Saturday, June 29, 2013

The least favourite part of quilting

for me, is basting.  It's definitely the least creative part of the process, so  I've come up with a couple of things to make it less painful and help me get it over with. 
Think knee pads and a nail file (I always end up with a snag from manipulating all those pins).   Oh, and it doesn't hurt to crank up some tunes to sing along while I'm at it. 
 Whatever gets it done, right? ;o)
Pinned and ready for quilting!
 Complaining aside, I know I'm really fortunate to have ample floor space to do my basting.  The laminate floor works wonderfully - I am able to use the lines created by the flooring pieces as a straight edge guide for laying things out.  Plus, no worries about leaving scratch marks with the basting pins as would be the case with a wood floor.  There was a time that the only available floor space I had for basting was on carpet.  I still can't believe how I made that work! LOL  Where there's a will there's a way. ;o)

Where would I be without green painter's tape to use for my quilts?  I use it for securing the backing fabric to the floor for basting, for labelling quilt blocks when I'm assembling a top and I use it for making quilting guidelines when I want to stitch straight lines.

It just so happened that this week, I had two tops ready for basting at the same time, so I had a marathon evening of basting them both.  Whew.  Now that the yucky part in the process is over, I can get back to the fun stuff! Bring on the quilting....

My version of Impromptu just before I stuck it full of basting pins. ;o)
So now you know my little secret about what I don't enjoy in quilt making and my three "make it easier" tips (or tools) - knee pads, a nail file and painter's tape!
How about you?  What's the least appealing part of making a quilt for you?  Have any tips for making things easier?
Happy Canada Day long weekend!!!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


is the acronym I've given my latest finished project, which stands for
 "Quilt it. Bind it. And. Move on".  ;o)
You many recognize this as being the star block I made from using strips leftover from making a chevron table runner.  Rather than take any more time debating over what the finish of this experiment should be, I took my hubby's advice to "QBAM". LOL

At first glance, I considered simply stitching in the ditch to outline the diamonds that make this scrappy star.  It didn't seem to have much "zing".  Then I came up with using the design I quilted for my Pop Star Quilt.
What can I say?  I loved free motion quilting this design on squares for that quilt and wanted to see how well it would translate to the diamond shape patches in this project.  Turns out, it added just the right amount of "zing" to play up those scrappy diamonds.  To keep the focus on the star, I echo quilted narrow straight lines onto the background areas, leaving the corners unstitched to mimic the  diamond patchwork pieces.

Love that the star looks to be covered in flowers on the back of the mini quilt.

 I love that the quilting looks much fancier than you would think simple intersecting wavy lines could be.  Better yet, I love any design that is continuous.  I started and ended in the same spot on the star, making working in my threads that much easier.  Love that!

Quilted with variegated thread in a range of light pink to dark magenta gives the stitching some contrast with the patchwork.

Although the quilting design may not be as distinguishable on the front of the mini quilt (due to the variegated thread and the variety of prints), it really stands out on the reverse side.  The main difference between stitching this design onto diamonds rather than squares is evident in the center of the block.  There you can see a flower comprised of six ellipses (or petals ;o).

See the 6 petal flower in the center?
If you haven't tried free motion quilting this design yet, I highly recommend giving it a go.  Otherwise, you're missing out on some FMQ fun!

The QBAM mini finishes at 27" across (from point to point) and is 23.5" across from straight edge to edge.  A good size for a wall hanging or a table topper, I think.  
 Now it's time to get going on some other finishes!   My hubby's suggestion served me well... I may have to hang this mini in my sewing room as a reminder that sometimes you just need to ...
 "Quilt it. Bind it. And. Move on".  ;o)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

A shot of sunshine...

Hello there!  Happy to report that we're having some sunshine, so things should start drying out and hopefully, the flood waters here in Calgary will recede that much faster.  Still don't know the full extent of damages done to the city by all the flooding, but I think we're all pretty happy to see the sun again!
 Not only has the sun made a reappearance in the sky, a bit of sunshine arrived in my inbox this weekend.  I was pleasantly surprised and delighted to find out that my baby quilt,
 Cherry Blossoms, from Denyse Schmidt's Single Girl Quilt pattern was selected as the project feature of the week in the newsletter from Pink Chalk Fabrics.

