Friday, October 26, 2012

Blogger's Quilt Festival

My entry into the Blogger's Quilt Festival is a baby quilt I made a couple months back for a friend, who wanted to gift it to her son and daughter-in-law on the birth of their first baby (and her first grandchild!). The story starts much earlier, back in April, when I donated some baby quilts to our Rotary club's silent auction. My friend, who is also in Rotary with me, bid like crazy on the quilt with the more "girl" colours because she knew she was expecting a granddaughter. She was so sure she had won until she went to pick up the auction sheet and found someone else had snuck in a last minute bid!

She came to me and asked if I would be willing to make another quilt and I was happy to say yes. I enjoy the process so much and it is nice to try out a colour scheme or theme that I normally wouldn't try and the added bonus? I get to add some fun scraps to my stash!  

My friend let me know the baby's parents were decorating the nursery in an owl theme and they like the colour yellow. I did some online browsing and found a great selection of owl-themed prints which I showed to my friend. She showed the parents-to-be and they selected a really fun print which I turned into the focus fabric.

I was stuck for quite awhile as to what I would actually make. The quilt at the auction was made of varying width strips sewn together. I thought about that but wondered if the owl theme might get lost; when I look at a strip quilt (a design I really like) I tend to see all the strips have pretty much the same prominence in the design. In this case. I wanted to stay focused on having the owls front and centre, so I decided against it. I was very intrigued and drawn to Ashley's Converging Corners quilt over at Film in the Fridge and the more I looked at it, the more I realized I could fussy cut motifs from my focus fabric to make the owl theme pop and still drawn in a bunch of colour AND try out a block I was keen to attempt.

This is the finished result; I call it Hootlet.

Although making the quilt was not difficult, it represented a challenge for me. Actually, the quilts I made for the silent auction brought the same challenge; I was nervous about putting my work out there. I have come to realize that even when people are not quilters or crafters, they enjoy creativity and can appreciate what you have made. My "coolest", "youngest", and "hippest" friends are the ones who gush the most over my projects! I don't know why I am so surprised but their appreciation has totally drawn me out and I love showing my projects now!

My friend let me in on the baby's name; so I was able to make a custom label for the back.

Thank you for visiting my blog and hearing the story about my quilt festival entry!


PS. The stats for this quilt:

Name: Hootlet!
Finished quilt size: 30" x 40"
Special techniques used: Converging Corners block (tutorial here)
Quilted by: Me
Best category: Baby quilt, Scrap quilt
Linky number: 153

Linking up with Blogger's Quilt Festival


Monday, October 22, 2012

{Sew} Modern Monday - October 22

We are under the two week mark until our last daughter's wedding; for the better part of the last year, we have been in wedding mode and this weekend, I needed to rebel (but just a little!). As exciting as it has been having two daughters get married this year, I wanted to do something that was just for me. A new cover for a dowdy throw pillow seemed just the right kind of quick project I could manage.

Inspired by several tutorials of late, I spent some time in the sewing room Saturday evening and came up with this:

I was probably most influenced by Elizabeth's tutorial over at Oh, Fransson, although I tweaked it a little and opted not to use a foundation fabric such as the duck or canvas she suggests. Instead, I lined the front of my pillow using this method and I am quite pleased with how it came out. I put it on the couch and am so pleased - it looks so much better than the throw pillow (which I used to stuff this one) that came with the furniture when we bought it. I tried to get a before and after shot of the corner of my couch but it is a very dark and gray day and the photos aren't so nice.

Speaking of dark and gray.....we are under a snowfall warning tonight and tomorrow with 10 - 20cm of snow predicted (that is 4"-8"!) - looks like I got my fall-coloured pillow done in the nick of time!!

So pleased to be linking up with {Sew} Modern Monday over at Canoe Ridge Creations today. Have a great week!


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

WIP Wednesday

This week I have a couple things to show for WIP Wednesday. First up is Chopsticks, a pattern by Julie Herman of Jaybird Quilts. I have been reading Julie's blog since sometime in 2011, I think. I enjoy her posts and her photos are incredible! I have liked this pattern since the day Julie first posted photos of it on her blog. I have had the pattern for some time and was just waiting for a good time to start. The pattern is very well written; I am impressed! It is printed on good quality paper in booklet form. The text explanation and the accompanying diagrams are just excellent. There are lots of tables to help you see how many strips or pieces you need to cut, depending upon which size you want to make (there are several size options). I think I would buy her patterns just for the quality of the pattern itself!

