31 May, 2009

Giveaway Winner

Wow!  That was an unexpected response.  I hope I can keep most of you coming back with some new projects and tutorials.  

This was a great experience, I have found so many new sites to explore and blogs to visit.  I'm not going to get a damn thing done at work! And I really appreciate that everybody took the time to actually answer the questions, it was interesting to learn more about how people create.  I would say that most of you go with fabric first, then pattern.  That is generally how I do it. Although, my current project started from an idea of what I wanted the finished quilt to look like and I chose colours and fabrics afterwards. More on that project soon.

On to the winner...

Comment # 213 Nanaan

I have the feeling that this is going to be a great giveaway! just added you to my google reader -- I'm liking what I see.

Thanks!

Oh, and duh, pink/yellow. We're very girly in these parts.

And I actually started to say I start with fabric first, but I think that's a lie. I start with a pattern I want and then go out and buy the fabric. Which is probably why I don't manage to use my stash very well. 


I'll be back this week with reports from the Heritage Park Quilt Show and another quilt to share with you. For now, I'm going to bed.  Work in the morning.  Good news, we found an awesome nanny last week and she starts tomorrow.  The girls love her and Hubby can now get the yard done without endless interruptions and help from The Monster. Bad news, The Monster is reacting to some bites again.  This time we know they are mosquitoes, but she swelling up and welting like last time.  So, who knows how this week is going to go!

28 May, 2009

Off to the Races

If you're here for the Sew Mama Sew giveaway, welcome. The giveaway is in the previous post. In the meantime, enjoy my latest quilt: Wednesday Night Races.

This is my Project Improv quilt. I pieced it entirely from scraps and stash, and sadly barely made a dent in my stash. The blocks are all triangles, pieced like wonky log cabins. I've said it before, it was a challenge to piece the top together and I couldn't avoid a few inset seams, but it worked out well. The whole thing squared up nicely too. (I know it doesn't seem like it in the photo, but it was a breezy day.)

The name came to me after I shared the photo of the top with the Project Improv Flickr group. A couple of people mentioned that it reminded them of flags at a marina. Back in my university days I would join some friends for the Wednesday Night Races at one of the sailing clubs in Halifax. It was an exhilerating, raucous, and slightly scary event for this Prairie gal. My friend did his best to scare the crap out of me, but I always came back. That wasn't entirely the experience with this quilt, but I liked the memory and decided to pay homage with the naming of the quilt.

The entire quilt is quilted with straight lines. I started following one triangle and went around and around it. This I repeated across the quilt with triangles of different sizes and filled in spaces with lines. Very bold. For thread I used a Mettler silk finish 100% cotton, my latest favourite for quilting, in three shades of yellow. White seemed too stark on the coloured parts, but I didn't want something too dark on the white parts. The yellow was perfect.

Sure, I could have used a multi-pieced binding, but because the quilt isn't that large (slightly larger than crib, but I can't remember the exact measurements right now) I thought a single binding would provide a bit of rest to the eye. I picked up a few pieces of Katie Jump Rope and Flea Market Fancy in a sales rack a few weeks ago and the green was perfect.

We had to take pictures in the park across the street from our house because we currently have no front steps. The Monster was quite keen on holding the quilt herself for me to take a picture. How could I say no?
Wednesday Night Races, along with this quilt, this one, and one more I have to share with you are headed to a show this weekend. My first quilt show! No, not just my quilts, let's not get too excited. But it is the first time I've shared my quilts in public, other than through the blog. If you are in the Calgary area please stop my Heritage Park Festival of Quilts for the show. They hang hundreds of quilts throughout the historic park - on buildings, fences, clotheslines, and in some of the old houses. It is quite the sight, really. I'll post some pics next week.

26 May, 2009

Trust Me

*** This giveaway is now closed ***

It's the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day!

I'm still feeling generous so I thought I would share more fabric.  It would make sense, then, to show you the fabric I plan to give away.  Yes, that would make perfect sense.  Unfortunately, my camera is not cooperating right now so I can't download the photos.  You'll just have to trust me.

Come on, you know I can pick the good stuff.  I love putting together based on colour and feel. In fact, quite often I will just pull fabric from my stash for some imaginary quilt. Maybe I'll bring home a new fabric that I bought just because.  Just because I liked it.  So I hit the stash and see what I have that works with it.  Maybe I'll even put that grouping aside for a while and let it simmer.  Maybe I'll let The Monster help me and see what she comes up with.  Maybe I'll even start a project then and there.  No pattern, no plan, just a pile of fabric and a little inspiration along the way.

For the giveaway please leave a comment telling me how you pick fabric for a quilt - does the fabric comes first or the pattern/design?  And tell me which colourway you prefer:
  
Yellow/pink
Green/Orange/Yellow
Red/Aqua
Green/Blue
Brown/Blue

I will pull from my stash 6 fat quarters in the winners choice colourway.  And I have no problem shipping internationally (I'm in Canada) so please drop me a comment by May 31

Don't forget to visit the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway site to see the rest of the blog giveaways. There is some good stuff out there.  Feel free to explore a little here too.

