Friday, April 25, 2014

Maple Medley

 A couple seasons back,  I hopped on the bandwagon to sew some Modern Maples blocks in pursuit of making a quilt for cool weather snuggles on the couch.  I was completely smitten by the gorgeous blocks others were sewing and also by the wonderful quilts shared in the Flickr group,
 Seriously, if you haven't already checked this group out, you should.  I dare you to go look and not be inspired to make your own!
Anyways, I had a great time making my blocks, sketched up a layout to try and even made my blocks in 3 different sizes to suit my design.  Once fall passed, I lost focus on this quilt and it languished on my design wall.  No more!  As of this week, it's now a finished quilt.

This quilt has been worth the wait.  There's much about it that makes me happy.  First, can I tell you how much I love that Architextures print from Carolyn Friedlander?  It is just perfect for the vision I had for my quilt and I love the extra visual interest it adds over a solid background fabric.

I knew from the start that it was important to me to create a sense of movement in not only the layout of my leaf blocks, but in the quilting.  Sorting out the layout  was easy compared to the time I spent trying to work out how I would quilt it.  Ultimately, the simplest solution seemed best suited.  Concentric circles radiate from the center of the quilt out to the edges.

Concentric circles quilted using a walking foot for all but the center circle (I used a free motion foot for that first circle) using my vintage 201 Singer. Goes to show you that you don't need a fancy machine to be able to quilt! :o)

The circles are evenly spaced using the seam guide attachment on a walking foot.  I marked only the center circle (with my Frixxion pen) and after than I followed my quilting with the guide arm on my walking foot to make each successively larger circle.  The walking foot did a great job of "walking" over the fabric so that by the time I returned to the start of each circle I did not have fabric gathers.  Better yet, with each successive circle, the quilting became easier because the curves are gentler.  I didn't even change direction with each circle and had no puckers top or bottom on this quilt (that is reason to celebrate! ;o).  The worse part of stitching each circle with a separate start and finish is all the thread tails you end up with.  However, I  really think the circles add lovely texture (after washing and drying the quilt - shown in photo below)  to both the front and back of my quilt, so working in all those thread tails afterwards was worth it.
You may also notice that I used the background fabric for the binding - my thought was that is would make the quilt look borderless or unrestricted.

Another perfect fit, is Martha Negley's "Autumn Medley," for the backing.  However, I couldn't buy it in one continuous piece ( I had 3 odd size pieces to work with), which meant that some careful pattern matching was in order (vertically and horizontally).  The really tricky bit was that the pattern didn't match at both the selvedge edges, but several inches in.  I hate the fabric that this wastes, especially coming from a background of commercial home decor sewing - where pattern matching is done on the selvedge edge.  Pins and a removeable marking pen were involved to get the pattern to line up and I have to say it worked rather well and went easier this way.

A peek at some of the pattern matching involved to make a backing large enough for my quilt.

The colours in this quilt are mostly warm and rich  (lots of Denyse Schmidt fabrics were used ;o) as befitting the fall season, but I did have fun tossing in a pinch of bright green just because.

Quilted using 50wt variegated cotton thread from WonderFil.

My vision for the layout was of leaves being caught up in a gust of wind which sets them swirling and twirling.  Initial sketches helped get me started, but it really came together when I put the blocks onto my design wall.

Maple Medley finishes at 72 x 72.
 Maple Medley is a finish that makes my heart sing and it's a pleasure to count it as my first finish on my list for the second quarter of FAL 2014.

Finish Along 2014
I'm linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts for
Finish it up Friday!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

WIP Wednesday

 After tackling free motion quilting my king-size quilt on my vintage 201 Singer, I knew that it could handle anything. :o)    This time around, it's a much smaller quilt - my version of Modern Maples.

Just as soon as this quilt is complete, I have another one waiting on my design wall behind me. :o)

Once again, I'm using a foot that belongs to my modern Janome sewing machine.  Since both machines are low- shank, it means that I can use the walking foot with its seam guide on my Singer.  Woohoo! I couldn't be happier with how well it's going. 

If all proceeds as hoped,  I will have a finish to share soon.

