Saturday, January 28, 2012


Last week, we had a cold snap and some snow; as a result, walks for the doggies were quite abbreviated for a few days. Saturday morning, however, it was a different world out there. Most of the snow had melted, exposing the grass and ground - highly interesting for scent-oriented dogs like beagles.

(pardon the low quality cell phone photo)

Husband: "Lucy sure took her time this morning, she was sniffingeverything  and kept stopping"
Me: "Yeah..."
Husband: "Kind of like you in a quilt store" (laughs heartily because he thinks this is pretty funny)
Me: "It would be weird if I smelled the bolts of fabric"

Looks to me like Lucy doesn't mind one bit if I check out everything in the store, as long as it makes a nice "bankey" for her!


Friday, January 27, 2012

Still Swooning

I had a spurt there where I managed to complete one Swoon block a day; I haven't quite kept up the pace for the last few days, but I am up to five blocks completed. This means I am over half way to completing the required number of blocks, which is great progress.

Block #4 is Central Park by Kate Spain and Erin McMorris for 
Free Spirit (I think!).

Block #5 is Kei Honeycomb and...more Central Park. I didn't intend for this to be a Central Park quilt. Altogether, I believe six of the 18 fat quarters used in this quilt do come from that line. The fabric which inspired my theme is from the Central Park line (haven't produced a block with it yet) so it makes sense that I ended up with quite a few prints from that line in this project. I tried to avoid duplicating prints, but I confess, I ended up using one print twice, just in two different colours.

Block #6 is cut and I've been assembling and trimming HST's on a relaxing Friday evening. It's quite dark tonight, in fact, it has been quite dark all week. Even with good work light, I think it's time to shut the light off in the sewing room for the evening.

I'm looking forward to a nice weekend; hope you are too.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012


"Ohhh...check it out. Mom finished another one..."

Yaaaaaaawn. "It's gotta be time for a nap by now."

"Excuse me, I'm trying to catch some 
beauty sleep here."

"I'm thinkin' won't be getting this back 
any time soon."

What Miss Bonnie is trying to say is this is Winter Sherbet, my third finish of the year (or my first project totally completed from start to finish in 2012!). The fabric is Sherbet Pips by Aneela Hooey for Moda and the Pattern is Piece of Cake {2} by Camille Roskelley over at Thimbleblossoms. It was a fast and easy layer cake project I had purchased from FQS last year. I wanted something winter-like now that all the Christmas decorations are gone; the colours work for Valentine's Day too, don't you think?


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Swoon - block #3

Up next, the Malibu Barbie block! The fabrics are another Central Park print by Kate Spain and Kei Honeycomb. I really like those Kei Honeycomb fabrics. I admit, they make me a bit dizzy if I look at them too long, but the colours are always great and they play so well with lots of other fabrics. As for the Malibu Barbie reference, circa 1977 or thereabouts I had a Malibu Barbie. I remember she came dressed in a bright aqua bathing suit and came with an golden yellow towel. Her flesh had the orange hue we used to get from the early generation self-tanning creams (anybody remember Coppertone QT?) I was admiring how well the colours went together as I was making the HST's and was just struck with the image of Malibu Barbie.

It takes about three hours to make each block, including the time spent cutting the fabrics. It probably doesn't take everyone quite that long but I'm not really moving all that quickly on them and I do wander off to the coffee pot now and again. I have really reverted back to some long-abandoned sewing/quilting practices, like pressing seams open instead of to one side, and using pins to align everything. The result is I think my piecing is better for it so it is worth the extra time. 

The pattern calls for sashing between the blocks. I'm thinking I might use something that contrasts with the Kona Snow I am using as background. I discovered a new, solid grey I really like by Moda. It is a Bella Solid and the colour is Etchings Charcoal. It is a warm, smoky colour that I think I might adopt as an alternative go-to neutral. I have this crazy notion to bind this quilt with something purple, such as this Melody Miller print. I think it would be a great contrast to the fabrics in the blocks. At three hours per block and six more blocks to go, I have a bit more time to think it over.

