Sunday, January 18, 2015

First finishes

I have a few projects to share in this first month of the year. Some are finished, others, not completely finished but certainly presentable and functional.First up, the finished ones. Blocks for The Great Canadian Stashbusting (is that one word or two?) bee. A Ribbon Star for Stacey:

And for Mel, a block featuring Flying Geese using the awesome Cotton + Steel fabric she sent:

Stacey wanted rainbow colours with black on black background pieces - that was such a challenge! She asked us to stay away from black prints with white elements but that is all I have in my scraps bins and stash so off to the quilt shop it was, only they didn't have a lot to choose from either. I think it turned out cute even if the background has very little variety going on. For Mel's flying geese block I used a tutorial from Color Girl Quilts. Hubby and I are headed on vacation this coming week along with one of our daughters and her husband. I told daughter I'd like to make her a zipper bag for her toiletries and makeup but she has a nice sparkly one she likes so she asked if I could make something to hold her makeup brushes instead. Inspired by a silverware holder my mother-in-law made me many years ago (for taking on picnics) I came up with something I think will work.

(And no, for the record, I'm still not tired of Catnap fabrics)

The final project is my sewing room. Having spent many years sewing on the dining room table (and having to clean up each night for supper) it was an amazing blessing to move into our laundry room and make it into a sewing space for the past 15 years. At only 5' x 9' it has been functional and I've made a lot of great projects in my no-so-big space. After the offspring married and moved out for the second time (the moving out thing, not the marrying thing) my husband (and Ikea) helped me transform a vacant bedroom into my new sewing room. It's not complete yet, but it is wonderful just the same. I can't believe I am lucky enough to have somewhere like this to sew in.

I don't think I'll have any more projects to show for January (unless a suntan counts) but I think my 2015 is off to a creative and happy start!


Sunday, January 11, 2015

First Finish(es)

Today I am excited to share my first finish(es) of the year. I didn't sew as much last year as I would have liked so it's nice to have something to show already. These table runners are a class project from an Edyta Sitar (Laundry Basket Quilts) class I took on Craftsy. If you has asked me six months ago if I'd ever have a batik in my stash I would probably have said something like "never". I was at a retreat last fall, however, when I saw some of the Laundry Basket batiks in person and I thought the colours were just gorgeous. I kept thinking about them for awhile and ended up ordering some during all those wonderful Black Friday sales. During my glorious, wonderful Christmas break (I work at a college so sew were closed) I decided it was time to try a project with them.
Although I don't make resolutions, one thing I am determined to work on this year is my own style. I love blogs and other social media for all the inspiration they provide and I would say I have spent the last five years evolving my stash and my projects as a more modern style quilter. Recently, though, I find myself really "over" labels. That is another post for another day but my point is I find I quite enjoy mixing modern and traditional. I like making very traditional blocks out of modern prints. I'm not sure where batiks fit in (I can't believe they actually fit into my sewing at all!) but these runners explore that a little more. The letters are all made using batik fabrics (you have to admit those colours are beautiful) and the backgrounds are made with modern prints - in this case, Basic Grey for one...

...and Tula Pink for the other.

I ended up using batik for the binding on each because it helped me to nicely use up the 1/2 yard pieces I had started with. One runner is backed with the same Tula print and the other is a Cotton + Steel print that goes really nicely.
Small projects like this are a great way to practice free motion quilting on my machine. For the runner where I used the geometric Tula print as background I decided a curvy stipple would be a nice contrast:

On the other (which is the one backed with the C+S print shown above) I decided to try out a woodgrain quilting design, which I learned in a different Craftsy class taught by Elizabeth Dackson (Don't Call Me Betsy).
These runners are for my daughters, who both happened to have purchased homes with their hubbies in the last half year or so - they are looking for things to decorate their houses with and as practically still newlyweds I figured these runners would be nice for Valentine's Day - hope they like them!

I'll be adding batiks to more projects going forward, I think. I look forward to seeing where my explorations take me this year.