*** This giveaway is now closed ***

24 May, 2009

Recovery

Thank-you for all your kind comments about the Monster and the return to work.  She has made almost a full recovery now.  She is happily running around in her new rubber boots and keeping Daddy company as he works on the landscaping of the yard. Her arm is much better. And then she fell off the bed today.  Unfortunately she's inherited my propensity to bruise easily.  She is one beat-up looking kid.  And happy as can be!  Daddy was home with her last week and will be home again in the coming days.  Work is work.  I would much rather be quilting, er... home with the girls, but the bills need to be paid, right?

Okay, now on to the real news.  Who won the giveaway?!

The random number generator picked number 11, Michelle. There were 59 comments, but one person commented twice, so I used 58 as the number for the draw.

I hope you like your dots, Michelle.  Treats will be on their way to you in a few days.

Stay tuned this week.  I will be sharing two recently finished quilts and possibly doing another giveaway!  It was my birthday yesterday so I feel like being a little bit more generous. 

18 May, 2009

Sad Days and Giveaways!

*** This giveaway is now closed ***

Maybe the polka dots will brighten my day?

Today is my last day at home with the girls - back to work tomorrow! Boo hoo. And since we don't have a nanny yet Hubby will be home with the girls. That somewhat eases the pain and makes the transition not so tough. Sort of.

Today is also wet, miserable, and cold. Snow was even falling at one point. To top it off, The Monster is sitting in the emergency room right now. She was bitten by something yesterday at the farm and her arm is swollen, red, and hard today. She's not in grave danger, but it sure looks ugly right now. Poor girl. What a way to spend a special day.

That's enough doom and gloom, on to the good stuff. I'm finally hosting a giveaway! To celebrate my return to work I thought I would try to share some cheer with the world. This is an 8-pack of cheery polka dots and liberal interpretations of polka-dots. Some are older and I'm not sure where they're from, but they make me smile. And there is some Amy Butler and Denyse Schmidt in there too. Each piece is more or less a fat quarter. I will send the winner of the giveaway the whole lot of them, and maybe a few other treats.

To win, leave a comment on this post between now and May 24 at 8:00 pm MST. I will draw a random number to determine the winner. Winner will be informed that night. Make sure I can contact you by email.

This week will be more than a bit crazy, so I won't be posting. But stay tuned for next week, I have a few quilts to share.

Update:
The Monster did indeed have a bad infection from a venomous spider bite! I didn't even know there were venomous spiders in Alberta. But after three days of IV antibiotics she is much better. Not that this slowed her down one bit. Me, on the other hand, I'm exhausted. Work was crazy and the week was stressful. I will be handstitching a binding tonight and watching crappy TV.

14 May, 2009

Key Lime Pie

From this...

To this.

I delivered the Key Lime Pie quilt to my sister on Mother's Day.  And it was already well-loved. The Monster managed to get some chocolate on it while it awaited packing for the trip.  The dangers of quilting in the dining/living room.

When I finished the quilt top and showed Hubby he commented, "Well, it's not the most exciting quilt you've ever made."  Maybe not, but it is purely me and very much my sister.  The circles, of course, are me.  The colours are perfect for her.  Besides, I believe it is good to push yourself a little outside your comfort zone.  There is still a lot of contrast, but it is definitely softer than most of my work.

I started off with half-square triangles, but quickly realized that it wouldn't give me the look I wanted.  So I trimmed the squares I'd already cut to make the triangles and went for these right angle triangles instead.  They still didn't end up how I expected.  I'd actually wanted to piece them yellow to yellow, brown to brown in order to make it more like an equilateral triangle. I did not, however, think about the directionality of the fabric.  Sometimes, the third time is the charm.

After appliqueing the circles I free-motioned quilted the whole thing, with some extra circles here and there.  And I quilted around the circles to make them pop a bit more.  With everything so similar in colour value I needed to do something more to make them stand out.

On the back was a single piece of this Amy Butler.  No label yet because it was lost somewhere in transit.  I made it and thought I brought it with me to Edmonton, but I couldn't find it anywhere there nor at home when we returned.  Next time.

Speaking of next time, I'm making another quilt with this fabric.  I can't resist, especially after seeing them all laid out next to each other here.  It can be one to work on without thinking about it once I return to work next week. 

