Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Made with love, for my love.

This week I finished a very special quilt. 
I finally completed the quilt I started a year ago for my husband...

 
the ManDarin quilt!
 
The colour orange is his favourite and until I started making this quilt, I barely had an orange fabric in my stash.  Knowing how much he would appreciate his own quilt to wrap up in when he's working at his desk in the evenings, I embarked upon gathering an array of orange fabrics.



My husband has supported my love of sewing and creating with fabric going waaaaaaay back to when we were first dating in college.  He not only would drive me to local fabric stores, he would shop with me.  He still doesn't mind doing this.  Always encouraging my creativity and cheering me on.  He completely "gets" my love of fabric and sewing. Is it any wonder why I love this man? ;o)

Now after giving you a glimpse of what a wonderful man I married, don't read anything into the block design I chose to make his quilt. Okay? ;o)

I used Elizabeth Hartman's Crazy 9-Patch block tutorial to make the ManDarin quilt.  From the beginning, my husband knew I was making this quilt for him and I would ask for his preferences.  He wanted those crazy 9 patch blocks all tossed in together with nothing else to break them up. The odd hit of brown thrown in to keep your eye moving over the quilt was a fun addition.
 I sewed block after block.  I think I got a bit carried away!  I wanted his quilt to be large enough to wrap him up - mission accomplished.  In fact, I sewed more than enough for the quilt top, so the extras found their way onto the backing.


Personally, I love the back a wee bit more than the front (but don't tell him ;o).  I like the blocks framed by the solid.  Maybe it's because it gives the eye more of a resting place?

Grab your sunglasses!  This photo was taken outside - but not in direct sunlight.  The quilt is so bright that bees were attracted and kept buzzing about as I tried to photograph it. LOL

Still, I couldn't be happier with the finished results.
Since the quilt is quite busy with so much colour and print, I opted for a meander stitch for the quilting.  I figured  about all my quilting would contribute would be some texture.



Before washing...
I think I was right!  Compare for yourself, the before (above) and after (below) of the texture my quilting provided once I laundered the quilt.


after washing!
I used a light orange Aurifil thread in 50wt and fell in love all over again with this thread for FMQ.  My machine seems to prefer it, too.  No annoying tension issues with this thread, which makes for an enjoyable quilting experience.



Fresh from the dryer, I presented my hubby with his quilt and the look on his face was the icing on the cake.  This is why I quilt.



Whew.  This happy finish means I've accomplished another work in progress that has been on my
 FAL list for the second quarter of 2013.


she can quilt

I'm linking  my ManDarin quilt to Amanda Jean's Finish it up Friday!
 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Oh, colour, oh!

Have you read about the quilt along that Katy is hosting?  Never one to want to pass up the chance for some quilting fun with friends, I've joined in. ;o)
The quilt we'll be making is Rachel's pattern, Impromptu.
I've purchased the PDF version of her pattern and have started auditioning fabrics.
 
 
 
This pattern works beautifully for layer cakes, but I've decided to use some treasured charms that a sweet friend gave me. 
 
 
As if that isn't enough colour, I've also selected a yellow text fabric for the background.  You may laugh, but I am feeling pretty excited and a wee bit nervous about this first foray into using text fabrics on such a large scale. Fingers are crossed and deep breaths are being taken. ;o)

 
Besides those charms, some 10" squares are needed for the blocks, so I'm pulling colour.... and more colour from my stash to fulfill that fabric requirement.
Whew.  Seems pretty adventurous using so many bright choices.  LOL
I'm still auditioning, so not sure which of these will make the final cut.  I wonder how long I will hold out before the cutting begins. ;o)  I can't wait to get started!
 
If you want to join in, and make a lovely quilt along with us,
 hop on over to Katy's blog for all the details.
 
 
Oh, I have happy news!   It seems I got lucky with my guess - I now have a sweet, beautiful baby niece, so my Cherry Blossoms Baby Quilt 
 only needs a quilt label before I send it off to her (something similar to the label I made for this quilt for her sister). 


