Monday, June 24, 2013

(malibu barbie) Swoon

It's finished! Yay!!! Last night, I put the last stitches into my Swoon binding and tossed it into the washer before I went to bed. After putting it in the dryer before heading off to work this morning and - ta da - she is finished!!

And she is mine! This is the first quilt I have ever made with the intention it would go on my own bed so it is a real treat having it finished. I started calling it Malibu Barbie Swoon when I was making it because the colours in the blocks reminded me of the Malibu Barbie I had back in the, errr, 1970's (shhh, don't tell my kids, they think I'm 29!). She had an aqua swimsuit, a bright yellow towel, straw-coloured hair, and of course an orange skintone reminiscent of that other 70's miracle product, QT (a self-tanner made by Coppertone). That pretty much explains the colour palette for this quilt.

The sky is really grey this evening so the colours don't show up all that well, but I think you can see what I mean about the whole Malibu Barbie thing.

This was a great quilt to make. Each block took about an hour to cut and piece but they are huge blocks and it only takes nine to make the whole quilt. I made it last year during the Swoon-along over on Flickr and had it to the machine quilter over the summer but it set it aside in order to work on other things. I am so glad I pulled it out and got it finished. I'm thinking I would be interested in making this again, but in a scrappy version; the ones I've seen are just gorgeous.

Hoping your Monday was a good one.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Zakka 2.0 - Lettered Tea Cozy

The third project in the Patchwork, Please sewalong is the Letter Tea Cozy and Tea Bag Pouch - both super cute projects. I was out of town on a course all week and spent yesterday catching up on things around the house, but I set today aside to sew. Sadly, I did not get a chance to start the Tea Bag Pouch, but here is my Tea Cozy.

My mom and dad always liked to drink tea with supper each night; I remember my mom filling up the tea pot with hot water while she made supper and then, last thing before we sat down to eat, she'd empty the tea pot, throw in a Red Rose tea bag and then add the boiling water. She had a knitted tea cozy that had a big pom-pom on top and she'd put that on right away because my dad liked his tea to be piping hot. I think I prefer my version to hers (which was lime green and yellow) - I think it's a little more updated and besides, I don't know how to knit.

I wish I could say I had a flash of genius and chose to make mine different from the pattern, but that isn't so. I managed to piece my teacup block backwards (although I do prefer it this way), and I didn't read the instructions properly and ended up with a narrow binding - but I am quite alright that as well.

I enjoyed making this project and plan to make the Tea Bag Pouch fairly soon - in fact, I'm fairly certain I'll be making more than one.

Next up: an apron, and someone has already called dibs on it! I'm okay with that just as long as she agrees to model it for me when it comes time to get a photo.

Linking up with the sewalong here.


Friday, June 21, 2013

Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop - the 2013 edition!

Well, hello, everyone and thank you for visiting! I am honoured to be part of the 2013 Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop organized by the gracious Beth at Plum and June blog.

My name is Erica and I live on the Canadian prairies, just east of the Rocky Mountains and a little bit north of the Canada/US border, very close to Glacier Part, Montana. It is a beautiful place to live with big, blue sky and gorgeous mountain views (and wind, but we won't talk about that).

These guys mean the world to me:

That's all of us at my daughter's wedding in November. I have a son (the big, tall guy on the right) and twin daughters and this is my hubby and I with all of them and their spouses. They are lots of fun and very supportive (tolerant?) of my love of fabric and quilting. Thankfully, they all have nests to feather and keep asking me to make them stuff - it's great!

I have a job that has nothing to do with fabric, or with quilting, but does require creativity and I have a fantastic boss which makes it really easy to work - a lot. I'm trained as an instructional designer and work on that a lot, but my official job is operations manager for a portfolio of college programs focused in and around law enforcement and health. That doesn't mean a whole hill of beans except a lot of "other duties as assigned".

