Wednesday, January 29, 2014

WIP Wednesday

I am excited to be able to have something to post for WIP Wednesday. It isn't that I haven't been getting a chance to sew; it is more the case I don't think or remember to go outside on the weekend and grab a few photos of my projects. Or else the weather has been too uncooperative when I actually did remember I wanted to do so. It's a Canadian thing to talk about the weather, by the way, and here in Alberta, we like to say if you don't like the weather, just wait fifteen minutes.

Today's WIP is a tabler runner I am working on. This is the first top all complete; I say first because my plan is to make it reversible.

I'm not planning to make the reverse side coordinate with the top. After all, what's the point of having a runner that can do double duty if you make both sides pretty much the same. I plan to give this to one of my daughters so I am leaning to a Christmas-y palette for the other side. Since she is really just starting to feather her little nest I think she might be able to get the most use out of having something that can also help her decorate their home for the holidays.

So there you have it, that's my post for today. I look forward to seeing what everyone else has on the go.

Linking up to Let's Bee Social and to WIP Wednesday.


                                              WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, January 27, 2014

First finish

Does anybody know where January went? If you happen to see it, can you let me know? How on earth did it get to be February already? Yikes!

I was just thinking how pleased I was to have my first project of the year finished "already" and then I is the 27th of January today, practically February. Phooey. Oh well. I am still happy to be able to share it, just the same.

This is my Project size Lined Drawstring Bag from Jeni at In Color Order featuring the Kitty Dreams print from Catnap. The Project bag is a little bigger than the one in the free tutorial available here, but the construction is the same. I changed it up a little, opting for a narrow band at the top instead of the wider accent band the pattern calls for, and I added the outside pocket per the tutorial at Sew Sweetness.

I made the bag for my daughter who declared she needed something nice to keep her knitting projects in. This bag should work well for her needs and it gave me a fun, quick project to do on a cold winter afternoon so it's a win all-round.

Hope everyone has a good week. Stay warm!


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sunday Stash - Jan 26

Welcome to a new week. If you are looking for my Grow Your Blog post it can be found right here.

This is my first time doing a Sunday Stash post. It isn't because I don't buy fabric (I do); it's probably the first time I ever remembered to take pictures of my newest purchases. This was my first time ordering from Mad About Patchwork and I am pleased with the service and with my goods. I have a few favourite online shops and this will definitely become one of them.

Without further ado, here are my acquisitions:

  1. Oranges from Botanics, Pearl Bracelets, and Charley Harper. I wanted so badly to buy the entire line of Botanics and Charley Harper but also wanted to be a bit responsible with my fabric dollars, so I have decided I will buy those prints in the colours I am lowest on in my stash. Right now, the oranges are rather dwindled. I do realize the bottom two read more as tomato red than orange, so perhaps I did a bit of justification but I'm sure in the right light, they could pass for orange.
  2. Neutrals from Botanics, Pearl Bracelets, and Essex Linen. This is more like a chasm than a gap in my stash primarily because I tend to purchase fabric by the half yard - which doesn't help when you run into a project requiring two yards for background. The bottom Botanics is earmarked to become the background for a larger quilt I am hoping to get made for my living room; I think the gold metallic bits will look great with the palette I have in mind.
  3. Charley Harper. This will become a pillow for my living room and a companion piece the quilt I mentioned above.
  4. Catnap by Lizzy House. I ordered cuts of each of the prints they have in stock, six in total.
It was definitely fun getting that package in the mail. I am particularly smitten with the Catnap focus fabric, Kitty Dreams in white.

I made something with it today, already, and I'll have pictures hopefully later this week. This is the first time, ever, where I am seriously contemplating (vs. wishfully thinking) of ordering an entire bolt. In the past, I have fallen for the large scale focus prints from fabric lines but then not really known what to do with them (a cubby in my sewing room attests to this fact). I'm also one to generally steer away from directional prints, so why on earth would I want 15 yards of this? For starters, the scale is great. I would call it medium vs. large, which to me, is much more versatile. There are so many colours in this print which means it could be used to inspire a whole bunch of very different palettes. And seriously, how fun would this be as a quilt backing?