The news that I have won a gift certificate to spend at Pink Chalk Fabrics has put a spring in my step and a huge smile on my face.   Thank you, Kathy!   (Any guesses how long it will take before I spend this on some fabric??? ;o)

If you missed my original post about this quilt, you can find it here.  I finally made that handmade label for the quilt and as soon as I finish a couple other gifts to be included, this quilt will be on it's way to my newest niece. :o)
On a more serious and personal level...
Thanks so much for the outpouring of concern about what's happening here in Calgary.  If you're following the news casts about the situation, you'll be aware that some evacuated citizens have been allowed back to their homes, but the majority have not.  From the images we've seen, it's totally understandable why.  The amount of water that has taken over parts of the city is unfathomable.  Apparently it's been a one in a 100 hundred years, flood.
For the most part, during this natural disaster, we have remained at home as that is what the authorities have requested of everyone.  We only ventured out yesterday for some necessities and found things a bit eerily quiet.  It was nowhere near a typical Saturday for the area of Calgary we frequent for our groceries. The stores weren't being overrun (as we thought might be a possibility), instead, it was the opposite.  Contrary to some stories we've heard about price gouging and shortages of supplies, we saw normal pricing and stock.  Which I guess, let's you know that such occurrences are perhaps only specific instances and not the general happenings.   Although we did not venture out to search out any flooding, we did get to see evidence of the disaster.  Our normal route to the shopping center was closed, due to flooding and from an alternate route, we saw the submerged roadway and underpass.  It was surreal.  This was just one first hand glimpse at what has happened around the city.  It really is hard to wrap the mind around how much water it takes to flood so much area.   Obviously the time it will take to get things back to normal in this city, will be considerable. 
 It's strange, because it's now been a decade since my family experienced the devastating forest fires of 2003 ( we were living in Kelowna - and were among those evacuated) and the feelings evoked  when you're faced with a natural disaster is hard to describe.  Yes, there is fear, but it's more than that.  The best I can come up with, is a overwhelming feeling of being "unsettled".  Which I suppose is connected with uncertainty and anxiety.  That's not to say these emotions override feelings of thankfulness to be safe and alive along with loved ones.  Moments and experiences such as these put a hyper focus on what's really important in your life.  Okay, now I'm rambling... ;o)...
I just wanted you to know I sincerely appreciate your concerns and all your wishes for our safety and well-being.

Friday, June 21, 2013

We're okay...

I think I mentioned that we've been having consistently rainy weather recently?  Well, all that rain has helped put the city I live in, Calgary, Alberta in the news.  Many (currently 27)  neighbourhoods have been evacuated and a State of Emergency has been declared due to extreme flooding.  Calgary is not the only city facing flooding, unfortunately.  Here's a link to some flood photos, as a sample of what's happening.
Thankfully, the neighbourhood where I'm living is not under evacuation orders, but with more rain in the forecast, we're staying watchful. (After all, it was only a couple of years ago that our basement experienced some flooding after 3 days straight of rain and this month we've seen more than that). 
Even though I live here and know how much rain we've had, it still seems surreal.  All the coverage I've seen looks like something out of a movie and my head is having a hard time comprehending what I'm seeing.  My heart goes out to everyone going through this.  I'm hoping we've seen the worst of it.
Anyways, I'll touch base here again, just wanted to let everyone know that so far, our home is unaffected and we still have potable water and all our utilities plus still able to leave the city by alternate routes if needs be.  We've got a back up plan in case things change and we need to evacuate.
 Your thoughts and prayers would be appreciated for everyone living in the affected areas.
Thank you!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A star from chevrons

I took a little creative side trip from some larger projects I'm currently working on because I had a flash of inspiration.  Last summer I made a bright, summery chevron runner
 (which you can read about here)and when I was finished, I had several pieced strips leftover.
My Summer Chevron Runner. I have a tutorial for making these strip pieced chevrons found HERE.

The leftover strips (which looked similar to the ones shown on the back of the runner) have been hanging in my sewing room for all these months, looking pretty while encouraging me to find a use for them. 
The back of the runner has leftover strips incorporated into the design. Still, I had some remaining unused strips.
 I was flipping through library books and magazines this weekend when the idea came to me.  I had to know if it was possible to use those strips to piece together a star.
Okay, it involved some stitch ripping, cutting a few more diamonds and deliberate placement of colours, but as you can see, the idea worked.  Everything was sewn by machine, which meant it came together quickly.  Matching seams was a little tricky, but manageable and rather than tackle sewing in the background pieces as diamonds, I cut them in half.  Triangles were even easier to handle if you sew things together in a logical manner.