I have been sewing for ages, starting out with piecing scraps of fabric together by hand to make creations for my dolls and stuffed animals (hey, they need blankets, too!) and have managed to grow a few skills from there. I can make garments, but I'm over that (for now) and prefer quilting and patchwork-related "stuff". For example, I am participating in the Zakka 2.0 Sewalong going on over at A Quilter's Table - I am participating in hopes of improving my skills and even learning new ones.

The next big project on my "to make" list is for me:

I am so blessed to have a sewing space all my own, even though it is not particularly large. It is small, but functional because my husband (a finish carpenter and cabinet maker) built me a desk and shelves to help make the most of the room I do have. I have a few sewing machines (not all of them are out) but mainly use my trusty 35-year old Bernina 830 (all mechanical and very sturdy) and my Husqvarna Quilt Designer II for most things. I have a Featherweight I look forward to being able to travel with - she is the newest addition to my sewing machine family, a gift from my mother-in-law last year.

Thank you again for taking time to visit and I hope you will check out everyone else who is posting as part of the blog hop today:

Leigh Anne @ Ella's Cottage
Stacey @ The Tilted Quilt
Sarah @ Quilt Candy
Jackie @ NW Patchwork
Stephanie @ Simple Sewendipity
Lauren @ Seraphym


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Week 2 - Zakka 2.0

Just in under the wire, I finished the second week's project for the Patchwork Please sewalong hosted over at A Quilter's Table.

As you can see, I did the one with the least amount of letters; yup, that was no accident. I enjoyed making this project all the way up to the binding part. I love binding; I am a hand-stitched binding kind of girl so it was a stretch for me to accept that this project really does lend itself to applying binding by machine. While I do still think the book is very well written, the directions for making and applying the continuous bias binding were not nearly complete enough, and could have used a drawing. I've sewn a lot and read a lot of patterns and tried a lot of techniques (including this one) and I am sure I would never have gotten where I needed to if I didn't have that experience to draw on; the directions themselves were just not enough. But, I haven't heard anybody else mention a problem, so I'm also quite willing to accept the problem had everything to do with me. In the end, it is finished, and it is cute! I dabbled in 30's prints very minimally a few years back and it happened I had a cute piece of fabric left to use for the binding; I think it compliments the American Jane scraps very nicely. I have the linen cut for the remaining towels, but they will have to wait until next weekend. At least I got something completed for this week - it feels good!

So, on to a new week, new projects, and more learning!


Friday, June 14, 2013

Drinking the [Zakka] Koolaid!

I have to admit, I didn't "get it" last year when the first Zakka sew-along was happening. I admired the projects and the talent of everyone who participated, but I just wasn't feeling it. So when I saw the 2.0 version coming, I thought "yeah, still not me". And then someone - and I am so sorry, I don't remember who it was - made the comment "I'm so glad I participated last year because it made my sewing skills so much better". Oh dear. I'm a sucker for getting better at stuff. I pretended not to notice the time after sushi lunch with a girlfriend on Monday and made a quick detour to Chapters. I had checked whether or not this book was in stock before I left for lunch and before I knew what was happening (not really), it was mine!

And I am very excited to show you my first project:

These are my Bell Pepper Coasters (which aren't coasters; they are actually hot pads).

I have some coasters which I use already and probably don't need more of just now, but my hot pads are looking quite raggedy and not so pretty so I said "hey, girlfriend, why don't you just enlarge the pattern and make some spicy hot pads?". Why not, indeed?

Writing is a big part of my job when I'm wearing my instructional design hat and I find myself critiquing pattern and tutorial directions without even meaning to most of the time. I am telling you right now, this book is superbly written. The language is straightforward, yet not dull. The descriptions are enough to get you from start to finish (and a good looking finish, at that) without being gratuitous (unlike so much of my writing -I don't do succinct very well). One day, everyone will know they should be using the Queen's English, but I'll let that one slip considering everything else about this book is really working for me.

And on a completely different note, today is (still) June 14 which means it is time for another installment of the 2013 version of the Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop. I hope you will consider going to visit these bloggers; it's hard sticking yourself and your work out there and I'd love if you could go encourage some or all of the people on the list below.

