Category Archives: Quilts

Crafting Together, and a Quilt with a Story

One of the drawbacks of last summer’s move was moving further away from my husband’s family.  Being a plane-ride away from my own family, and being blessed with such wonderful in-laws, it was definitely  a draw-back to move an additional half-hour away.  However, I think we have seen them more this winter than last and it has been wonderful!

With projects to do around both of our houses, my husband declared every other Saturday as “family work day.”  We spend one Saturday a month together at our house, and one Saturday a month together at theirs.  Father and son use the time to help each other with projects around the house (and for that I am so thankful) and we women have been making our way through our piles of crafty projects!

There is something really special about the time women spend together creating.  I love hearing the sound of knitting needles clacking, of sewing machines humming, and I have certainly benefited from my mother-in-law’s help and wisdom.  Sometimes we chat, sometimes we listen to music, sometimes we watch movies, and other times we just sit in the quiet, absorbed in our projects.  And there is something in me that thinks “this is the way life is supposed to be.”

Now that my sweater is complete, I have moved on to spending those Saturdays working through some of my sewing UFOs.  And with that purpose in mind I rediscovered, and finished, this quilt.

Hand Tied Hippie Quilt

And although I do love the front, it is the back that I am particularly enamoured with.

Hippie Quilt 1970s polyester satin back

Isn’t it awesome?  And it is just as soft and smooth and satiny as it looks.  This was a true treasure out of my grandmother’s fabric collection, and along with many of the fabrics I used for the top, probably purchased 40 – 50 years ago.  Sometimes I like to imagine what my grandmother had intended with her purchases.  This is a wildly beautiful print!  But I am kind of glad she never worked it into one of her own sewing projects, because it looks right at home here on this quilt.

So this is how I have been spending the cold winter days (which stubbornly refuse to turn into spring.)  Quilting.  Sewing.  Knitting.  Thinking about my grandmother.  Creating quilts and sweaters and memories woven together.

Do you craft together with others?  What are your favourite winter-day projects?

2012 Finish-A-Long Second Quarter

After a not-so-stellar rate of finishing my UFOs last quarter, I am determined to get more done in the next three months.  In fact, I have promised myself that I will not purchase fabrics for new projects until I finish the old!  (Except for shop items, of course.)

It seems to me that UFOs must multiply in the dark corners of my sewing room, as my pile of projects to choose from seems a lot bigger than I remember!  Oh, well.  It’s always nice to have choices, right?

This quarter I am going to finish:

The Blue Triangle Quilt.  I started this years ago.  It took me over a year to piece the top.  Then I added borders, then I took off the borders, and now it has sat for another year.  The binding and backing are already pieced and ready to go.  I’m hoping the new border fabric I chose works out this time!

My Hippie Quilt!  I couldn’t resist the peace, love, happiness fabric panel, and decided to make it into a quilt by framing it with my grandmother’s vintage fabrics (along with a few others I had on hand.)  And I have visions of backing it in a silky 70s polyester.  Completely untraditional, I know, we’ll see what happens when the time comes.

Blue and Brown strip quilt.  I bought these fabrics on vacation last summer and couldn’t wait to sew them into my first strip quilt!  I got as far as cutting the strips. :)  I’m excited to finish this one!

This last one is a holdover from the first quarter.  I am hoping to finish the hand-quilting this quarter so I can bind it and call it done.  I am still in love with the fact that this quilt is a joint project between my grandmother’s blocks and my own.  It’s definitely a keeper when it’s finished!

It seems I have a lot of sewing to do!  :)  You can see what everyone else is sewing on the Finish-A-Long page.

Another Quilt Finished!

At the moment I have a few too many quilts laying half-finished on my sewing room floor.  And a backlog of other projects that were put on hold during the back-to-school, harvest-the-garden rush.  But now that things are back to normal their usual level of  craziness, I have found a few minutes here and there to finish one of the quilts.

This is what I call a cuddle quilt.  Cotton flannel top, and polar fleece bottom. 

I cut the little 3-inch squares from scraps every time I make a flannel project and then when I have a big enough stack I turn them into a quilt.  This is the first time I have used large squares along with the smaller ones and I like the way it looks. 

It is quilted with a wavy free-motion stitch in purple thread!  I don’t usually like to use colours that really stand out, but I am getting more confident with my quilting and I love the way the purple blends with all of the colours.

The back is pieced from four pieces of fleece.  I really do love a pieced back on a quilt.  It just makes it that much more special. 

