Sunday, 15 November 2015

A Finished Quilt - It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like...



It's a finish!  I put the last stitch on my "Not So Quiet Christmas" Quilt yesterday and it is now freshly washed and nicely crinkled!

The inspiration for this quilt was Amanda Jean's (of Crazy Mom Quilt fame) Quiet Christmas Quilt.  In fact, it's more than just an inspiration... I really, really loved her quilt and I wanted something very similar.  Except my low volume stash was not as extensive as Amanda Jean's and therefore, my quilt is a bit more bright - hence the "Not So Quiet" name.

My secondary inspiration was Adrianne's (of On the Windy Side fame) Echino Quilt.  I remember commenting on how much I liked that she had incorporated a few squares made of two - sometimes three - fabrics.  She replied that in fact, it was just the print, and all of these squares were made of a single fabric.  Regardless, an idea was born.  Just because a quilt is made of simple squares doesn't mean I can't piece some of those squares.  A few examples:

That was a great way to minimize waste, and to use every single bit of some well-loved fabric.  Speaking of well-loved fabric, here is my very favourite:

This fabric is the only exception to the rule I set for this quilt:  Christmas colours but no Christmas prints, white, beige, cream, green (including lime-y but not aqua) red (including coral but not orange or pink).  But, oh! those awesome, I just could not leave them out!

For the quilting, I combined meandering with groups of three pebbles, like the holly berries that we use in Christmas decorations.  The back is nothing special, just used up some yardage that was languishing in my stash:

As for the binding, it was not my first choice, but I did not want a scrappy binding, and this was one of the few appropriate fabrics I had in large enough quantity.  It turned out to be the perfect choice!

I love a good quilt roll to showcase binding.  Here are before and after the wash quilt roll pictures:

And for the final shot, another favourite: the hammock picture.  This would have probably looked better with snow in the background, but I am not in a big hurry for the winter to arrive.  I'll settle for fall leaves for now, but I may have to take it out again for a Christmas-sy photo shoot when the snow starts falling.  Just saying.

On that note, it is cold outside, the kids have just put on Christmas music, and we are headed to a turkey dinner with extended family later today.  Despite the absence of snow, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilt's Finish Up Friday and TGIFF hosted by Anja Quilts

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Quick Arm Warmer Tutorial


I am popping in to show off arm warmers that I whipped up in the last 30 minutes.  That includes taking pictures of the "making of" and the most challenging part, taking pictures of the finished product.

Disclaimer:  the product you are about to see is meant to be thrown away, and therefore, the level of care I put in it is not what I would do if I was to keep them.  But why would anyone make arm warmers to throw away, you ask?  Fair question, and the answer is on my other blog, Running Nimble (so named at the suggestion of Jeanette - I still get a kick out of it).

OK, so, those arm warmers...

1 - Start with these dollar store high-knee socks.  Of course, you can use better quality ones, if you are going to keep them, or - this opens up a whole world of possibilities... sweater arms.

 2 - Cut the end just where the toe seam is.

3 - Zigzag the part you just cut.  You want it tight enough so it won't fray, but stretch the opening so it will fit over your arm.

4 - Cut a small opening at the top, front of the sock (opposite the heel)... Edited to add: for the thumb.

... like this:

 5 - Zigzag that opening as well.  It's a bit tricky, I could not take pictures because I needed both hands.

Now, what to do with this leftover bit?

6- Why, make it into a little bow, of course!  Twist and Pinch it like this...

... and attach to the top, side of the sock with a wide zigzag & nil stitch length.

7 - Repeat with the other sock, and you have cute arm warmers!

Now, you're ready to stretch the sleeveless running / cycling season for just a little while longer!


Sunday, 4 October 2015

Nothing Like a Deadline...

There's nothing like a deadline to force a girl back to her sewing machine.

I have been in a bit of a slump lately, and a birthday invitation for one of my kids was just what I needed to get back into action.

The party was today, so in typical "me" fashion, I started at 9:00 pm last night.  No time for fancy patchwork  there (plus, quite frankly, if I really feel like sewing something fancy, it will not be for a 10 year old boy).

I really like the vibrant orange against the black and white, and the bold letters.  The layout wasn't planned... I cut my letters way too big and I did not feel like starting over again.  I liked the look so I finished it before I changed my mind!  The raw edge appliqué also serves as part of the quilting, and for the background, I used this:

Well, that wasn't so bad!  except that the birthday party was for two kids, not one!

After much debate, I used one of my "comma" fabrics and some bright blue.  I had planned on using black thread, but I was not too happy with the contrast so I went for cream instead which adds a little bit of definition to the letters.

For the quilting, I went with simple straight lines (well, maybe not that straight) but I forgot to quilt the piece before I appliquéd the letters.  What do you do in such a case?  If you notice, the lines do not go through behind the name.  I just turned around every time I hit a letter, and tried to continue the line on the other side, like this:

More "Comma" fabric for the back...

And here they are together:

I always find it hard to choose fabrics for boys, especially as they get older.  My stash just does not have that much fabric that is appropriate and that will stay relevant for many years.

Seems like I found my happy combination with black &white and a bold colour.  Big thumbs up from my own kids and hopefully the little recipients like it too.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Hot Christmas in July (a mixed quilting/refashioning post)

Today was the July Sew-In of my Guild.  I was only able to go for a couple hours so I needed a low-fuss project with not too many moving parts.  The weather was on the cool side, so I though a little Christmas quilting would be appropriate...  Remember this Christmas-sy top?

Well it's now all sandwiched an pinned and I started quilting a couple days ago.  I thought it would be a great project to take with me.