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Play day

My days of the week are all jumbled up, thanks to having a job that was scheduled for the whole weekend.  A bit of a mix-up and a looming deadline conspired to have my hubby and I installing all weekend.  Yet, surprisingly, here I am, home for my Sunday ( last evening, sweet husband said I should stay home today while he would go back alone).
 
  It's been a busy week for us, with some very long days, so I'm more than ready for a break - which I know he is ready for too.  Neither one of us is a fan of working the weekends, because we recognize the importance of having "down" time.  Time to relax, time to recharge and time to do other things besides work to pay our bills.  No one gets to the end of their life, looks back and says, "I regret not working more".  Work is always there, there's always more to be done, but if no time is given to play or just "being", I find I burn out.  Creatively, emotionally and physically.
 
Sewing can be playing?  Definitely!  Take this work in progress as an example.  I've yet to figure out how I will make it all come together, but I'm enjoying the chance to sort it out as I go along.  I'm just playing and it's making me happy.

So today, I'm going to "play".
  How do I play?  I take time for regular exercise, time to read a inspiring book, time spent with my sons (since it's sunny, a walk through the woods sounds perfect) and some time spent sewing. See how I'm taking time to nourish my physical, emotional and creative needs through play? 
I'm a believer in the power of playing. :o)
 
Wishing you some happy play days!
 
 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Cherry Blossoms Baby Quilt

I'm so excited to be sharing this quilt for the first time and to be entering it into the
 Baby Quilts category for the Blogger's Quilt Festival.
My timing on finishing this quilt also happened to line up perfectly with a tree that is just starting to bloom (making for an extra fun photo shoot ;o).
 
 
 Denyse Schmidt's Single Girl pattern has been calling to me for ages and since I may have a new niece any day now, I found the perfect reason to grab some pinks and greens from my stash to make this quilt.

 
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I used freezer paper to make it easier cutting out all those pieces for each ring.  I would highly recommend this method if the prospect of cutting and tracing out templates is making you hesitate in trying this pattern.
 
 
Sherbet Pips Play Dot in Vanilla  made for the perfect background fabric to set off those scrappy blocks.

 
Since this quilt is for a baby and will definitely be washed often, I decided to stick with a dense meander quilting to make it more durable.


I couldn't resist using this print from Sandi Henderson's Secret Garden collection combined with a strip of Ladder Dots in Fuschia from Denyse Schmidt's Chicopee line.  I debated a bit on using something more traditional, but  loved the fresh, modern look these fabrics give together.

 
 
 My Cherry Blossoms Baby Quilt finishes at 42" x 50"
 
 
 
Huge thanks to Amy for all she does to make the Blogger's Quilt Festival happen.  I love that she's given us categories to organize our entries into.  Thanks Amy!  It's been a wonderful week full of viewing gorgeous quilts and discovering new blogs.  What a great event!

Get ready to start voting for your favourite quilts starting tomorrow...

AmysCreativeSide.com

I'm linking up my quilt finish this week with Amanda Jean's Finish-it-up-Friday.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

WIP Wednesday

Quilting like crazy on the ManDarin quilt  (which is on my FAL list) for my hubby.
 
 
Happy Wednesday!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sew many possibilities

Just to mix things up a bit this week with my sewing, I made a foray back into a scrappy project I started earlier this year.  It just so happens that I added this project to Q2 of my Finish-A-Long list, so progress is definitely needed.

 
I really enjoy letting the scraps lead me - basically, this means I just look for similar sized pieces and stitch them together. I keep an eye out for mixing colour value while limiting my palette to blues and greens.  It's a bit like putting together a puzzle, but it adds up to easy stitching and fun results.

I love seeing these tiny pieces become something larger and cohesive.  Scraps are treasures when it comes to patchwork!

My latest strips will find their way into being used with the first section I put together back in Feb. (shown in photo, below)   I haven't quite sorted out how all of this will be combined and I am still debating on whether to make this into a small quilt or whether I should just make a mini to have in my sewing room.