The binding is, of course, hand-stitched to the back.  Each time I am sitting for hours with needle and thread I start to wonder just how bad a machine-stitched edge would be???  But I persevere, and in the end I know that this last finishing touch is worth all of the time it takes.  And my grandmother would be proud.

Sew Fun Feature!

I was featured on the Sew Fun blog today!   Eek!  You can check it out here.  And while you are there, be sure to check out the great Sew Fun patterns.  I have sewn them all and highly recommend them.  The directions are easy to follow and I have always been more than happy with the finished product (and been given many compliments when I present them as gifts.)

Have a great long week-end!

Oddysea Quilt Finished!

My charm square quilt is finally finished! 

Of course, I had to make a trip to the fabric store before I could complete it because despite my large stash of fabric I had nothing suitable for the back and binding.  In the end I really love the way the  dark teal sets off all of the other colours.  And the back is a snazzy blue with gold dots (with a really nice sheen.)

I am enjoying free-motion quilting more and more.  It certainly gets easier with each quilt.  Machingers (quilting gloves), a quilting table and a darning foot have all made it so much easier.  Someday I might even work up the nerve to try a real “pattern!”  This time I just created some nice lazy loops all over. 

I realize that these pictures aren’t the best.  If I still had the quilt with me I’d retake them, but this quilt is now for sale at a local store – eek!  I can’t believe that after thinking about it for a couple of years I am now truly selling my sewing (outside of custom orders, that is.)  I hope there are people out there who enjoy buying quilts and pillows as much as I like making them! :)

Oddysea Charm Square Quilt

Yesterday I finished my very first charm square quilt.  The fabric is Oddysea by Moda and I am in love with the rich colours and the fish blocks scattered throughout.  The pattern was made by creating 9-patch squares and then cutting them in half in both directions.  Putting the pieces together after that was a bit like putting a puzzle together – only because I was determined to have all the fish swimming to the sides and all the shells facing the same way.  (a random quilter I am not….someday I should try to put the blocks just wherever they end up…it would be a good exercise for me in letting go…)

Working with charm squares was fun in that it eliminated one cutting step.  However, I was disappointed to find that all of the charm squares were not cut to the exact same size, which did cause problems later on in piecing the quilt.  What I really should have done was re-cut them all to the same size before I began…. but it seemed silly when the reason I bought charm squares was so I wouldn’t have to do more cutting?!  I’m not sure that I would work with charm squares again, unless I cut them myself! :)

I really like the finished top and can’t wait to quilt it and bind it. 

There is a local shop that sells handmade items that has agreed to take some of my quilts.  This will be one of the first ones that I sell.  I am both excited and scared about that prospect!  I have so many ideas of quilts I want to make (and three in progress!) so it will be great to know what to do with them when I am done…but eek!  What if no-one likes them??  The jitters of a new adventure…..

Secret Sewing – Sandcastle Quilt

Click here for my May giveaway!

I am so excited to (finally) be able to share with you my top-secret quilt!

It is the Sandcastle Quilt and Baby Beach Ball from Sew Fun patterns. 

Like all of the Sew Fun patterns it was super-easy to follow and filled with little hints and tips to make your project the best it can be.  I always learn something when I test these patterns – I love the way the circles are made on the beach ball, it made it super easy to get a nice round shape!

This was my second attempt at free-motion quilting and I think I am getting the hang of it.  Although I still think I have a lot to learn, I am really pleased with the way it turned out.

I did a kind of meandering design on the sand part of the quilt and then tried to do “waves” on the blue parts. 

I had fun using up some scraps to make the back too!

If you look closely here at the bottom you will see that I am having trouble with the fabric bunching towards the binding.  I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong – I took it out and did it again and had the same thing happen.  I think I would have to take out the quilting (eek!) and do it again in order to get it to sit right.  I almost did it too, almost took out all that stitching…and then I came to my senses.  (The perfectionism has to end somewhere, right?)   I am sure some little one will love the quilt despite these few lumps.  Hopefully I can get this figured out for the next one!

Overall I am in love with the beachy design and the bright fabrics.  As always, I highly recommend all of the Sew Fun patterns – they really are what the name says they are!  :)     I can’t wait to surprise a lucky mama with this one at the next baby shower! 

Pocket Quilt

Here is one pattern test revealed!  This is the “Pocket Quilt” pattern from Puking Pastilles.    Once again I found her patterns easy to follow and fun to make.

