Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Some Shopping, and A Lovely Year of Finishes! know that fabric fast I've been on for months, and months, (and months)?

About a week ago, I fell off the wagon...maybe you heard the thud!

I blame my Mom. She was leaving on a holiday, so I offered to drive her to the airport. Well, I wasn't going to drive all the way to Grande Prairie (a four hour round trip) without stopping at the quilt shop, was I? See how it was all her fault?? Ha!

It started innocently enough. I found a remnant (on sale!) I thought would complement the goldfish fat quarter in my stash...

The fabric on the left made me think of a fish tank!

Standing in the seductive sale section, the wheels started turning. 

The voice in my head pointed out that my stash is lacking light values. It also pointed out that fat quarters were on for $2 a piece, so it would be a shame to leave them behind!

Mostly fat quarters...the bottom two are remnants

Once that happened, the rest was easy! (It really is a slippery slope, isn't it?) The entire store begged to be examined, so off I went.

one meter cuts

"Maybe these would work with the goldfish, too?", whispered the voice in my head!

What a relaxing and enjoyable afternoon...for me! I think I drove the clerk crazy. She was anxious to cut into every bolt I pulled for consideration. Not happening. I'm still patting myself on the back for resisting the urge to buy everything in sight!

Time to share my May Finish @ A Lovely Year of Finishes

It really is lovely to set a goal and finish one thing every single month of the year! 

My goal for May was my Day & Night table runner. I've already posted about finishing it HERE, but since I'm linking up with Melissa @ Bittersweet Designs and Shanna @ Fiber of All Sorts, please be patient with seeing it once more!

Here it is BEFORE quilting:

Here it is AFTER quilting:

I'm so happy with how this turned out!

To see process pictures, please click on the Day and Night label in my side bar. Previous posts will appear in reverse order (newest to oldest).

Thanks again to Melissa & Shanna for hosting a fun and productive quilt along!

Linking up with:
A Lovely Year of Finishes, @ Bittersweet Designs and Fiber of All Sorts
Let's Bee Social, @ Sew Fresh Quilts

Try, Learn, Grow!

Comments are welcome, and will be answered by email if your address is available in your profile. If not, and you'd like a response, please leave your email with your comment. Thanks for looking around!

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Crazy 'bout Curves!

A number of years ago I discovered Crazy Curves templates by Elisa's Backporch Design...and went crazy with them, making quilt after quilt!

I developed a workshop, and the technique became popular here. It really is a marvelous thing to sew curves that fit together perfectly with no need to clip. It also doesn't hurt that a twin sized quilt can be rotary cut and ready to piece in sixteen minutes! (True story, using the 7" templates).

The larger blocks were made using the 7 inch templates, and the smaller ones were made using the 3.5 inch set.

The sample stayed at the quilt shop for years, only seeing the light of day when we would schedule another workshop. It was handy to be able to show the seams, so it was never quilted.

Last year the quilt shop owner retired and, before closing the shop, had a sample sale. Since I'd made it, I was particularly fond of this sample. I snapped it up as soon as it hit the rack.

It's finally time to load it up!

When I first started long arm quilting I learned to baste the edges of a quilt top by wiggling on and off the fabric. Doing so helps control excess fabric at the edge of the quilt, and the quilt also lies flatter when it comes off the frame.

Honestly, it didn't seem to make a difference when using pantographs, so I got out of the habit. Straight stitching is faster, so that's what I started doing.

"Wiggle" stitches baste the top in place
The last couple of quilts I've done for myself have been super densely stitched. I'd basted with a straight stitch. There is a difference. The straight stitches did not "shrink up" like the rest of the quilt, so the edges wanted to wave.

Wiggle stitches allow the fabric to remain flexible so the edges will "shrink" as quilting becomes denser. Back to wiggle stitching for me!

Caught an evening ray of sunshine coming in the window!

On Facebook, Matt Sparrow (Sparrow Studioz) showed a circle quilt featuring a fantastic quilting design, so I shamelessly poached the idea for my quilt! (Thanks, Matt!)

