Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Sewcial Bee Sampler Week 17

Woohoo, it's Wednesday! That means it's time for the next block to be released in The Sewcial Bee Sampler (a fun online sew along), hosted by Sharon Holland and Maureen Cracknell. The block for this week is Spools.  (for the free download to make this or the previous blocks, visit Maureen's or Sharon's blog).
 
SBS Block 17 of 25 is Spools

I really had fun making this scrap filled block! I made quite a few changes to the original design. You may remember me sharing a glimpse of some low volume fabric scrap sewing that I've been doing? I decided to combine that idea with the design of this block!  I replaced the four, single fabric square pieces in this block, with pieces of patchwork instead. Look at all the extra scraps I was able to incorporate into a single block!  I went on to change out the center square of this block for a patchwork of four fabrics and I eliminated the half square triangles in the four corners of the block, to really make this block mine.  It is so fun playing around with ways to accomplish a different look for a block and this time around, I went all out.😉 I think I set a new personal best for how many low volume fabrics in a single block. 😄

SBS Blocks 1-16

Block 17 will be added to the rainbow scrappy mix of blocks already waiting!  I think I fall more in love with this quilt with each passing week.  Only eight more blocks to make before turning these into a flimsy! I'm already thinking about how I will go about sashing my blocks together, because I want to continue with the scrappy look.  Hopefully, by the end of summer, I will have a new quilt to share!  I can't say enough good things about the sew along - it's organized by two lovely, inspiring ladies (Maureen and Sharon) and the participants are also supportive and inspiring.  It's a wonderful community that I'm happy to be a part of!  Honestly, as much as I look forward to completing my sampler, I also don't want the fun to end.  If you haven't had a look at the sew along, don't be shy - visit Sharon Holland and Maureen Cracknell on their blogs and then #sewcialbeesampler on Instagram .  It's never too late to join the fun!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Button Bonanza

Years ago, I happened upon a large ziploc bag of buttons at a thrift store, that nearly left me speechless. It was one of those "can this be for real?" moments. The bag was filled to bursting, with cards of buttons in all colours, sizes and styles. There was even multiple cards of some buttons! I eagerly popped that bag of buttons into my shopping cart, knowing that I had scored a major find.
 

The buttons were originally stock from a local fabric store chain that closed down.  Apparently, some of the unsold inventory was donated and by some sort of lucky timing, I happened to walk into the thrift store housing the button bounty!


All these lovely buttons are kept in a glass gallon jar on a shelf in my sewing room, ready to be sorted through whenever I need buttons for a project.

Love sewing buttons on by machine! I have been doing it for years and long before a specialty foot was designed for the task. These days I'm spoiled because my Janome 8900 comes with a stitch setting specifically for sewing on buttons, as well as this ever so handy foot - to make it easy-peasy!
 This week, I took that jar off the shelf to search for possible candidates to finish a blouse I have been making for myself.  The tricky bit would be finding nine matching buttons in a small size, but I figured it was worth shopping my stash first.

My blouse is McCall's M5522 and the lovely, all cotton fabric, is from Windham Fabrics, designed by Heather Ross (from her Far, Far Away 2 Collection in 2014).

I lucked out! My lovely new blouse is now sporting these fun wood/metal buttons all found in the button jar. Woohoo!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Fabric Friday!

Happy Friday! I wanted to share the lovely package that arrived today from Pink Castle Fabrics.
 
video
 
Apparently, I cannot resist a sale (or sweet fabrics! ;o). 
 

Just in time for some long weekend sewing. ;o)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Sewcial Bee Sampler Week 16

The Sewcial Bee Sampler sew along, is counting down with the last 10 blocks!  This fun online sew along is hosted by Sharon Holland and Maureen Cracknell. The block for this week is King's Crown.  (for the free download to make this or the previous blocks, visit Maureen's or Sharon's blog).
 
Block 16, King's Crown for the Sewcial Bee Sampler
My version is scrappy, like all my blocks have been, but this time I couldn't resist a touch of whimsy, so I fussy cut a scrap from a friend, for the center of my block.  I didn't have enough to be able to center the print, but I love it all the more because it meant making use of what I had to hand, which always makes me happy!  I am having the best time sewing my blocks from my scrap stash and playing with all the colours in the rainbow.😀

If you're feeling inspired to join the sew along, you can find all the blocks (and the instructions to make them) on both Sharon's and Maureen's blogs.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Fabric Stories


I have mentioned my love of scrappy patchwork, which also means I'm reluctant to part with even the smallest bits of fabrics. They hold magical potential!  Sewing those tiny pieces together to make one of a kind blocks is something I love to do.  I let the scraps lead me in terms of the order I sew them and the design that develops.  I think of it as telling story in fabric!
 