The sun is shining this weekend and the snow is melting quickly. We had a few days of -36 temperatures so +7 feels like spring. I'm loving it!


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Swoon - block #2

The project I worked on for Friday Night Sew In last night was my next Swoon block. I'm happy with how it turned out. The fabrics in this one are Henna Garden by Sandi Henderson 
(I really love those prints!) and Central Park by Kate Spain.

Each block is made up of 61 pieces and is 24" finished. It is not a difficult pattern but it does take some time to get everything lined up nicely. I've been cutting the fabrics one block at a time so that the cutting didn't become one large, monotonous chore.

Thank you for the nice comments on my blog posts and projects so far. I am so excited to be part of the blogging community and your encouragement really hits the spot.

Wishing everyone a good Saturday.


Friday, January 20, 2012

Swoon - block #1

I finished my first Swoon block last night and I am very pleased. When I grow into a better photographer I'll know how to get a photo that captures how pretty fabrics are but for now, here is what my block looks like:

The fabrics are Verna and Central Park, both by Kate Spain for Moda (total coincidence, didn't plan it like that) and the background is Kona Snow, which I have been buying in large pieces, of late.

Take a look at the Swoon-a-long group on Flickr if you are looking for some inspiration. There are some great looking blocks over there.

I'm going to have a Friday Night Sew-In for a few hours. I hope you're spending the evening doing something you enjoy, too.


Monday, January 16, 2012


My second finish of the year! Technically, it was mostly complete in 2011 but I didn't count it as a finish then because it wasn't completely done (I'm a bit anal that way). The pattern for this quilt is Open Season by Carrie Nelson. It is from her book Schnibbles Times Two. If you aren't familiar with the book or the concept, Carrie took some of her wildly popular Schnibbles patterns (which use charm packs) and provided directions for enlarged versions, using layer cakes. I happened to score a bundle of her first fabric line for Henry Glass, Fresh Palette, and used that to make the quilt. It didn't transpose nice and clean so I supplemented the missing pieces with coordinating solids from my Kona stash. I am really happy with how it turned out; the longarm quilter did a nice job. I made a pair of coordinating pillowcases to match and the whole lot is going to be packaged up and sent to a very special friend who has been having more than her fair share of challenges. The quilt reminds me of warm, spring day where the flowers are emerging from their melting blanket of snow - an image of reslience and a reminder that even the most delicate among us have 
energy and strength to survive.

I had some help getting this one finished. My daughter's cat assumed his very necessary role as official household quilt tester in the days the quilt was out, awaiting me to finish sewing down the binding. While I do think his look is one of approval, I'm quite certain he is casting a wary eye towards the beagles, who are often just as anxious to get snuggled up with a blanket.

It is -23 outside right now. Settling in for the night with a quilt sounds like a plan to me.

Happy Monday.


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Sandwich shop

Sorry to mislead you, but this post isn't a review of some great lunch restaurant (although, that would be fun to do sometime). It's about how I spent my morning. My husband is a finish carpenter - he installs all the trim, doors, mantles, and railings in new homes and other construction. He does a lot of custom work as well, such as building cabinetry or other types of built-in furniture, like entertainment units. To do this, he needs a shop space. Our home is a modest size townhome with a single garage and not very conducive to the kind of work he does, so he rents a shop in an industrial building in town.

In his shop, he has built a large table for assembling various things on and for whatever else he might choose to use it for. The table is 4' x 8' and the legs are fairly tall. The top is smooth and the edges are all finished and sanded. It is the perfect place for me to make a quilt sandwich! Even better, he has a crate full of clamps which I use to secure the various layers to the table. The shop is dusty, but not dirty. It only takes a quick minute to clean the table to the point where I'm not worried about putting my precious quilt top on it.