Friday, June 14
Julie @ Jolie Maxtin
Melissa @ Melia Mae Quilting
Adrianne @ On The Windy Side
Laura @ Little And Lots
Valerie @ Between Quilts

 Linking up with...any number of things, but today, I'll make a point to talk about Finish it Up Friday over at Crazy Mom Quilts!

Happy weekend.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

City Sampler and Keepin' It Real

Without further adieu, I give you blocks 7, 8, and 9:

Scale is a big deal for me. I'm not saying I always get it right, but I do try to choose fabric with an appropriate scale for the size of the piece and/or block. I think it's especially important in these sampler blocks. I'm thinking about writing a post on that, one day.

Other than the blocks, I got nothin'. I think I know why.

Phhhhttttt! My sewing room is 9' x 6' and includes my laundry. I am so very, very blessed to be married to a finish carpenter (trim carpenter, in some vernaculars) and he built me a countertop over my washer and dryer and the shelving. The tall, skinny piece of wood in the middle of the shelf is actually a hinged door - it hides the dryer vent hose! The trick to making my small space work is I need to keep it clean. Because I'm a nice mom and I'm letting my offspring move in so they can save to buy a house, my short-lived plan to move my sewing room to her recently vacated bedroom is being reversed. Furthermore, because my other offspring is moving in so she can finish university while her husband moves for his DOT position up north, hubby and I are...moving to the basement. We are so not interested in sharing our upstairs with two newly-wedded couples. True story. Our basement is finished and actually quite nice, so we're okay with this plan. It does mean my office is being displaced and is now moving into my sewing room as well so things are getting a little out of hand, and I really need to spend some time cleaning it before the actual moves occur at the end of this month. My hope in posting this is that anyone else living in sewing room chaos will instantly feel better about themselves after seeing this!


Saturday, June 8, 2013

Let's Get Acquainted - Week 1

I am very excited to be part of the 2013 Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop over at Plum and June. There are a whole bunch of new(ish) modern quilt bloggers just waiting to meet you; I'll post a list of their names and the links to their blogs at the bottom of this post.

We've been having a great discussion about what we like in blogs, what we don't like in blogs, and overall just encouraging each other in writing and sharing about what we love (my favourite part!). So many people have said "hey, I know how to do that, I can help you!" when it comes to technical stuff - I have already followed some of the links to some helpful tutorials - good stuff!

I think every single one of us has said there has to be a photo with each post. So here's mine:

Pattern:  Small Plates, from The Practical Guide to Patchwork
Designer: Elizabeth Hartman of Oh, Fransson!
Fabric: Origins, by Basic Grey for Moda
Size: 68" x 85"
Quilting: Machine quilted by a local quilter in an all-over swirl pattern
Backstory: Made for my daughter's friend who got married awhile back; the girls studied environmental science together at college, hence all the green!

And now, here is the list of everyone participating in this year's Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop. I encourage you to visit these blogs and say hello - some encouraging words would also be really great! The first posts went up yesterday and as I read through them, I am so honoured and humbled to be part of this group:

Friday, June 7th
Nancy @ Owen's Olivia
Amy @ 13 Spools
Casey @ The Studiolo 
Nanette @ Yeah, I Made That

Friday, June 14
Julie @ Jolie Maxtin
Melissa @ Melia Mae Quilting
Adrianne @ On The Windy Side
Molli @ Molli Sparkles
Laura @ Little And Lots
Valerie @ Between Quilts

Friday, June 21
Leigh Anne @ Ella's Cottage
Sarah @ Quilt Candy
Jackie @ NW Patchwork
Erica @ Happy Fabric
Stephanie @ Simple Sewendipity
Lauren @ Seraphym

Friday, June 28
Green @ So Sew Green
Gwendellyn @ The Rainbow Revolts
Jessica @ Stitched In Thyme
Kathy @ Kayak Quilting
Michelle @ Factotum Of Arts
Kris @ Sew Sunshine
Camilla @ Faffling