From Strips to Chevrons

Remember those pretty Sandi Henderson fat quarters?  I couldn't resist starting something new using a couple of them paired with some linen.  I cut them into 22" long strips, alternated the cotton with the linen and sewed the strips together, making two separate sets of pieced strip units (only one set is shown below).  For each set, I cut a variety of strip widths and then mixed them up.  Fun, right?

Sizes for my strips range from 1" to 3" wide (both for the cotton strips and for the linen ones).
Next, I cut each set into varying width strips, this time on a 45 degree angle (with the direction of the 45 degree angle reversed on the second set).  By using one strip from each set (so the angles are mirror imaged), those strips can be sewn together to make chevrons.   
 Pretty easy way to turn those simple strips into chevrons and I'm loving the results!

All this fun has reminded of other projects I've made using chevrons - a doll quilt (including a tutorial  here), a wall hanging and a table runner.

Piecing chevrons this way is easy - it's the pressing that's a bit tricky as linen is more fluid than the quilting cotton.
I'm not done yet with this idea (as you can see), but I'm having a lot of fun working with such Spring-y colours.   I've also made some progress on one of the items on my FAL list, worked on some pattern drafting and placed an order for some much needed interfacing (for some pattern testing to come!) so my week is off to a good start.  How's your week so far?

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Funny how that happens... Sunday Stash

Well, a whole week zipped by without a moment for me to write a post and now I'm back to share more fabric.  You're going to think that all I do is buy fabric. ;o)

It always amazes me when I select fabrics that match so well, when I didn't even start with that intention.  I chose some Flea Market Fancy, Field Study, Notting Hill and Wee Wonderful prints that play well together.
All the fabric goodness pictured in this post was scooped up from a lovely online Canadian fabric shop that I'm quite new to.   It's a gorgeous place to shop - so much to admire and fill my wishlist with. 
 Currently, Pam is celebrating the 6 year anniversary of
 and has been having wonderful sales for each week in the month of April.  I happened to get in on the first week of the sale and have my eye on a few more pretties for the stash. ;o)  I think all but one or two of the fabrics shared in this post are still available and most are on sale, in case you're interested.

Flea Market Fancy, Chicopee and Field Study prints.
This second group of stash additions were specifically selected with the thoughts of a fall project.  Not saying I will get to that project before fall, but at least I will be prepared. ;o)

Hope you enjoy the latest bit of fabric eye candy and hopefully I will manage a chance to share what I've been working on.  My computer time has been really limited and this week looks to be shaping up the same way, but have faith that I am actually making time to sew and not just stash enhance. :o)

Wishing all that celebrate, a Happy Easter!

Molli Sparkles

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sunday Stash

It took needing some fabric to sew a "guy gift" to make me realize that my stash is gender biased quite heavily towards feminine colours and prints.  Any remotely male slanted fabrics I have, are mostly for kids (which makes sense, since they come from years of sewing for my sons when they were younger - however I've been remiss in adding more grown-up choices). That realization put me on a mission to see if I couldn't attempt to add at least a handful of more masculine fabric choices that were less juvenile, to have me ready for further "guy" sewing projects.

Imagine my delight when I popped into a local fabric shop on my way to the grocery store (how  clever convenient that they are next door to one another ;o),  to find two decidedly masculine novelty prints. ha! Then I came across a third print that I think is modern and male in design.  So now I have a start on some suitable and fun fabric choices for sewing for my menfolk. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Finish Along 2014 - Q2 The List

Finish Along 2014 
 This quarter I'm  listing 3 projects.  These are the three I most want need finished. Truthfully,  I'm tired of carrying several projects over from one quarter to the next and sounding like a broken record with each list being virtually the same from one quarter to the next.   Realizing that if this carries on, I may end up disliking these projects altogether, so they must be finished this quarter - or else! The sooner the better. :o)
1. Swoon Quilt - top is done, time to piece the backing; 2. Modern Maples - basted and awaits quilting; 3. Paint the Town - figure out backing and quilting.
Finishing will also have other rewards - they will break up the process of pattern writing and editing - as I have several on the go at the moment.  Here's hoping for a productive Q2!