I really am thankful to have a space like this to go to. We have laminate floors through most of our home and the safety pins I use to baste my quilt would make a scratched up mess of the finish in short order. Ditto with something like a dining room table. I used to bring my big cutting mat to the table but it was still a challenge to secure the layers nice and flat. These clamps are awesome (I told him he can buy more of those any time he wants!) and hold everything very securely. I just dump out my pins and get to it. The fact that the table is fairly tall is great for me because I have a bit of height as well.

I was able to spend time this afternoon quilting this one. I really struggled with my machines (yes, read plural) but it is finished and with each project, my machine quilting improves a little. I do like to send the big quilts out to the longarm machine quilter, but this one was fairly manageable. I'll hopefully have pictures soon.

Wishing everyone a good weekend.


Friday, January 13, 2012

Swoon Along

Last year, I started seeing quilts made with Camille's Swoon pattern and thought how much I really like it and, in fact, wouldn't mind having it on my own bed. Of all the quilts I have made through the years I have yet to make one to put on the very bed I sleep in. I think it's time.

The pattern is available as a PDF download. I'm so glad designers and online shops are embracing this concept. For starters, I like the idea of not consuming more paper and plastic typical of most patterns. But most of all, I like how fast an electronic pattern gets here because you know how it is, when you decide you just need to make something, it's hard to wait for the goods to arrive.

I ordered my Swoon pattern several months ago and it's been sitting in a folder, awaiting my attention. Prior to Christmas, I pulled several fabrics with the idea of making it for a family member who had gotten married the previous year. Over Christmas, I learned she has taken up quilting of late and her Facebook shows me she is doing just fine making quilts on her own. Right about when her photos started turning up online, Katy at I'm a Ginger Monkey announced a Swoon Along. That's right, a sew-along centred on Swoon! I decided my niece is going to get along just fine without a quilt from me, so I'm taking the plunge and swooning along with the others and in the end, I'll have a quilt for my bed! It takes 18 fat quarters (or the equivalent) plus background to make this quilt.

My choices are inspired by the fabric at the bottom of the stack. It is a multi-colour print from Kate Spain's Central Park line which was out about this time last year. There are a few coordinates from that line in this stack and the rest are ones I pulled from my stash. I think it will come together nicely. I've washed and pressed all my fabrics - let the cutting begin!

I'll keep you posted on my project. The weekend is here and hopefully I will find some time to work on this. The forecast is for snow and cold; I don't want to go outside and since I don't have to, I'm thinking I could make a little progress. Should I say I'm going swooning? That sounds a little sketchy. Instead, I'll say I plan to enjoy happy hours creating - I hope you can,too.

Happy weekend!


Monday, January 9, 2012


I pulled out some scraps for my Sew Scraps Along project, inspired by Jodi's blog over at Pleasant Home. I was feeling pretty conservative so I decided 
I'd pull out all my Fig Tree scraps and work with just those. 
Here is what I came up with:

In case you are wondering, that is a US postal service medium flat rate box full of scraps. I had several pieces leftover from an older jelly roll and four unused charm packs in addition to the scraps. When I got them all pressed it didn't turn out to be as many as I thought it would be. I think my scrap project will end up being a table runner, but I could use a spring one and the colours lend themselves well, so that is just fine by me. 

I have also decided not to cut into the charm packs; 
I have two charm packs each of two different lines, which is easily enough for a quilt.  I trimmed up all my scraps and tossed away anything that couldn't 
be cut into at least a 2 1/2" square.

Making that foray into my scrap pile left me feeling justified enough to cut out another project! I had a kit which I had purchased last year which I think has a bit of a wintry theme. I'm thinking it might be a nice one to have out in January and February while we wait and hope for spring. I made some pretty good progress on it tonight and with luck, might be able to get a picture 
in the next few days.

Hoping your Monday was a good one.


Sunday, January 8, 2012

First finish of the year!