Friday, July 5
Christa @ Christa Quilts!
Stephanie @ Quarter Incher
Kristy & Shayla @ Sassafras Lane Designs

Friday, July 12
Anne @ PlayCrafts
Cath @ Wombat Quilts

Friday, July 19
Alison @ Making Happyness
Sarah @ Sowing Stitches
Ella and Nesta @ Ella & Nesta's Little Room
Nicole @ Modern Handcraft
Aylin @ AyliN-Nilya

Friday, July 26
RobinSue @ RobinSue Quilts
Elisa Lea @ Lovelea Designs
Elizabeth @ In The Boondocks
Emily @ Sew E.T.
Em @ Sewing by Moonlight

Have a great weekend, everyone.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

4, 5, and 6

More blocks for the TP City Sampler quilt along. They are not nearly as wonky as they look - they are hanging over the edge of our deck railing because that is where I had the best light when I went to take the photos. They are fun to make, and I'm still happy with how they are coming along but realize I need to add some more fabrics into the mix. The book suggests 40 (or somewhere suggests 40 - now I'm not sure) and I have 27, which seems like a lot but...I feel like I keep using the same ones over and over (I maybe be a little bit ahead of the QAL).

Linking up to the quilt along here.

Sew Sweetness

Happy hump day!


Sunday, June 2, 2013

For Linda...

I have a lovely friend in Indiana named Linda. We met in person all the way back in 2005 at a wonderful quilt retreat in Hutchinson, MN. We were part of the same online group at Yahoo, a group built around our mutual love of Thimbleberries patterns and fabrics. The shop in Minnesota used to put on a retreat every year in late September. I was able to go three years in a row, and then they stopped holding them. But my first year was probably the best and it is the year I met my good friend - we were actually roommates!

Linda loves and pieces the most beautiful Civil War quilts - she is very talented - but when I literally woke up morning all switched on about modern quilts and fabrics, I think she figured I had finally (officially) lost my marbles.

So this photo is especially for her.

I first saw this quilt made up way back in 2004 and loved it on the spot. My daughters (who were much younger, and not even teenagers then!) were with me. One of them fell for the design too and when I got the pattern, she determined I would be making it for her. Fast forward quite a few years and she had developed her own style and figured it was time for me to get my act together and get this made. So I started collecting fabrics to go with a piece of art she had purchased for her bedroom. It took me awhile to collect those fabrics, so long, in fact, that by time I had enough my daughter was engaged and declared this should be her wedding quilt.

It has actually been done for several months now, but the weather and lighting have not been cooperating or else I've been too busy (why does the sun come out while I'm at work??) to get over and get some pictures. Still not the best lighting, but you'll have to take my word it is a very pretty quilt. And she loves it. And her hubby does too (he gently reminds her "it is OUR quilt honey, not just yours"). It is enormous (nearly king size) so I really needed to take it outside to have enough room to try capture a picture.

So there you go, Linda, I still know how to work with more traditional fabrics. I hope you like it! I'll share the pattern with you, if you want!

But I am kind of thinking....I bet it would look really, really neat in modern prints and solids...


Saturday, June 1, 2013

Fresh Sewing Day

My schedule often feels a little backwards to the rest of quilting blog-land; just when it is summer and most people are winding down (a little) I generally find a bit more time to spend in the sewing room. As such, I am pretty excited to actually have a few things to pull together into a mosaic for this month.

It looks like my theme this month was "square" - as in pillows and TP City Sampler blocks. The pillow in the top, right corner is actually a TP City Sampler block tripled to be 18" finished (it worked great, and it was super easy!).

The sun is out and the sky is blue - a pleasant change from all the liquid sunshine we've been getting all week. I have some plans for the sewing room this weekend - maybe I'll even have something to show by time the weekend is finished.

Linking up to Fresh Sewing Day.
Lily's Quilts
Happy weekend, everyone.