My quilt is the lap size version and my fabric is Indie by Pat Bravo for Art Gallery Fabrics with one Oval Elements print thrown in and a variety of solids. The pattern calls for just one colour of solid throughout. I have to confess, I got impatient and didn't do my due diligence when I ordered my solid. I purchased my fabric from the nice people at Hawthorne Threads and any time I have ever emailed to ask them to match something for me, they have, and it looks awesome. I don't know why I thought I could match my own solid in this case, but I didn't ask, I just ordered. The fabric I got is nice, but the colour is just not the look I was after. Again, being impatient, I didn't want to re-order, so I decided I'd use 4 different solids which I was able to pull from my stash thanks to last year's Monthly Solids Club at Pink Chalk Fabrics. All year, they sent me the loveliest 1/2 hard bundles of solids so I had just the perfect colours on hand!

I had never used Art Gallery Fabrics before but I like them. At first, they felt very light and I thought maybe a bit flimsy, but I was very wrong. They are indeed, very light, but they have a tight weave and a gorgeous hand. They feel like a polished chintz when you rub your hand the surface - so luxe!

The other project I have is my first ever bee block! I am so excited to belong to the 4x5 bee. I am making Cartwheel blocks using the template provided by Lee at Freshly Pieced. I had never done this type of piecing before but it wasn't difficult at all and I am happy with how the block turned out. It is quite fun to make and I can picture it in all different colour combinations.

I'm excited to be linking up with WIP Wednesday!


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The [not really] Quilting Police

This was the view from my house one morning but it was not the quilting police coming to take me away for some kind of sewing infraction (yet!). No, instead, my neighbours got to get their gossip on because my phone dialing skills left something to be desired.

My job allows me the luxury of working from home. I do instructional design which means I work with a subject matter expert to develop instructional materials and activities to support the desired incomes. It is a systematic, detailed, and creative process (much like quilting) and I enjoy it very much.I would say about 80% of the time, I work with law enforcement officers and their agencies. One day, I needed to call someone at the police service in the big city up the road from me. Thinking I was somehow in my office on campus, I dialed 9 and then 1 for long distance and THEN, I realized I wasn't on campus (and therefore did not need to dial 9 for an outside line) and went to hang up, only I fat-fingered 1 instead....I didn't realize I had done this and managed to hang up my phone. It rang a moment later; it was the 911 communications centre asking if things were okay, telling me they had a 911 hang-up from my number. At first, I was very confused and then I realized what I had done. The policy is they send over a car to make sure everything is okay. Sure enough, a nice young officer from the academy I work with came over and went through the house to check that everything was alright. I don't know how many times I apologized, but he was very pleasant and he went on his way. When I saw him out, I noticed there was another car outside so I got out my cell phone and snapped this picture, you know, so I could send it to my kids and get them totally freaked out about what mom was up to - you do that too, right?

While I am very glad that our service is able to check out calls like that (because sometimes, someone who hangs up really does need their help), I was sickened that I had made such an error. These guys are frequently stretched to the limits and the last thing they need is to come see me because I epic fail at dialing my phone. I never thought of myself as not being careful, but I am extra careful now whenever I am dialing the phone, just in case!

Okay, back to quilting!


Monday, October 1, 2012

{Sew} Modern Monday - October 1

Happy October! This is another one of my favourite months. Our Thanksgiving holiday in Canada falls on the second Monday of October; in other words, this coming weekend is our holiday long weekend, and I am looking forward to it. Our son and his wife will be down from the big city and the girls and their guys will be here as well. We are having turkey dinner on Sunday afternoon with all the fixings. We ordered a fresh turkey from the Farmer's Market and we'll get to pick it up on Saturday morning. Tomorrow is our 15% off day at the grocery store, so I'll be making my way there to get the rest of the items I need. 

But, you did not come for a food post. For the second week in a row (I should probably note this) I have something to link up with {Sew} Modern Monday over at Canoe Ridge Creations. It is actually a project that has been in progress for a long time. I sewed the bindings on and then set them aside so I could pick them up and do the hand sewing as time allowed.

The pattern was provided as a series of tutorials over at Sew, Mama, Sew last year and the project was designed by Elizabeth Hartman of Oh, Fransson! The pattern is called Color Block Placemats (it is so hard for me to write color without the "u") and she provides directions to make matching napkins to go along with them. It was an easy and quick project and I am quite sure I'll be making more before the year is out. You can see, I am actually not quite finished but I wanted to take the photo while the light was still decent and I'll finish sewing down that binding tonight. The focus fabric is a print from last year's Central Park line by Kate Spain for Moda.

I have been lucky enough to be able to join the 4x5 bee for this quarter. I have no idea what I'm doing, but it looks like a lot of fun - I'll keep you posted! 

Better get my binding finished! Hope your week got off to a good start.