Possibilities abound with scraps!
I probably blather on a bit much about how much I love working with scraps, but I truly see so many possibilities with them.  I love experimenting with them and discovering new ways to make something useful and attractive.   Okay, you can call me crazy. ;o)

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Fun Summer Fabrics

Warm sunny days have me daydreaming about the summer ahead.
  No surprise then, that I'd join in the fun to make a bundle of summer themed fabrics from
 
 
 

Summer is all about the outdoors for me.  Camping, hiking and floating down a lazy river are favourite activities to enjoy with my family and with any luck, this summer will see me doing all of these things.  Can't forget biking and visiting summer fairs!  Sounds pretty good, doesn't it?   What do you enjoy doing in the summer?

If you're interested in seeing other summer bundles, click here, and if you want to create your own bundle(s), you have until the end of May to enter.  Details for the contest are HERE.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Blogger's Quilt Festival

 
 
 Hi there ! If you are visiting my blog for the first time while touring the Blogger's Quilt Festival, welcome!  
The quilt I'm sharing is a recent finish, so those of you that are not new to my blog will recognize it as my Orange Twirl quilt.  It measures 71" x  90" and started out as a way to use up some leftover orange fabrics from another quilt and try a new block design.
 
 
Little did I know that this simple block and playing with fabric values in orange would captivate me!  The more blocks I made, the more I fell in love with this design.  It didn't take me long to realize that I would like to make the quilt bed-sized.  That presented a problem.  I needed to keep the values contrasting in the quilt, but my collection of orange fabrics was getting slim.  That's when some wonderful blogging friends stepped in to help me out.  I think of their generosity as "Orange-Aid" and their kind help, made my quilt more lovely than I had imagined.
 
 
My next challenge turned out to be  my quilting. 
 I knew from the start how I wanted to free motion quilt, but  once I was underway, I started having second thoughts.  I guess it was a case of not being able to see the forest for the trees. ;o)
  Instead of ripping out all my stitches, I walked away from it. 
 The next day I was able to look at it with fresh eyes and
 
 
I realized the swirly quilting wasn't quite as disappointing as I first thought.
 
 
Sometimes, as was the case with this quilt, it's the fabrics that take center stage, not the quilting... and that's good. 
 

The rest of the quilt came together smoothly. 
 Using a stripe fabric for the backing was a first for me.  Using dots for the binding... was not a first, but is always a favourite.
 

Is there anything happier than a dot binding? ;o)
I would never have guessed that my initial motivations (where's the risk in using leftovers to try a new block, right? ;o) would result in a quilt that makes me smile every time I look at it and give me a whole new outlook on a colour that I used to overlook.
 
 
 Thanks so much for your visit! 
You're always welcome here and I hope you'll click my "follow with Bloglovin" button (sidebar) to keep coming back.
Okay, off you go!  Have fun visiting everyone else in the Festival!
 
AmysCreativeSide.com
 
 
 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Short but sweet?

Popping in with a short post today.  My hubby and I put in a 11 hour day installing yesterday since the job was out of town and we wanted to finish in a day. However, I'm totally feeling the effects today.  I actually woke up with aching hands and feet this morning.  Which I like to think is a testament to how hard I worked and has nothing to do with my age. ;o) 
We totally rocked that kitchen instal!  Nice to know that in the year since I started installing kitchens with my husband, I've become a pretty good helper, making a difference in how much time it takes to get things done (and keeping him laughing through the day ;o)
Today, mundane (but necessary) things like laundry, cooking and cleaning topped the to-do list.
  But you're not here for any of that!  You're probably more interested in what's currently on my design wall, right?...
 

Check it out!
 
  Yes, I now have 3 blocks complete for my Single Girl baby quilt. I can hardly wait to finish this girly sweet top! 
  My design wall  looks better than ever with the Single Girl blocks next to the quilt top,
 Garden Plot (which is awaiting finishing). 
 Somehow those circles look extra pretty next to those squares. ;o)  More to show soon....

Monday, May 13, 2013

Curves, Baby!

Throwing Setting aside (for the moment), my many other sewing projects, I'm stitching like crazy on the baby quilt I started on Mother's Day.  I'm using Denyse Schmidt's Single Girl quilt pattern with assorted pink and green fabrics from my stash.
 
The last time I pieced curves was for my One Heart Reading Pillow.