There was only one problem, though.  I was dressed for cool temperatures but our sewing room felt more like the beach (minus the sun, the sand and the water).  Thankfully my back-up project was not a quilt, but a re-fashion I had been meaning to do ever since I started following Gillian's blog, the Refashionista (go see her blog even if you are only interested in quilting... it's worth it!).  Anyhoo, rather than buy ugly clothes from second hand stores, I figured I might as well work with my own unloved closet.

Today's project is a dress from my early 2000s April Cornell period (anyone remember La Cache stores?  I used to love these stores...) I have not worn this for years, yet I could not bear to give it away.    Here is the before picture:

This is so 2003...

Yikes!  This dress is big, ill-fitting, does not do anything for my shape, and although I like the colour, it's not particularly good for my skin tone.

My plan was very simple:  take in the sides a little, and chop it to make a top.    I would love to show you a picture of the big chop, but whoever tried to take the picture did not actually press on the button... Ironically one of the reasons I waited that long to work on this dress is I wanted help in documenting the how-to...  Well, at least I have this one... thanks Linda!

Notice I am wearing long sleeves?  Man that was hot!

So, one chop and one hem later, I had a new outfit for a hot sewing day!  The whole process probably took 20 minutes...

Don't be fooled, though, it was still cool outside...

I wasn't entirely sure about the angle and the pointy side, but my top got rave reviews from my guild mates and I have to say, it's comfy!  The colour is still not the best for me, but there is less of it, and I think it looks pretty sharp.

And so, dressed with my weather appropriate outfit, I enjoyed working on the Christmas quilt for an hour or so.

Anyone else intrigued by re-fashioning / upcycling? 

PS: to check out my other upcycling / refashioning projects, check the "Upcycling" tab at the top of the page.  It's a work in progress...

Monday, 6 July 2015

T-Shirts to Skirts: the Upcycling Edition

I set aside the quilting yesterday afternoon, dug out the old serger, and transformed three t-shirts and a nightgown into little girls skirts.  So.  Much.  Fun.  It helped that there was already red thread on the serger.  I can't tell you how much I dislike threading that thing...

So, this is what I started with:

I wished I had thought of unfolding the t-shirts, but you get the idea

2 hours and 27 seams later, I have skirts for my girl and her two best friends, twins, who have a birthday coming up.  Here's the first one...

The red one for little Miss L.

And the second one:  goes well with it, but not identical... just like the twins.

The blue one for little Miss O.

As for the third one, it's for my daughter and it's a mish mash of what I had leftover.  The t-shirts actually did not yield that much fabric because they were covered in sponsor logos which I did not want to include.  I worked with what I had, and I have to say, it worked out all right!

This back is kind of interesting.  It was the side of the nightgown, which had a slit and a little ribbon with a heart.   I am glad I thought of keeping it.

And here they are all together.  Not bad for two hours of work and recycled materials, eh?

Now to go make one for myself...

Saturday, 4 July 2015


It's swapping time again!  Last Winter, my guild, Maritime Modern Quilt Guild, had a successful zippered pouch swap with MQG Victoria.  This time, we are swapping pillows with the Edmonton MQG.

Here's mine:

It was hard to get a good picture today.  I know it's kind of weird to take a picture on the the deck, but this is the best I could do inside:

I enjoyed quilting the pebbles but the amount of time it took reminded me never to attempt quilting pebbles on a full size quilt !

I used some leftover bits on the back and inserted a small piece of batting behind the colour bar, and quilted just a few more pebbles.  The rest of the envelope back is plain and unquilted.

 I used velcro for the closure and used permanent ink to include some details.

I hope the recipient likes it.  I am looking forward to receiving my own pillow!

Have you ever participated in a swap?

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Happy - a Finished Quilt

It's a finish! I have not been quilting a lot lately, but every rare minute I have had to sew was spent on this quilt.

Because I don't make that many quilts, I am pretty selective when it comes to giving them away.  Not everyone who deserves a quilt will get one but I can't think of anyone more quilt-worthy than the recipient of this one.

As I mentioned in my last post, this quilt is for a very special lady who works at my kids' school and who is moving this summer.  For the last three years, she has been a strong presence in one of my kids' life, and I wanted to express my gratitude by giving her what amounts to a permanent hug.

The quilt is a generous 64" x 80".  It is made of twenty 16-patch blocks that finish at 16".  There are no real modern fabrics in there, in fact, there are quite a lot of oldies.  I was focused on colour rather than pattern or style.  I started with the three primary colours, then added the secondary colours but found that purple just wasn't working, so I stuck to cheerful fabrics in yellow, blue, red, green, and orange. Lots of florals, lots of dots, some stripes or gingham. Basically, things that make me smile.

I quilted loops in a bright yellow thread.  I am glad I did not go for white.

The Back

I love pieced backings.  I love the look of them, I love using scraps and leftover fabrics, and the fact that you can do whatever you want (well, technically you can do that with the front too).  What I don't like, however, is the amount of creative juice it usually take for what is "just a back".  Not the case here.  I did not overthink it, and it came together like a charm. Of all the pieced backs I have ever made, this was the easiest and the most fun to make. 

Of course, while proudly staring at the quilt back, I could not help but notice some unintentional puckers.  Oh well.  Despite its imperfections, it was made with a lot of love.

Here's a picture taken after the wash.  Can you see the texture?

All nice and crinkled!

Of course, I couldn't resist a nice big quilt roll...


  I tried a few pictures of the folded quilt but, nah...  I'll get back to quilt rolls.


And I include this next one, just because.

How about that quilt holder ???

Goodbyes can be bittersweet, but I am looking forward to last day of school to give the quilt to its new owner.  I know she will appreciate it, and it gives me great joy to be able to thank her that way.

 Made with love and gratitude.
Linking up to TGIFF, hosted this week by Adrienne at Chezzetcook Modern Quilts and to Finish Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.