 
Part of my fabric storage organization is having containers to place the smallest scraps. This makes it easier for me to sew scrappy blocks whenever the mood strikes. Lately, the container with my low volume fabric scraps has been put to use as leader - enders as I work on other projects (such as my Sewcial Bee Sampler blocks).
 


Those scrappy bits of patchwork are slowly adding up and are destined to be made into something larger or perhaps even several finishes! My mind is bubbling with ideas to incorporate these into projects, so don't be surprised if you see some of them popping up fairly soon in some of my makes. ;o)



Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Sewcial Bee Sampler - Week #15

Time to add a little sunshine to my Sewcial Bee Sampler! Broken Dishes is the block for week 15 of the Sewcial Bee Sampler sew along, hosted by Sharon Holland and Maureen Cracknell (for the free download to make this block, visit Maureen's or Sharon's blog).
 
 Broken Dishes is Block 15 in the Sewcial Bee Sampler
 
A simple block to make and a wonderful chance to use a colour that I don't turn to very often. Since this block is small with wide borders, I thought it would be fun to choose low volume fabrics that included a hint of yellow to make the block appear larger.  I'm happy with the result!


Blocks 1-15 in the Sewcial Bee Sampler sew along
I look forward to a new block each week and am happy we still have 10 weeks of block making ahead!  The sewalong community is so supportive and inspiring.  No wonder Wednesday is my new favourite day of the week!

Thinking about joining the sew along?  It's not too late!  The blocks are great skill builders and Maureen and Sharon are doing a wonderful job of inspiring and cheering us all on.  You will find lots of  helpful tips, too!  Instructions for each block are well written, so it's beginner friendly and for those of us with a bit of experience, we are certainly free to play a bit with things (as I have been doing by making extra pieces in several of my scrappy block versions ;o). Some participants are even making more than one version of each block, which really is tempting! Sew along at your own pace, so even if the timing isn't the best for joining in and stitching a block a week; know that you can always download the PDF for each block so you have the information when you are ready to start sewing.


 Pop over to Maureen's blog and Sharon's blog  for all the details!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Sewcial Bee Sampler - Week # 14

Star and Cross is the block for this week of the Sewcial Bee Sampler sew along, hosted by Sharon Holland and Maureen Cracknell (for the free download to make this block, visit Maureen's or Sharon's blog).
 
Star and Cross block for Sewcial Bee Sampler Week #14

Sticking with my plan of full on rainbow-scrappy, this block had me diving into my stash of purple scraps.  Purple is not a favourite with me, so my stash has a very limited amount of this colour - actually most of the fabrics in this block are made from fabrics I have received in various swaps.  Thank goodness I have friends that have shared some of their purple fabrics with me! ;o)

Sewcial Bee Sampler Blocks 1 - 14

The weeks have been flying by and the blocks are really starting to add up! I'm already planning out which colour I will use for next week's block to make sure I cover all the colours of the rainbow.  Any guesses which colour I might be thinking of?

Monday, May 1, 2017

No Scrap Left Behind Blog Hop

Welcome! I am delighted and honoured to be able to share with you today as a part of  No Scrap Left Behind Blog Tour!

It has been a decade since I first discovered Crazy Mom Quilts and became friends with Amanda Jean online. I immediately felt I had found a kindred spirit! It is no secret that I have a love affair with scraps and Amanda Jean is the Queen of Scrappy!  I cannot think of a better title for her book and I know that if you love scrap quilts or if you are looking for inspiring ways to use your scraps (not just for quilts!), you will want this book.
 

How do I manage my scraps?
 
My system for organizing my scraps is simple; scraps sorted separately by size and then for the large or odd shaped pieces, grouped by colour. This works well for me, keeps me using my scraps and cuts down on the chaos of not finding what I want, when I want it. ;o) Find a system that suits you and your methods - I think that's what matters most. There's no "right" or "wrong" way to sort scraps!
 
 
"June" is the quilt pattern I tested from No Scrap Left Behind.  It's a fun design that goes together quickly and Amanda Jean's tips help it go smoothly from start to finish.  As suggested, I varied the widths of my strips and trimmed each unit afterwards. Chain piecing also works beautifully for making lots of strip units in a short amount of time.
 
The beautiful floral print fabric used for the large squares, is a European poplin designed by Rebekah Ginda for Swafing. I purchased it a couple of years ago, online from L'Oiseau fabrics in Calgary.
  My colour palette was inspired by the fabric that I decided would be perfect for the main squares in the quilt. I knew I had stashed that gorgeous print for something special! ;o)
 
 
Pink, orange and blue are abundant in my stash and I enjoyed mixing them all together for a colourful, scrappy quilt filled with energy.  Pink gingham for cornerstones and a sweet cherry print for the binding.  
 