This design quilted up quickly. I can see where I would pay more attention next time, but - good golly - I'm just happy this UFO is almost finished!

Spotted on my way to the Gnome House today:

Shrubbery in bloom

Apple blossom 1

Apple blossom 2

I love my backyard commute in the spring!

Linking up with:
Show off Saturday, at Sew Can She
Fabric Frenzy Friday, at Fort Worth Fabric Studio
Whoop Whoop Friday!, at Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Try, Learn, Grow

Comments are welcome. Thanks for looking around!

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Quilting, Cats, and Humble Pie

This yellow and black beauty filled my ten-foot frame without an inch to spare. Even a quarter-inch would have been too much!

103" x 115"
It ate up almost two thousand meters of thread!

"Petal Pushers" panto by Urban Elementz
This is the biggest quilt I've ever tackled.

Taking it off the frame after quilting.
I think it turned out beautifully!

And what a great colour combo.

Fresh off the Frame!
It's going to be a graduation gift for Jay's niece. I think it's a super nice gift!
Ignoring the fact that we are almost the same age, I asked if Jay would be my Auntie.... but she said no.
Can't blame a girl for trying, though, right?

After all that quilting, I felt like baking. 

Pinterest yielded a tempting Blueberry Streusel Muffin recipe, so I dove right in. The berries bled when I mixed them into the batter, turning it a pretty purple!

Ready for the oven.

Ready for the taste buds!
These are THE BESTEST blueberry muffins EVER! If you feel like trying the recipe, you can find it at Sally's Baking Addiction. That Sally knows her stuff! Scrumptious!

Now, How 'Bout Some Humble Pie?

As I was browsing Pinterest yesterday, I came across a pin of Irish Lass...MY Irish Lass!!! Someone had visited my blog and pinned one of my quilts! It was such a surprise to see it there, and I felt quite honoured.

For a minute.

Until a friend pointed out that her stupid cat pictures get re-pinned all the time....Ha!

Still, I'm pleased that someone thought enough of my work to want to save it. :-) And, of course cat pictures get re-pinned. Isn't that what the internet is for?

Linking up with: 
Let's Bee Social, at Sew Fresh Quilts
WIP Wednesday, at Freshly Pieced Modern Quilts
I Quilt Thursdays, at Pretty Bobbins
Needle and Thread Thursday, at My Quilt Infatuation

Try, Learn, Grow!

Comments are welcome. Thanks for looking around!

Friday, 16 May 2014

Friday Finish!

Hooray!!! "Day & Night" is officially FINISHED!!!

In my last post, the background and borders were done and I was pondering how to fill the stars. In the end, I chose to use a back-and-forth filler in the orange star blades, leaving the darker blades unquilted. I like how they pop and create a 'windmill' effect.

I also like the idea of quilting a traditional block with a modern twist...a little trick I learned from the brilliant Judi Madsen! Day & Night is the first in a a series of eight UFOs I plan to custom quilt using this approach.

Waaaaayyyy back when I made the top, I'd also prepared a traditional binding to go with it. I'm glad I did because the fabric matches the quilt - but it also limited my binding options:
  1. I could bind in the traditional manner, hand stitching the final thanks.
  2. I could apply the binding by machine as in this post, BUT... I'd lose all my feather tips into the seam allowance...not great.
  3. I could try something new...YES! *fist pump*

Here's to trying something new!!!

I went ahead and stitched the binding to the FRONT of the quilt as if it would be hand stitched. Then I dug out my Roxanne's Glue-Baste-It and...well...glued the binding into place on the back of the quilt.

Gluing binding to the BACK of the quilt
Roxanne's glue bonds securely in about ten seconds. I worked in sections, gluing and finger pressing the fabric into place.

Once the binding was glued, I stitched it down from the FRONT of the quilt. My stitch-in-the-ditch foot helped me stay in the groove where the stitches would be less noticeable. I matched top and bobbin thread to the quilt.

Stitching the binding down from the FRONT of the quilt.