Single Girl is a great pattern( although I remember initially be put off by the idea of cutting all those templates for the pieces to make the blocks.  ;o)
 
Partly due to the fact that I don't have any template plastic on hand, (for cutting templates from plastic and tracing around them on my fabric), and partly because I'm lazy... I came up with another idea.  I photocopied all the small pattern pieces and traced the larger pieces onto freezer paper.  This allows me to iron the pattern piece onto the fabric for ease in cutting (no pinning or tracing necessary!).  It also worked brilliantly for keeping those pieces organized for stitching.


Pieces cut and organized by quadrant for one block. Makes for easy chain piecing.

The next potentially tricky bit to this block design, is sewing those curves.  Following the pattern instructions, pins are the way to go with making those curved seams align without struggle.  


Sewing the inner circle seam line for one quadrant.
 
Love those pieced curves, baby! ;o)
 
I toyed around with using different low-volume fabrics for the block background
(because I love this one by Jolene and this one by Chase... such gorgeous Single Girl quilts!),
but I decided that
 Sherbet Pips Play Dot in Vanilla is too perfect not to use solely as the background.


 
Two blocks done, two to go!

  I should have a finished quilt top complete before the end of the week.  Now, what do you want to bet that my SIL has a little boy and my Single Girl quilt will need to be made again in new colours... as a Single Boy quilt? LOL

On a day like today...

when the sky is picture perfect blue
 

with leaves and blooms budding forth,

 
I realize just how much Nature can affect my palette choices.
 
Colours that are fresh and pretty, full of promise.  They say, "Spring is here!" and

 
 have me stitching up a storm in anticipation of wonderful news. 


 
This month will bring the arrival of my newest niece or nephew.   I probably should wait to sew anything gender specific until after the babe is born.
Can I blame it on the weather?...Obviously, I just couldn't wait.  ;o)

Friday, May 10, 2013

Winner!


The winner of the black and white fat eighths bundle is...
 

True Random Number Generator
    1
  457  
   61
 Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Becky!!!
 
Congratulations!!!
I've sent you an email to get your mailing address to send your prize.
 
 
 HUGE THANKS to everyone that participated in
for the
 
I enjoyed reading every comment  (your comments will be of great help in my pattern writing). 
Plus, I now have a whole list of new blogs to visit. Yay!
 
 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Friday's Finish - Pop Star Quilt

Pop Star Quilt is my version of Sarah Fielke's Made in Cherry Quilt.
 
Is it wrong that each quilt I finish becomes my newest favourite? ;o)
  This week's favourite?
 
 
 
It was at the top of my Q2 Finish-A-Long list - so finishing makes me happy, but I think it's the colours and quilting that have me loving my newest quilt. ;o)
 
she can quilt

 
Truthfully, I never thought I'd be making a  quilt using purple. 
 Purple is the colour most absent from my stash. Perhaps that's why I still choose to think of this quilt as being more about magenta than purple.  ;o)
 Honestly, it was Liz Scott's fabric line Domestic Bliss that lured me into working with purple and pinks.


Taking inspiration from the palette in Domestic Bliss, I chose dark, medium and lights in pink and in purple to make my quilt.  Originally, I even chose a background fabric that was teal (to be like this print from Domestic Bliss),  but obviously, I  changed my mind.  Instead, I went with a bright, spring green (oh, I do love Henna Garden in any colour from Sandi Henderson).

 
 
As much as I love the front of the quilt, I'm really crushing on the back.
For the backing fabric, I chose Denyse Schmidt's Ladder Dot in Fuschia (see how nicely it goes with the fabrics in the quilt top?  that was pure luck, as I chose everything separately online over the course of a year as I collected fabrics to make this quilt).  The colour is just delicious!
 
 
 It also complements my free motion quilting!
 
 
 However, I was stuck for awhile, trying to figure out what to chose for a binding fabric.  Then it hit me... Crosshatch in Plum from Carolyn Friedlander's Architexture  line.  It would be perfect! Right?


Now I can't decide which side up I like better...
this

 
or this?
 

 
Here's to a happy week of real Spring weather (we've had temps in the mid 20's Celsius this week... woohoo!) and to a finish! ;o)
 
I'm linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts
 
 and with Quilt Matter's

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