I had so much fun picking out these fabrics.  I had several combinations of colours picked out including girlie pinks, soft-coloured flannels and bright rainbow-coloured solids.  I just love laying out colour combinations and trying to add different fabrics until I find just the right combination.  In the end, these bright somewhat western-themed fabrics made the cut into the final quilt.   The blue rope-patterned fabric  is a remnant of a piece I bought way back when I was teaching preschool and I used it to make a cute cowboy vest for the dress-up corner (I wish I had taken pictures of all the dress-up clothes I made, they were so much fun!).    I love the way it combines with the bandana-patterned red (one of Gran’s fabrics!) and the camping bears and wood grain pieces.  The binding was tricky.  I must have tried almost every piece of fabric I owned before I happened on this brown plaid when I was looking for something else (isn’t that always the way things go?) 

The quilting was done by machine and is all free-motion.  I know it’s not perfect but I think it is some of my best machine quilting yet!   I used the orange thread and the loopy design to mirror the rope pattern on the blue fabric.

And then there is the pocket side!  I used a soft and cosy flannel for the pocket itself.  It’s a very cuddly place to store a favourite stuffie!  (I am thinking I need to make  a horse stuffie to go with this quilt. I think I saw a pattern for one not that long ago on a blog…somewhere….)

Triangle Block Sew-Along

It’s quilting month at Sew, Mama, Sew!   As part of the festivities there is a quilt block sew-along with a new block posted every Monday.  When I first saw this week’s block I did what I always do with projects I want to try – I bookmarked it.  The sad thing is, I have so many projects now bookmarked that I never seem to get around to making any of them.  And no matter how hard I try to organize them in my favourites (folders and sub-folders and sub-folders of my sub-folders) I can never seem to find the tutorial I want when I am looking for it.  (If anyone knows a better way to organize these things PLEASE tell me.  I need some serious help.  Opening my favourites folder is a little like opening the kitchen junk drawer – the very idea of it stresses me out.)

Anyway, all that to say that I decided that instead of bookmarking it, and despite all the half-finished quilts in my sewing room currently, I would do something that I never do – I would make the block Right Now.

And I did!  (Sometimes I even surprise myself!)  I almost got stopped after my visions of a black, white and grey quilt were dashed when I discovered that I have absolutely no plain white in my stash (black, grey and cream just wasn’t going to do it for me.)   But I persevered and I am really happy with the final fabrics I chose.  And all but one of them is from my grandmother’s vast collection.  (yippee!)

So then the fun part.  Cutting the triangles, sewing them into squares, and then playing around with the endless variations of patterns.  This is one of the things I love about quilts.  I once wrote a book about how teachers can use quilting to teach their students math for one of my university classes  and I spent hours hand-drawing the numerous possibilities for each type of block (I’m a geek, I know….)  Here are only a few that my 16 sew-along blocks could create: (pardon the dark photos, it was night when I took these)

Diamonds

Diamonds 2

Triangles - Random

triangles - ordered

Hour Glass

Pinwheels - I love pinwheels.

There is something soothing to me about arranging and rearranging quilt blocks.  I don’t know why I love it, but I do. 

In the end, I chose the random triangles.  I liked the way it kind of dispersed the colour throughout the block.  And I liked that the triangles just got to be themselves, without combining into any other shapes.  Here it is, in it’s finished glory: I can’t wait for next Monday to find out what the next square will be!

Secret Sewing Revealed – Sew Fun Quilt and Plushie

I’ve been pattern-testing again.  Remember this fabric?    Here it is turned into a baby quilt:

And here is my very first pieced back (I wish I could say I planned it that way, but it has more to do with the mental fog I experienced at the fabric store when I forgot to buy packing fabric….why is it that you can have yards and yards of fabric but nothing that matches the particular project you are working on in the length you need?  In the end I’m kind of glad because I really like the way this looks – and that orange fabric – that’s some of Gran’s fabric, so it fits in well with the current project.)

The pattern is called the Baby S’Mores quilt (can’t you see the graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallow?) and I love all the different fabrics and textures in it.  Like all the Sew Fun patterns the instructions were super-easy to follow and the quilt was really fun to make.  I need to work a little on my machine-quilting skills (or maybe I just need to baste it better before I start?), but other than that I am in love with this quilt and I think I’m going to have a hard time parting with this one…

The pattern also includes instructions for this really cute plushie:

It’s kind of a soft blankie and cute marshmallow guy all in one.  Here he is showing us another pose:

Don’t you just want to pick him up and give him a cuddle?

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