That wraps up my stash post. I'm linking up with Sarah!

Molli Sparkles


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Welcome to Grow Your Blog day

Thank you so much to Vicki at 2 Bags Full for organizing Grow Your Blog. Vicki mentions there are more than 500 bloggers looking forward to meeting you and growing their blog readership.

Welcome to my blog. My name is Erica and I blog from southern Alberta, Canada in a place where the Rocky Mountains are generally easy to see from my bedroom window and where I am only a short drive from the border which takes me into Montana.

I am married; have been for more than 28 years (to the same person!):

We have three children and they share with us their three wonderful spouses; to get to this point, there were weddings and quilts - all in the past few years!

I followed an interesting path to the job I have right now. I work at a college, but in my specific role I manage the police academy and its programming. No, I've never been a police officer (or played one on TV) but it is a really neat job. I did go to school (which may or may not have helped) but I didn't start until I was 31 years old and then I didn't stop - I finished my undergraduate degree the same year my son (our oldest) finished high school and then I finished a master's in Organizational & Workplace Learning and Performance a little more than a year ago.

Sewing and crafting has been part of my life as long as I can remember. I always dabbled in and around quilting but I would say I let it take over the sewing room about 12 years ago. I really liked very traditional patterns and fabrics (e.g., Civil War) but then one day, a few years back, my tastes changed overnight and I embraced contemporary (some call it modern) design and fabrics. The truth is, I like all kinds of fabric (except batiks, don't like those) and try to make the best choice for each project I take on.

This week, I have been working on a table runner based around one of my favourite designer's (Lizzy House) newest line - Catnap!

Other things I really like to do include going to Disneyland and taking Disney Cruises (are you sensing a pattern, there?) In case you wonder the answer is no, I do not have a house full of Disney stuff, and I'm not trying for that. I do, however, like mid-century design and there are a few vintage attraction posters at Disneyland that might find their way into the family room, one day. I also like to play outside; how could I not want to when outside looks like this?

There you have it; a little glimpse of me. Thank you so much for taking time to visit. I will be making my rounds of all the participants' blogs over the next few days and look forward to learning more about YOU.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Making a list...

...checking it twice - no wait, that was last month.

I have lurked many a blog post pointing me in the direction of this Finish Along business over at The Littlest Thistle and have come to the conclusion I should invite myself to the party! You know, as part of working on this shyness problem I have (those of you who know me, your eyes are going to get stuck like that if you roll them any harder!).

Truthfully, the proposed list of FAL (that's quilty-bloggy jargon for Finish Along) projects could be really, really long but in order to keep it somewhat realistic (and spare you the details), I have narrowed it down to the following four projects which I am excited to work on over the next three years months.

#1: Catnap Table Runner

Ever since I caught my first glimpse of Lizzy House's new line, Catnap, I knew I would be adding some to my stash, and I'm not even a cat person (but it's okay with me if you are). The prints are whimsical without being childish and the colours are super yummy. I have constantly been clicking through my online retailer's website awaiting this line to arrive in stock while silently cursing the polar vortex, snow and ice storms, Canada Post, and our customs service for contributing to my ever-growing lack of patience in this matter. I am so happy to say it arrived today and I may have stopped dead in my tracks at work to order some (sure did!). Having said all that, I actually did score a charm pack of these delightful fabrics shortly before Christmas and have had a smidgen of these much-anticipated beauties in my possession for few weeks now. With all the holiday frolicking done and obligatory sewing complete, Catnap is being worked into a reversible table runner inspired by this one at Saltwater Quilts.