The first week of the new year brings a finished project, already. It isn't anything big but I am pleased with how it turned out. Last summer, I saw a tutorial to make a tumbler pillow over on the Fat Quarterly blog. It looked like a quick project and I have plenty of scraps, so I gave it a try. I made one for my daughter-in-law using the scraps from her wedding quilt. I do not have the Go Baby! Cutter shown in the tutorial but it was easy to make my own template using the cardboard pieces that come on the back of a charm pack. I put two layers of the cardboard together, stapled (pretty low tech operation here) them and they work great. I just trace the pattern onto the back of my scraps and cut using a rotary cutter and small ruler.

I have been working on a big quilt for one of my girls for some time now and she may be getting a bit weary waiting for me to finish. She has been very patient and not said much as I put other projects ahead of hers. She has been redecorating her room around the colour scheme in the quilt and I wanted to give her a little something to help her keep the faith. She wants to have lots of throw cushions on her bed so I thought it might be nice to take some of the scraps from her quilt and make her one of these tumbler pillows. I did cut the pieces out before Christmas and started sewing a few together, but other projects, activity, and my family got in the way of getting it done. I pulled it out yesterday and finished it up for her today. 

She really likes it. I could have done a better job laying it out but I haven't progressed to wanting to use a design wall yet, much less actually creating one. She doesn't seem to mind at all. Despite the fact that I did not sit and sew it all in one sitting I can assure you, it is easily made in an afternoon. The fabrics are almost all (maybe even all) French General by Moda. And the big quilt is turning out very nicely. I have a story there from my Friday night sewing session, but I will keep that until I post a photo of the finished top.

We are having incredible weather for January here in southern Alberta. Apart from the strong winds (which have been quite relentless) we have been having spring-like temperatures and blue skies.  My daughter and I leashed up our beagle-girls and went for a nice romp in the coulee this afternoon. Some of us came back more tired than others, but we all enjoyed the fresh air.

I've been working on getting organized for my Sew Scraps Along project and will try to have an update on that for you tomorrow. Enjoy what is left of your weekend!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sew Scraps Along

For the past year or so, I have been following a blog called Pleasant Home. Jodi - the writer of the blog - always manages to post some of the loveliest photos I've seen. It is definitely worth a visit to her site if you have some time but I warn you, it's easy to spend quite awhile enjoying her posts (don't say I didn't warn you).

Jodi is encouraging quilters to join in making projects from our scrap stash. One of the ways she is helping us get going is by hosting Sew Scraps Along. I'm going to give it a try. I remember looking at quilts in our house as a kid and noticing all the different types of fabric. Those quilts were functional and warm but as a quilter myself, now, I also recognize those quilts tell stories. They help us remember projects we have made for ourselves, ones we gave away, and even those that drove us to madness. 

The project she has posted comes from a tutorial on another blog, Freda's Hive (which, by the way, is another great blog to read). It looks straightforward to make and all those 2 1/2" squares will really use up some of those small scraps - sounds like a winner to me.

This photo is not of a recent project but it is a nice, scrappy quilt. The pattern is Opening Day by Carrie Nelson of Miss Rosie's Quilt Co. I made it as a wedding gift for my son and his bride. The fabric line is Patisserie by Fig Tree Quilts.

Monday, January 2, 2012


This year, I'm going to place each thread spool I empty into a glass mason jar which sits on my sewing counter. Not only will this serve as a recycling bin in my sewing room, it will also help me track my productivity as the weeks and months go by. Sometimes, life gets busy and it is easy to think "I haven't had time to sew in ages...". This year won't be any different, but I hope my jar of spools will serve as an encouragement and a reminder that I have been able to spend time doing what I love.

I already have one in there! I am working on a quilt for my daughter which has 48 red hearts appliqued to the blocks. I am using a small machine zig-zag stitch to adhere the pieces to the quilt and managed to use up this spool of thread. I'm so excited to have something in my jar!

There will be more, for example, a wedding quilt for my daughter. Today, we shopped for her dress and for her bridesmaids dresses. It was lovely way to spend a day off in January! I must say, I'm glad I'm a quilter - the type of stitching I saw on the dresses she tried on required skills I don't even want to try to develop. I'll stick to 1/4" seams and hand-stitched quilt bindings, thank you very much!

Happy January 2nd.