The finished binding is very tidy on the front...

Binding, FRONT view

 ...and the back.

Binding, BACK view

Even though it is tidy, there is too much fabric extending beyond the stitching on the back. If I were to do this again (which I will!), I would make the binding strip narrower....maybe 2 1/4 inches instead of 2 1/2? It will take some experimentation, but I'll figure out a pleasing size.

55" x 20"

One down, seven to go! I wonder which UFO will be the next to grab my attention?

I've decided to join the fun and enter this quilt into the Small Quilts category of the Blogger's Quilt Festival at Amy's Creative Side.
Spring '14 Blogger's Quilt Festival -

To see this amazing online quilt show, hop on over and enjoy!

Also linking up with:
Whoop Whoop Friday!, at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Fabric Frenzy Friday, at Fort Worth Fabric Studio
A Stitch in Time May Finish, at Such a Sew and Sew
May Finishes
Finish it up Friday, at Crazy Mom Quilts 

Try, Learn, Grow!

Comments are welcome. Thanks for looking around!

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Quilting Day & Night

...the table runner, not 'round the clock!

I've filled the negative space around the "stars" and, as predicted, like it better and better as more thread is added. Can there ever be too much quilting? I think not!

Filling the negative space

I marked guidelines with washable fabric markers, switching back and forth from a white marker on the darker fabric to a blue one on the lighter fabric.

Marking guidelines
Now that the background and borders are finished, I will fill the stars...but how?

Background and borders are done.
Now what?
I'd planned to use random fillers in each star section, but now that idea doesn't feel right. I'm afraid it would muddle the graphic nature of the piecing and the stars would get lost. Hmm.

Two things I know for sure:
  1. This quilt cannot handle any more swirly designs, and 
  2. I can't take any more ruler work! So there!
I think a back and forth, straight-line filler might do the trick. I'll draw out a few variations before deciding for sure.

In other news, Amy's dino stuffie is finished!

Her nephew, Holden, loves Angry Birds, so we think he'll get a kick out of the fabric.


Aren't I adorable?

Spring is sprung, and it's time for yard work in this part of the world.

My first chore of the season was to rip down and rebuild a brick wall that wraps around a raised patio and acts as a planter. The wall had settled over the winter and had a distinct lean to it!

Yikes! Leaning wall of impending disaster.
I ran into a nest of ants along the way, which was rather exciting for me as well as for them! Yuck!

De-construction in progress

I'm happy to say the fix took only six-and-a-half hours from start to finish. It seemed like a good idea for the first hour....

It would have taken longer, but my husband found me and took pity. He helped for the last 45 minutes...and was I grateful!

Level and sturdy once more

To erase that ugly memory, let's look at Day & Night again. I've only about 50 pictures to choose from! Ha!

Yup. That's better!

Linking up with:
Anything Goes Mondays, at Stitch by Stitch
Show and Tell Tuesday, at i have to say
Linky Tuesday, at Freemotion by the River
Fabric Tuesday, at Quilt Story
Let's Bee Social, at Sew Fresh Quilts
WIP Wednesday, at Freshly Pieced
Needle and Thread Thursday, at My Quilt Infatuation
I Quilt, at Pretty Bobbins

Try, Learn, Grow!

Comments are welcome. Thanks so much for looking around!

Friday, 9 May 2014

No Seam Ripper Allowed!

Thanks to another busy week, my "Day & Night" table runner is not progressing very quickly. Funny how things don't get done unless you do 'em, hey? (and that is how a Canadian uses "eh" to end a sentence!)

Stitching outlines for fillers.

For this project, I've decided to leave the seam ripper alone (*gasp*) and ignore the little imperfections in my work.  Getting into the flow of the quilting is more important to me than perfection on this piece.

I'm still practicing control with tiny motifs.
The circles are a quarter inch across.
Typically, the more thread I add to something, the better I like it. My plan is to quilt this to death!

Meet Amy! Amy is my older son's girlfriend. She's making her first stuffie...a dinosaur for her nephew.