#2: Happiness Remixed

Although bee blocks don't necessarily qualify as legitimate FAL projects the rules do say if they are going to be put into a finished quilt, they can go on the list. January is my month in the Happiness circle of Do Good Stitches and I requested flying geese blocks so we can make the fabulous Remixed Geese quilt for which you can score the pattern as a free download over at Robert Kaufman (thank you, RK!). I love the original quilt and want to emulate it as best I can so I asked my lovely sewists to make their FG (flying geese) in bright colours. The first three envelopes of blocks arrived today and I can't wait to tear into them and start laying things out on my design wall (which is a fancy schmancy way of saying I'm going to use masking tape to stick them on the wall in our family room).

#3: Mystery Quilt

This mystery quilt was something I joined on a whim. Although I must admit these blocks are looking really busy to me, I have to give the quilt a chance and see how I feel once everything has been put together. The final quilt design was revealed on New Year's Day but I still have a few steps to go. The cool thing is it came almost entirely out of my scrap bins (less 1/4 yard was actually cut from stash) and I learned some really neat techniques along the way.

#4: Flagged Quilt

I have been wanting to make another quilt for the living room for some time and came across this Flagged Quilt tutorial by Jeni a couple months back. It looks like good bang for the buck; it should go together quickly and it looks terrific. I didn't have anything in mind as far as a colour palette so I turned to my stash to see what might inspire me. Whilst rummaging through the stacks I came across a Kaffe Fassett print that had a lot of great colours in it, and not ones I would think to put together. With the help of those lovely selvedge dots I was able to quickly pull the fabrics I need, setting the stack of loveliness aside in anticipation of this project.

So there it is, my list of FAL goals. I look forward to being able to report they are all finished come March 31st!

Linking up to the Q1 FAL post here.


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

With the turn of the page we have a brand new year and 365 days just waiting to be filled with our creative efforts. To get this year off to a great start I began by sewing the January blocks for the Happiness circle at Do Good Stitches. It's all about the flying geese this month:

Although I am the only one who would realize it, I pointed my geese south when I took this photo because it was -14 at the time and any self-respecting bird would be moving in that direction as quickly as possible, I'm sure (please take me with!).

I have spent my day off sewing and making the rounds of the blogs, checking out what everyone else is posting on this, the 1st day of January 2014. I see wonderful mosaics of projects finished in 2013 and I see lots of resolutions for the new year ahead. I am not one to make resolutions and I don't tend to write a lot of "to-do" lists anymore because I can usually remember what has to be done if for no other reason then because it's right up in my face as a constant reminder. But doing all this reading did cause me to reflect on a few things:
  • Right now, my favourite fabric designers are Lizzy House and Carolyn Friedlander.
  • I enjoy contemporary design but I am also enjoying making very traditional quilt blocks with current fabrics (see above!)
  • I really like blogging and would like to be here more frequently but I have struggled to make time to sew enough so that I actually have something to write about and the photos to go with.
  • I would like to write something of substance this year, be it a guest post, a series of posts, a tutorial, or even something submitted to a print publication. While I am not sure how to go about applying my writing talent to my creative endeavours I do know I have been gifted with the ability to write and my instructors and mentors have always advised "write about what you know" - it's time to start doing that on a big broader scale.
  • No fabric fast for me - at least none is in the planning. I will be adapting my buying habits to account for backgrounds - I don't tend to be purposeful in buying those but it would be nice to have a couple options on hand for when inspiration strikes.
  • My sewing space is getting a bit of a reorganization right now. It is not overly messy but I think I can always do better at utilizing the space I do have and finding more efficiencies in the way I store my tools and supplies.
  • And I do want to get better at photography, something that would likely go much better if I hadn't left my camera in the stateroom on a cruise ship back in November...phooey on that. My daughter bought a new camera at a Boxing Day sale and is anxious to practice to perhaps my fabric and projects would be an interesting enough subject to catch her attention while I figure out my next move in the camera department.
It will be interesting to see how I feel about this list a year from now but today, it's a start. Happy New Year, everyone!