have in your head turns out even better than you imagined! For days I had toying with my ideas for a new pillow, but couldn't settle on one. Then at our guild meeting, a fellow member showed a herringbone baby quilt she made and a light went on. What a perfectly simple pattern to show off a rainbow of colour! And oh do I love how it turned out!

Here's a(n almost too) sunny shot to show off the quilting:

I first drafted a pattern that was five by five, but then thought why go for 10 by 10! That would make the finished HST 2", and I'd need 50 different fabrics. Let the stash rummaging commence! I pulled this glorious stack of prints, primarily Alison Glass and Tula Pink with a little Cotton + Steel, Carolyn Friedlander and a few other designers thrown in to round out the mix.

Then it was time to get to work making and trimming 100 HST. That task took quite a few podcasts to get done! Thankfully it's not a job I mind, and you end up with the most lovely trimmings. Piecing all the HST together went quite smoothly, helped by the simple pattern not even I could mess up.

I was thrilled when the top was together and I could stand back and admire it in all its rainbow goodness!

Thankfully I had another stroke of inspiration when I was mulling over the quilting. I couldn't decide on what thread colour to use, then it hit me to use them all! I have a small collection of Aurifil thread, but I was able to find 10 colours that went perfectly. I stuck with simple straight-line quilting, starting close together in the centre of each row and then adding a bit more spacing as I went out. I didn't want the quilting to distract from the bold pattern.

And here it is all quilted with the threads I used. It was down to the wire on the yellow!

I had no doubts about what fabric to put on the back when a very lovely woman I know from Instagram (@keizerquilts) sent me a metre of this Heather Ross unicorn print that I adore. That rich plummy background seemed perfect for the saturated colours of the front. And unicorns! I just had to be careful in the cutting to not end up with scary unicorn heads floating on the back. I did end up with a unicorn butt on the right, which oddly seems to happen every time I work with unicorn fabric.

I love this shot I took of the pillow on the front porch of an old stone farmhouse not too far from my home. I bike by it all the time and find it just so sad to see a home abandoned and empty. I always imagine all the moments both sweet and bittersweet a family shared inside its walls, now replaced by silence.

You can check out the festival here on Amy's Creative Side blog. Be sure to check out all the amazing entries in each category and vote for your favourites!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Shared joy, increased

Sometimes I am so very grateful for quilting. That's especially so in those tough moments when you see a person's heartbreak and feel like there's so little you can do or say to lessen that pain. That's when I get to my sewing machine. Making something tangible to give feels like I'm doing something, letting them know they're not alone in their grief. "Shared pain is lessened."

This weekend I happened to be out on my front porch (taking crafty photos for IG, what else?), when my neighbours came out with their older dog. I knew instantly they were taking him to the vet to be put down. They were crying, and then I was crying. Nobody who has every had to make that difficult decision - picking the day you'll say your final goodbye to a beloved pet - has ever forgotten that acute pain. It's been years since I had to do that for my sweet Marie, and still I get teary thinking about that terrible day I had to make a sudden decision.

I picked up a bouquet of flowers that I left at their door for when they returned home, but decided to make a pillow too. A small keepsake that would remind them of their dog Blue. I wanted to get it done in short order to give, so heart blocks seemed perfect. In blue, for Blue. That "woof" fabric was perfect for a beagle who sure liked to woof and howl. I always worry a bit about giving something crafty to non-crafty people, but she seemed really touched.

This project was the perfect time to try out some new thread I picked up at my LQS on sale. One spool was just the right blend of blue to go with the blue hearts and blue crosshatch background, which you can see best in this picture below.

Superior Threads King Tut quilts up beautifully! The colour changes are very subtle and the slightly thicker thread really shows the stitches well. I often shy away from variegated thread because usually I find the colour changes are too dramatic or choppy. This just adds a little glow. I'll definitely be picking up more colours!

I like the second part of that quote from above ... Shared pain is lessened; shared joy is increased.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Checking in

Time again to check in with our progress in the Modern HST Sampler quiltalong. Here's my version of blocks 7 to 12. Gotta say, they're looking good!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Sewing retreat at home

Can there be anything better than a long weekend with a good friend and our sewing machines? That's how I enjoyed the last weekend with a sewing retreat of sorts at my house, along with a few little excursions that of course included a few fabric shops along the way.

First up on my to-do list was finishing the five pillows I made for five friends, all using my Squared Summits block. I love how each of these turned out - the same, but different. Most used my all-time favourite Anna Maria Horner floral.

Here's one for my Tula loving friend:

And for my orange loving friend. I really like how this larger floral print is fractured, and how it pairs with the orange background.

This fabric pairing is especially fun:

This was the requested pillow that started it all off. I figured if I was making for one friend in my IG DM group, I should make a pillow for all of them. Makes sense, right?

And finally a pretty in pink pillow.

Here are all the pillow backs because they shouldn't be overlooked with all that pretty fabric!

I also caught up on the Modern HST Sampler with Block No. 16 - Whirly-Gig. This is a really striking one.

My friend and I finally exchanged the minis we made for each other in our private Tula/Jaybird swap. We decided to both make Jaybird's Glimmer quilt.

Here's the pillow I made. That black butterfly fabric is the perfect background.

She made me a gorgeous and sunny mini that right away went on the wall in my kitchen, where she intended it to go. I like how they're they same pattern, but so different.

We also took a drive up to Woolwich Township to see the covered bridge, which I suggested was a great backdrop to get a photo of the Rebel quilt top she just finished using all Grunge fabric. Isn't it beautiful? Well, I got quite the surprise after the (windy) photo shoot when she handed me a card that said inside the quilt was for me!!! Wha?!?

I still can't believe it. I had wondered why she seemed in such a rush to get it done. Little did I know it was because she wanted to get the top pieced before my birthday. I really and truly was surprised. Best surprise ever.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Bee block round-up

I keep forgetting to post these latest blocks in my quilting bee.

First up is a yellow, black and grey version of the Double Star block. Love that owl fabric!

And here are two pink and navy blue Tic Tac Toe blocks. This is my favourite block of the bunch, and it looks great in the colour scheme the August queen bee picked. I chose to go with pink, but she picked a few other colours people could use with the navy corners.

I really loved how this one turned out with the C+S fabric and text print.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Eternal bloom

This pillow was made as a thank you gift for an Instagram friend, who so kindly offered to accept blocks to be made into quilts for the victims of the devastating Fort McMurray wildfire from American quilters and sent them on to the Ottawa guild. She has an amazing garden that she so kindly shares peeks of on Instagram, so I immediately knew I needed to make something with a garden/floral theme.

I love that centre C+S print, and the pillow pattern is a variation on the maple leaf block used for the charity quilts. Then I know I can always count on a diamond cross hatch for the quilting, especially when it's pink!