I'm linking up with Katy and friends 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Go ahead,

enjoy a peek at what has arrived from Robert Kaufman as my prize for placing third in the 2014 Pantone Quilt Challenge.  You can bet that I'm pretty thrilled and can hardly wait to work with these inspiring colours.

Back to basting...

as there seems to be a line-up of tops waiting to be quilted. :o)

However, more fabric temptation popped into  my mailbox this morning, so it's taking major restraint to plod ahead on finishing when I want to set my rotary cutter into action on some new projects.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Finish Along 2014 Q1 - the tally

Finish Along 2014

Well, from my hopeful list of 5 , for this  first quarter of the Finish Along, I have only ONE finish to report.
  That single finish still has me cheering since it happens to be the one project that has been on my list for every quarter of 2013.  This year, I gave this project my full attention and finally turned all those mini granny square blocks into a king-size quilt for our bed.

More details about this finish can be found here....
  and  I'm cutting it close to the deadline, so I'm off to get this post linked up with 
 Katy at The Littlest Thistle for Q1 FAL finishes.
Be sure to pop by, to see the gorgeous and inspiring finishes that have been happening this quarter by the other participants.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Simply irresistible

 I don't think I've seen a granny square quilt that I didn't love.  That being said, my favourite  is a scrappy version.

My own granny square quilt began 2 years ago... here... and I finished sewing the last blocks for it in January, but the crazy idea to use mini granny square blocks to make a king-size quilt came from how much I love these pillows.

(I gave a preview look at this finish in an earlier post - but thought I'd better include a few more pictures and details for you... I'm still hoping to get a full shot of this quilt sometime soon).

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Rainbow Connection Craft Case

It's with a smile and a sigh of relief that I'm sharing this finish.  I've mentioned that I was working on designing a gift for someone special, so it gives me great pleasure to finally show you what I was making.

The Rainbow Connection Craft Case

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Thinking of Spring

Spring arrived in my mailbox this week.
These beautiful fabrics are from Joel Dewberry's newest line,  Botanique , which I happened to be lucky enough to win in a recent giveaway on his blog.   Thank you, Joel and Laurie!
Just feast your eyes on these...amazing, right?!

This palette says, "Spring"!  Fresh and pretty.

How about a closer look?

 Group #1...
 Group #2...

Group #3.
Gorgeous, right?!   I think my favourite, favourite of this line is the print on the far left in the photo above.  Something about that soft teal background and those delicate blooms in coral, pink with a light touch of yellow. sigh.  I'm sure you will understand the squeal of delight and the happy dance that ensued after I opened this parcel. ;o)  Inspired by this palette (and craving Spring!  Good news is that it's melting like crazy here after all the days of snow March gave us), they've been washed and pressed, so I'm set to start sewing with them.

Imagine my further delight to discover these new fabrics will play very, very nicely with some pieces I already had in my stash (some Sandi Henderson, Lotta Jansdotter, Oliver + S and older lines from Joel). I'm making a little stack of possible candidates for mixing with Botanique and dreaming of what I shall make first with them. ;o)

Seriously, these fabrics make me want to push all other projects aside so I can start sewing with the new pretties.  I keep saying I won't start another quilt until I finish all the ones I have waiting... but I don't know how much longer I can hold out with these calling to me. ;o)

Making it Mine - WIP Wednesday

For several days now, I've been stitching up a gift for a special someone that is my own design.  I sketched my idea up on paper, made the calculations and then dove in.  No prototype here as I need this gift finished ASAP! ;o)  That being said, I find it goes best if I don't rush myself (fewer mistakes) and even though I'm taking longer than I had hoped, it's coming along nicely. I may even have a finish to share soon.

Happily, I'm at the stage where I can add a few little extra touches that really make it "mine".

 Details like self-made binding, colourful press snaps and even a few handmade labels (hello fussy cuts, rubber stamps and fabric pens!) for embellishment.  Several special notions have been strewn about the table as I decide which I want to include and where to add them. What fun!

What projects are you working on this week?
Check out what's happening with these crafty folk as
I'm linking up with friends,

  and with more friends,

Sew Fresh Quilts
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