12 May, 2009

Your Parents Are Cool Part 2

We returned from a weekend in Edmonton.  As usual, it was crazy busy with lots of driving around to get visits in.  But my mother-in-law was great to me, babysitting so I could go to my niece's school concert and have dinner out with an old girlfriend.  On Saturday we threw a baby shaker for the recipient of Your Parents Are Cool, and his parents, of course.  In there I also got to spend the afternoon with my sister-in-law and little Lucca.  And take more pictures of his quilt.
This is my favourite block.  Just as I was putting blocks together I received my prize from Sew Mama Sew and this orange puppy fabric was in it.  Considering that Indy, the retired racing greyhound, is part of the family in Lucca's house I had to include some of this.  The top fabric is actually from another baby quilt that I made two years ago.  I love including fabric with a little bit of history.
It was really hard to capture the quilting on this.  I tried tonnes of different lighting options too.  Hopefully you get the gist of it.  I travelled vertically down the quilt, creating rectangular loops - for lack of a better term.  The next line would be offset so the rectangle was in the vertical space left between two rectangles in the adjacent line of quilting.  Does that make sense?  If it doesn't and you are really curious let me know and I'll scan my sketch. 

Yes, I did say sketch there.  Quite often I will sketch out my quilting pattern.  Rarely do I mark, but I find the repetition of sketching the pattern helps me work out kinks and get in the rhythm of the actual quilting.  If I've ever taken an extended break from the quilting I will often do another sketch to warm up.


Finally, it would be mean to share a baby quilt without sharing a picture of the little man.  Here is our nephew, Lucca, enjoying his quilt.  His mom was wondering last week just which of his half dozen homemade blankets would become his blankie.  I vote for mine.

08 May, 2009

The Monster is quite out of sorts with Daddy out of town. She is fighting a bit of a cold and a sister who wakes her up just a bit too early. On this particular morning there were no demands to paint, bake, or even watch videos of The Ting Tings on You Tube. Instead she made herself a bed on the living room floor with Hercules, her crocheted blankie, under her and requests to cover up with her quilts. All three quilts that are hers.

And when we left to run errands the dog made herself at home on the quilts to settle in for a nap. Comfort knows no bounds.

06 May, 2009

Surprisingly Productive

Gee, with Hubby away I am managing to get a lot of things done.  And the girls are even napping at the same time in the afternoon.  Today I actually found myself twiddling my thumbs. Okay, I was on-line with no purpose.  It's the modern day version of twiddling your thumbs.

In just 24 hours I managed to get the quilting done on the Key Lime Pie quilt and get the binding attached.  Even I'm impressed with myself.  Of course my floors are covered in dog hair and I haven't emptied the dishwasher in two days.  If I wasn't blogging during American Idol I would be handstitching that right now (and ignoring the filth).

One last thing to share, I have to tell you that when I ordered fabric the other night I caved on Etsy and ordered from A Stitch in Dye.  Seriously, aren't those the most saturated colours?  I have nothing in mind, we'll see what comes to mind when they arrive.  Now, to stay away from Etsy tonight.

04 May, 2009

Your Parents Are Cool


Because I can't get motivated to quilt this quilt, I thought I would share some overdue pictures of the surprise baby quilt I posted about months ago.  My nephew was born two months ago, but we were only able to share the quilt with the little guy last weekend.  And of course I forgot to charge the camera batteries to take pictures.  These ones come courtesy of my sister-in-law.  I'll post some more detailed shots next week.

Can you see where I got the inspiration?  My brother- and sister-law are very funky decorators.  Once I saw the pictures of this graphic I knew exactly what to do for the quilt.  Out went the circles and in came this improvisational piece.

Included in the fabrics are oranges I won from Sew Mama Sew, the sheets and bed skirt my mother-in-law made for the nursery, and a few from quilts both The Monster and Smilosaurus have.  A most excellent use of stash.

I struggled with the back for a while, I wasn't quite sure how to use the fabric I had.  Ultimately I went for another recreation of the graphic.  The label is simple and I left it unadorned so it didn't distract from the design.  Can you see it there on the right hand side?

There will be more pictures, I promise.  You should see the quilting pattern on this.  Very funky and it was so easy!

In the meantime, I'm just opening a beer and watching 24.  Hubby is out of town and I have no energy to quilt.  Maybe tomorrow.  Oh, and don't tell Hubby, but I also bought some fabric on-line.  Bad Cheryl.

01 May, 2009

Project Improv Quilt

Man, this was a beast to finish!  I was stuck for a while and didn't want to touch this.  My brain couldn't figure out how to do those white triangles on the edges and how to get the top together without inset seams.  Finally, after quite a few naps I got the damn thing done.  And there are still inset seams.

This is my Project Improv quilt.  I wanted to try something new.  Honestly, this isn't that new. The blocks were made exactly as you would a wonky log cabin, only with three sides.  I used a template to trim each block to size. The layout is no different than a very traditional quilt called Thousand Pyramids.  Sometimes you don't need to throw out the old when you want something new.  

AmandaJean inspired this multi-coloured look with her Snippets quilt. The entire top was made from scraps/stash.  That being said, I realized that I have no white batting so I still need to go shopping!