I finished the background last evening and immediately pinned it to my design wall (which as you can see, is completely covered by my Impromptu quilt top). 
  I stood back to view my creation and wonder how to proceed.  Do I turn this into a table topper? a pillow? a mini quilt?  or ????   My husband ( a well versed veteran of these creative debates I have with myself) quickly voiced his thoughts that I should, "Quilt it, Bind it and Move on".  
 That made me laugh! 
 Apparently, my desire to try to sew every idea there is out there, is well known in this household (do you think it's my stash that gave away that secret? ;o).  It's also obvious there's no such thing as the infinite amount of time that would be needed to be able to sew everything my heart desires.  Still, doesn't keep me from shooting for the moon...or in this case, for the stars. ;o)

Monday, June 17, 2013


Well, I can stop stalking my postman. ;o) Look what arrived on my doorstep this week! 
 These lovely fabrics are from Brigitte Heitland's newest fabric line Barcelona, which debuted at Quilt Market this spring and will be in stores this summer

This gorgeous, generous scrappy bundle came from Brigitte's studio as winnings from a giveaway she had recently. Amazing, right? It's okay to be jealous.  I totally understand. ;o)  
 These lovely fabrics are inspiring all sorts of project ideas and as soon as I can, I will be making something from them.  Thanks so much, Brigitte!!!
 Meantime, check out Brigitte's newest patterns featuring Barcelona (click here!).
If you haven't visited Brigitte, before, please do! 
 She's absolutely lovely and she's the talent behind  "Zen Chic" - continually creating gorgeous modern fabrics and quilt patterns we can all fall in love with.   
 I promise you will come away from her blog inspired and eager to get stitching. :o)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

I've got sunshine on a cloudy day...

in the form of a bright, happy quilt top!  It's my version of the Impromptu quilt designed by Rachel of PS I Quilt.  I'm rather surprised at how quickly the sewing went on this quilt. I think I took longer deciding on a backing fabric than I took to sew the quilt top together! lol
I managed to finish the flimsy this week and have been waiting to take some pictures of it outside, but with rain happening on and off, all week long, I decided to share the shots of it on my design wall.  You'll just have to trust me when I say it's a completed flimsy. ;o)
This photo is the one the best captures the colour of the background fabric.  Seems yellow can be a tricky colour to photograph. ;o)
 Remember me holding my breath over my background fabric choice?  It's the first time I've used a text print for a background and more than that, it's the first time I've ever used so much y-e-l-l-o-w.  It's not that I hate yellow or anything, but for some reason it seemed very brave maybe even crazy to want it for a background colour. 
Turns out, I couldn't be happier with that background fabric.  It's not as bright as white would be for contrasting with the blocks, but it's still a clear colour contrast.  The part I like most is that it's not a flat colour - the text print makes a subtle statement and adds some interest, I think.

All those happy colours make this a very "Summer" quilt to me.  Sunshine, flowers, fresh picked berries and picnics all come to mind when I look at this selection of fabric.  I can hardly wait to get this quilted... but I will have to wait until my backing fabric arrives.  Of course, it's not like I don't have things to sew in the meantime and I can't complain about seeing this lovely mix of colour upon the wall when I walk into my sewing room. 

It seems we have a moment of sunshine this morning, so I'm going to go out and enjoy it while it lasts.  With any luck it will last long enough for us to spend time hiking in celebration of Father's Day today. ;o)
Happy Father's Day!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Make my tea towels Zakka!

Surprise!  I got caught up doing  more Zakka sewing. Admit it.  You knew that would happen. ;o)  The second project in the Zakka Along 2.0 sew along using
 is a set of pretty tea towels.  Certain to bring smiles when it's your turn to dry the dishes. ;o)
I decided to make my set as gifts - so I chose the recipient's favourite colour to make my version using blues. 

 Oh, and since I didn't have access to a copier to enlarge the applique templates for the letters, I drafted my own set - which happen to be larger than the ones used in the book.  Obviously, this affected the placement of the appliques a bit, but it still works. :o)
I love working with linen.  Especially as it comes in a wider width than cotton, so I could cut 2 towels with no waste across the width of the linen.  Yay!

It was so much fun choosing fabrics for the appliques.  I think my favourite is the text print fabric I used for the soup pot on the "Dinner" tea towel.   Soup is "healing", right? :o)
Jumping back a project for a love affair with the first project of the book - the Bell Pepper Coasters didn't feel complete until I added a fourth pepper. ;o)

Just as she suggests, Ayumi's projects make great gifts.  Each of my first two projects is destined for giving.  Yay!  They also make for some satisfying sewing. ;o)

I'll be adding my sew along finishes to the Flickr group
 and linking up with Amanda Jean's Finish-it-up-Friday!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Zakka. Simply irresistible.