The solid backing allows the dense free motion quilting to show off all the texture it adds.
 The solid pink for the backing, is from Free Spirit (in fuchsia) and I pieced strips of the main fabric along with the gingham in two narrow matching bands, to make the backing large enough. Love a pieced backing!
 
The wee cherry print seemed like the perfect choice for the binding!
 It's difficult to see all the quilting from the front of the quilt,  but it really shows on the solid fabric backing. 


Those large squares inspired me to free motion quilt big blooms in them, while the pieced frames I quilted in long loops.

 
There were approximately a bazillion thread ends to bury after my quilting - but I think it was totally worth it!  ;o)



This quilt was a joy to make!  It's a beautiful pattern that makes treasured scraps shine and it's easy to sew. 
 


  
 I am so tempted to make this pattern again! If you're short on scraps (um, not me...) I suggest you cut up charm squares for the narrow pieced sections and a couple of layer cakes for the large squares - wouldn't that be fun?
 
 
 Thank you so much for inviting me to be a part of the fun in celebrating your gorgeous and inspiring new book, Amanda Jean!
 
Thank you to C&T publishing for providing a free copy of No Scrap Left Behind for me to giveaway (hard copy for a U.S. winner or a digital copy for an international winner).
 
  •  To be entered to win a free copy of No Scrap Left Behind by Amanda Jean Nyberg; please leave a comment on this post between now and Friday May 5, 2017 at 9pm PST.
  • This giveaway is open to everyone, anywhere in the world. Please make sure I can contact you through your comment by leaving your email if you are a no-reply blogger. 


Here's this weeks blog tour stops...

Monday, May 1, Katherine Greaves (this is me!)
Tuesday, May 2, Tracy Mooney
Wednesday, May 3, Cheryl Arkison
Thursday, May 4, Debbie Jeske
Friday, May 5, Amy Smart
 
 Giveaway is now closed and the winner is...

 
Congratulations, Lorene!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Sewcial Bee Sampler - Week # 13

The Sewcial Bee Sampler sew along, hosted by Sharon Holland and Maureen Cracknell is now at week thirteen!  (for the free download to make this or the previous blocks, visit Maureen's or Sharon's blog).
 
Sewcial Bee Sampler Block 13 - Flying Geese
 
This block was the opportunity I was waiting for to dive into a favourite combination of mine - red/aqua/pink! Add in the array of low volume fabrics (24 for this block!) and my scrap loving heart just beats faster.😉
 

I'm continuing to make a collage each week to see how my blocks look together and to help me keep a good mix of colours in my quilt.  I'm aiming for a rainbow of colour, mixed with as many low volume fabrics for the backgrounds as possible.  It's exciting to see the spectrum of my scrap stash and I look forward to each new block and the chance to be creative in my fabric combinations.

Pop over to Maureen's blog and Sharon's blog  for all the details in joining this fun,  sew-at-your-own-pace, virtual sew along! If you're on Instagram, you can find all the inspiring blocks that are being made shared under the tag #sewcialbeesampler - although I will warn you, it will be even harder to resist joining in, once you see so many beautiful versions. ;o)

Monday, April 24, 2017

Sneak Peek...

What a fun way to start the week! Today is the start of a two week blog tour for the book, No Scrap Left Behind, written by my inspiring, sweet friend Amanda Jean Nyberg ( Crazy Mom Quilts). 
 

You don't want to miss out on the fun projects being shared each day or your chance to win a free copy of  No Scrap Left Behind - there will be a book giveaway at each stop on the tour!

I'm looking forward to sharing my version of one of the quilts in the book, one week from today. Until then, let's check out all the scrappy inspiration from Amanda Jean and the lovely bloggers that have made projects from her new book!

Monday, April 24th Mary Kolb
Tuesday, April 25, Lee Monroe
Wednesday, April 26, Sandi Hazlewood
Thursday, April 27, Bernie Kringel
Friday, April 28, Erin Cox
 
Monday, May 1, Katherine Greaves
Tuesday, May 2, Tracy Mooney
Wednesday, May 3, Cheryl Arkison
Thursday, May 4, Debbie Jeske
Friday, May 5, Amy Smart
 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Even the littlest bits

Remember that tiny block I made using scraps?
 

I've turned that sweet bit of patchwork into a wee pincushion, complete with a touch of ric rac.