It takes me about 15 hours to make a dino, start to finish. With two of us, it is going a bit faster, but not much. Stitching the feet and attaching the legs is very fiddly work. As Amy said, "This is more work than making a baby quilt!"

Dino parts
He's gonna be stinkin' cute...I'll show you when we're done.

Oh, and just so he doesn't feel left out, here's my son, Brandt!

Chillin' on a hot afternoon last summer

Last night I made a couple of green modern slabs at our modern bee. It feels good to make a dent in my scraps. Next time I'm going for hot colours!

15 inch "slabs"

These are my Mom's mini-slabs. She is taking a different approach, planning a little garden-art piece. Aren't the spiders perfect for that?

Hope you are having a lovely week.

Oh! That reminds me...I won another linky party prize! My husband says I should go buy a lottery ticket and win that, too. Ha!

Melissa and Shanna host A Lovely Year of Finishes. Each participant commits to ONE finish every month, linking up once to set the goal, and once to show the finish. I am tickled to have won a pattern download from Bittersweet Designs!

I'm going to choose Dizzying Diamonds. Fun!

Thank you, Melissa & Shanna!

Linking up with:

I Quilt Thursdays, at Pretty Bobbins
Needle and Thread Thursday, at My Quilt Infatuation
Whoop Whoop Friday, at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Fabric Frenzy Friday, at Fort Worth Fabric Studio

Try, Learn, Grow!

Comments are welcome. Thanks so much for looking around!

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Family First, then May Goals

My attention was elsewhere last week, so not a single stitch was made. 

Instead, I headed to the city to care for my son, Derrick, after he was sedated for some dental work.

Out for a meal together when I arrived in the's coming!
He had only a couple of days to heal before leaving for a three month sojourn in South Korea (with a side trip to Cambodia).

We also discovered that he needed another immunization prior to leaving, so he ended up with a sore jaw and a sore arm!

Why South Korea? To visit his girlfriend, of course!

Since August, Brynne has been teaching English in Korea. Before she left, I'd made them coordinating minky pillowcases to cuddle.

Brynne had spent the summer with us prior to leaving for Korea. This was her first visit to Canada from the States, so a few local adventures were in order!

First ferry ride, ever!
A floating platform maneuvered by a tug is a lovely way to cross the Peace River on a sunny day.

Camping in the rain - and still smiling!

Feeding time at Pipestone Creek!

From prey to predator - BEHIND YOU, DERRICK!!!

Ice cream cones at Dunvegan Gardens.

Three months will fly by for those two...they have such fun together!

My May Goals:

1. Finish the Day and Night table runner currently on the frame: this is my ONE goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes.

Not much to see yet...just a bunch of ditching.

2. Do something with at least one of these shaving cream prints:

3. Decide which Library Project to tackle next, and get started!
I've already knocked off numbers three and 4, so have two choices left.

...AND, I'll keep dragging this one back onto the list until it's finished:

4. Dill piece.

Trouble is, there is an unspoken list in my head, too. The dill piece tends to get bumped every time I turn around!

I may take a few of these detours:

  • start my Guild challenge - a River Project
  • modern scrappy slabs - make more! (see some in this post) I'd like to put a top together and then practice doing an all-over feather motif when I quilt it.
  • scrappy bee blocks a la Jan-Michael - make more! (like this)
  • reorganize my wet room!!! This has been in my head since January. Maybe it's time! 
  • Spring is trying to arrive, which means I need to be outside cleaning and preparing to plant my garden, too. Our growing season is so short, it is a crime to ignore it!
  • quilt my Kool Kaleidoscope project

Oh, how I wish there were two of me!!

Linking up with:

A Lovely Year of Finishes, at Bittersweet Designs & Fiber of All Sorts
Anything Goes Mondays, (at Bobbins & Bullets this week - the link will take you)
Show and Tell Tuesday, at i have to say
Linky Tuesday, at Freemotion by the River

Try, Learn, Grow!

Comments are welcome. Thanks so much for looking around!