Have you heard about the sew along using the new book,
 by Ayumi Takahashi? 
I happened to pick up this book over the weekend and was delighted with the gorgeous projects it contains and couldn't wait to get stitching. ;o)

I stitched up these fun bell pepper coasters this afternoon using Ayumi's delightful book. I thought they were too cute to resist and I think they'll make a great gift.  I'm also thinking of joining in on the sew along. 

Apparently, you can join in at any time and  there will be a post for each week of the sew along. I believe that this is week #2. Here's the link to the schedule, if you're interested.
  Sounds like lots of sewing fun, doesn't it?

The sew along is hosted by Lindsey of  LRstitched and Debbie of  A Quilter's Table
Thanks so much Lindsey and Debbie!
Even if you're not sewing along with everyone, you might be interested to see what everyone is making...   You can follow the sew along on:
and Instagram, hashtag #patchworkplease

Nothing like mixing in some small, quick sewing projects between the quilts I've got on the go!  Besides just mention patchwork and linen and I'm yours. ;o)  It may be the most irresistible combination I can think of.  :o)

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Impromptu progress

Sometimes I think I'm crazy.  Crazy, because with each new sewing project, with each new fabric combination, I find I get so excited to see it all come together.  Each and every time.
The project that has my full attention and enthusiasm currently, is my quilt for the Impromptu-along.
I have never worked with so much yellow before and it makes me a little uncomfortable.  I have no feelings of discomfort when I work with blues, reds, pinks or greens - so good thing these colours are all present on this project!  That yellow text for the background fabric has me hoping and wishing I'll make some magic in the final result.

Here you can see I've taken all those squares and stitched them together and played with layouts.

Once I get the layout for a block decided, some background pieces are added to flesh out the block.

Okay, only a dozen more to sew! ;o)
Wish me luck....
Hey!  Want to make your own Impromptu Quilt using Rachel's fantastic pattern?
You can find it HERE.

When I seem to be MIA (from blogland)...

it's because I'm helping my husband take this
Cabinets for installation as they arrive on the jobsite.  Everything needs to be unwrapped, organized and have all doors/drawers/shelves removed before we start installing.

and this

The  kitchen before we start.

 to make this. ;o)

The kitchen when we're finished!

The job of installing this kitchen and 2 bathrooms (not shown) for this house, took us all of Friday to install.
  It was the smallest as well as the third install of the week.  Whew. What a week!
Besides work, I had a few happy surprises happen within the week.  Two different emails letting me know I'd won gift certificates to online fabric shops (one as a part of Quilt Festival and the other having ManDarin selected as project of the weekand another letting me know I'd won some scraps of a soon-to-be-released fabric line from a lovely designer
Talk about improving my work week and making me feel very, very thankful! ;o)  I'm walking on air and a little shell-shocked.  The timing couldn't be better though, as I'm needing to find some backing fabric for the quilts I'm working on. I can hardly wait to do a little fabric shopping at
Sprightly Fabrics  and at Pink Chalk Fabrics.  Those gift certificates will be a big help.  Thanks so much to both of them and to Zen Chic for their generosity.
 Busy as I was with helping install this week,  I did manage to make time  to do a little sewing.

I stitched some blocks for the quilt in the Impromptu along and now that I have time on my weekend for sewing, I hope to have more progress to show.  We've got rain again, so I can't think of a better way to spend a part of my Sunday. Hope to catch up on my blog reading too... I've fallen behind....

Wishing you a happy weekend!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Fresh Sewing Day

Wow.  The month of May flew by!  Looking back, I'm a bit stunned by what I managed to finish during the month.  Namely, three quilts in one month.  That's a first for me! LOL

Two of those quilts have been on my FAL list since the start of the year and both of these quilts  started last year.
I started the month by finishing Pop Star,
ended the month by finishing ManDarin,
with another quilt in between... Cherry Blossoms Baby Quilt
 (gift for my newest niece).  May also found me working on a scrappy patchwork piece in blues and greens that I'd like to turn into a quilt.
All in all, I had a pretty happy and rather productive month of sewing.  Here's hoping that kind of sewing mojo carries over to June. ;o)

Linking up with Lynne's Fresh Sewing Day...
Lily's Quilts
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