 
I love how even the tiniest bits of fabric can make something sweet and useful.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Sewcial Bee Sampler - Week #12

Right Angle is the block for this week of the Sewcial Bee Sampler sew along, hosted by Sharon Holland and Maureen Cracknell.   Week 12 means we are halfway through the blocks for our quilt in this sew along! (for the free download to make this block, visit Maureen's or Sharon's blog). My version is tweaked a little - I substituted some flying geese for a few of the half square triangle units in the block design. This meant that I didn't have as many seams and it kept the larger orange print fabric in one piece.
 
Block 12 of 25 is Right Angle

This sew along has been a wonderful opportunity to dive into my scrap stash to make each block one-of-a-kind.  I'm happy mixing colours and prints to my hearts content! Although it's not just the colours that delight me - the chance to incorporate so many low volume fabrics also excites my creative juices.  I started collecting low volume fabrics a few years back, being inspired by the low volume creations of Jolene at Blue Elephant Stitches, Svetlana at SOTAK Handmade and Stina at Kviltstina. It has taken some time to curate a healthy stash of low volume fabrics, and it helped to participate in an online swap of low volume fabrics (cut into 10" squares, some of which I have never used until this sew along). I am always on the lookout for "just right" low volume fabrics because I know that they can make a huge difference in a scrappy patchwork project. This block is a good example of the impact a variety of low volume prints can make (wish I'd bought yards and yards of that strawberry print by Heather Ross and that I had more than a 10" square of the hipster eyeglass print ;o).

Blocks 1 - 12 for the Sewcial Bee Sampler sew along!

That's one more colourful block added to the rainbow mix!  I'm already looking forward to the next one. ;o)

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Sewcial Bee Sampler - Week # 11

Can you believe it? This is week eleven in the Sewcial Bee Sampler sew along, hosted by Sharon Holland and Maureen Cracknell!  Four Square  is the block for this week (for the free download to make this block, visit Maureen's or Sharon's blog).
 
Four Square - block 11 in the Sewcial Bee Sampler sew along
 
I love that the design of this block allowed me to use up some scrappy strips in my stash, along with some small squares.  I would like to say that I'm making a huge dent in my scrap stash, but we all know that isn't the case. ;o)  However, I am having the best time finding just the "right" (or right now?) treasured bits to combine for each block.  The hardest part is making only one version... there is a part of me that wants to try so many more versions and colour combinations for the blocks each week.  That's why I love being a part of the sew along - I get to experience (second hand) all kinds of fun alternate versions of the blocks, without making any more than my usual one block/week. ;o)
 

Here's my up to date collage of blocks 1-11, in all their colourful, scrap happy goodness.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Sewcial Bee Sampler - Week #10

 This is week ten in the Sewcial Bee Sampler sew along, hosted by Sharon Holland and Maureen Cracknell!  Butterfly Crossing is the block for this week (for the free download to make this block, visit Maureen's or Sharon's blog).
 

This block is one that takes a bit more work to make, but I found it to be a wonderful design for using lots of scraps. I used 34 different, low volume scraps for the block itself, PLUS another four low volume fabrics for the borders and there are 18 different blue scraps for the butterflies! It makes me all kinds of happy seeing so many favourite pieces tossed together like this!

 I'll be adding Butterfly Crossing, to this colourful mix of blocks made for weeks 1-9.   There are fifteen more blocks to make in this sampler before we finish and I am getting so excited to see the blocks together!

Blocks 1-9 in the Sewcial Bee Sampler sew along
 

Thinking about joining the sew along?  It's not too late!  The blocks are great skill builders and Maureen and Sharon are doing a wonderful job of inspiring and cheering us all on.  You will find lots of  helpful tips, too!  Instructions for each block are well written, so it's beginner friendly and for those of us with a bit of experience, we are certainly free to play a bit with things (as I have been doing by making extra pieces several of my in my scrappy versions ;o). Sew along at your own pace, so even if the timing isn't the best for joining in and stitching a block a week; know that you can always download the PDF for each block so you have the information when you are ready to start sewing.


 Pop over to Maureen's blog and Sharon's blog  for all the details!




Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Tiny Patchwork

I tend to hang on to even the tiniest bits of fabric, not always knowing what I will end up making from those scraps, but trusting I will come up with an idea at some point. 
 

Today, as I was sewing up a version of my Terrific Tulip block for a project, I needed some leader/enders. I keep a little dish of triangles trimmed from HST units on my cutting table and decided to stitch them together as my leader/enders.  Pretty soon, I had a little collection sewn up and couldn't resist turning them into a tiny patchwork block by combining them with some handpicked 1.5" squares in my stash.

 
The results?  Too cute for words!  The next step will be deciding whether to turn this block into a pincushion or maybe a zipper pouch. ;o)

Friday, March 31, 2017

Terrific Tulip - Pattern Release!

  I am excited and happy to say that I have a PDF pattern for those of you interested in sewing a Terrific Tulip for Spring!
 

Early this month, I shared a trio of tulip blocks, that I had made from my sketches inspired by a tulip block from author and designer, Nancy MartinSince that time, there have been a couple of modifications to my design, from the initial blocks I shared.  This pattern will show you the method I use for making the block, as well as the fabric amounts needed in a simplified colour scheme. It is written with plenty of step by step diagrams and some handy tips.


Choosing to go scrappy once you have the method and information in hand, is totally possible using my pattern.  The pattern is for making a single block,  so you decide what the finished project will be (a table runner, a mini quilt, a pillow or ???). 

 Grab some fabric, your rotary cutter and regular quilting ruler and get ready to sew a whole bouquet of Terrific Tulip block projects!

 


Huge thanks to my friends and pattern testers Maria (Maja's Paradis) and Amanda Jean (Crazy Mom Quilts) . I appreciate all your help, time and expertise!  I could not have done this without you!!  I can hardly wait to see what each of you will make with your "test" blocks.

P. S. I am working on patterns using alternative versions of my Terrific Tulip block, that will be sewn into finished projects. Stay tuned!

I'm linking up my latest finish with Amanda Jean and friends over at Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Sewcial Bee Sampler - Week # 9

Wedding Ring is the block for this week of the Sewcial Bee Sampler sew along, hosted by Sharon Holland and Maureen Cracknell.   (for the free download to make this block, visit Maureen's or Sharon's blog).
 
Block 9 of 25 is Wedding Ring for the Sewcial Bee Sampler sew along

I've been busy this past week, writing a pattern for my Tulip Blocks, so I guess it's only natural that I stick with the "Spring Theme" and chose green scraps for my version of this week's sew along block. ;o) This block was such a fun one to make and another great opportunity to bust some scraps!  I've been trying to use a fabric only once in a single block, and I was doing just fine with that, until block 9.  I have one low volume fabric appearing twice in this block (so 23 different low volume fabrics used in one block; out of a possible 24), but it's going to stay.😜 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Sewcial Bee Sampler - Week #8

The Sewcial Bee Sampler sew along, hosted by Sharon Holland and Maureen Cracknell is moving right along!   Clay's Choice is the block for this week (for the free download to make this block, visit Maureen's or Sharon's blog).
Block #8 - Clay's Choice

My version is made from my scraps, just like all the previous blocks I have sewn for the sew along.  I decided to have a little extra fun by altering the given block design. Four of the half square triangles units, have each been changed into half a flying goose unit. This change eliminates some seams and allows the opportunity to use some strips of low volume fabrics from my scrap bins, rather than just squares. If you're counting, I've used 13 (+ four more for the border strips) low volume fabrics for my scrappy background - not the most used in one of my versions of the sew along blocks, but the least, either.  Love being able to sew from my scraps to make my blocks!


The blocks are starting to add up!  A total of 25 blocks to sew before combining them into a quilt, so we're only about a quarter of the way there.  That means more scrappy sewing to enjoy!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Sewcial Bee Sampler - Week #7

It's already week seven in the Sewcial Bee Sampler sew along, hosted by Sharon Holland and Maureen Cracknell! Time flies when you're having fun.😉  Dove in the Window is the block for this week (for the free download to make this block, visit Maureen's or Sharon's blog).
 
Block 7 - Dove in the Window

I am having a good time making my version of the blocks in this sew along as scrappy as I want and block seven is a great one for scrap busting!  There's 28 low volume fabrics (no repeats!) used for the background - which does mean that for the block making techniques, I cannot use the multiple method (given in the pattern), for making my flying geese units.😜  I also opted to make the center of the block from four small squares, rather than one large one.  All in the name of making this block as scrappy as possible!🙌


Blocks 1 - 6 for the Sewcial Bee Sampler

I want to encourage any one that is hesitating to take part in the sew along, to join in.  The blocks are great skill builders and Maureen and Sharon are doing a wonderful job of inspiring and cheering us all on, plus giving lots of  helpful tips.  Instructions for each block are well written, so it's beginner friendly and for those of us with a bit of experience, we are certainly free to play a bit with things (as I have been doing by making extra pieces in my scrappy versions ;o). Best of all, you can sew along at your own pace, so even if the timing isn't the best for joining in at this moment, you can always download the PDF for each block so you have the information when you are ready to start sewing.


 Pop over to Maureen's blog and Sharon's blog  for all the details!


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