28 February, 2011

So Girly

Remember my round robin? I did my rather traditional blocks for my three fellow robins. (Sorry, missing a photo from one.) I started with black and white. This is what came back to me.

It is so ridiculously girly and pretty and fun. So, totally not me. You know what, though? I love it! I never would have put pink with it, or flowers. This is gorgeous and I'm glad I trusted others to do something fun. This entire round robin has been a great experiment in letting go and experimenting. Compassion too, as you have to think about what the recipient might want out of the quilt.

It's up to me now to add another border or two then finish it up for our June meeting. I'm thinking of another round consisting of smaller chopsticks blocks like the center. Maybe.

The series on quilting with kidlets underfoot will run every Monday in March. I'll be back next week with the first post on managing your space.

25 February, 2011

Mable Murple

We're taking a bit of a diversion from the usual book reviews this week. That's because I, and my girls, cannot resist this book. And when it's about colour, then we quilters are automatically drawn to it.

Mable Murple is the latest offering from a fantastic Canadian author, Sheree Fitch. The illustrations are by Sydney Smith (who also illustrated The Dread Crew, another deleriously fun kids book.)

An energetic rhythm to the book and an all purple colour scheme. That pretty much defines heaven for many a preschool girl! Mable is an adventurous girl with some crazy schemes. No wonder my children love this book.

Check out the way these letters are put together. Now that's a quilt in the making. I might be tempted to make a purple quilt, just with the influence of this book. I do hope she adds more to the rainbow of books because this family is hooked.

23 February, 2011

Workshop in Progress - February 23

Been quilting a lot lately, in a lot of different colours. This has me thinking about thread storage.

I used to have a box, just a paper box, filled with thread. Actually, I still have it, but I don't use any of that thread anymore because my Pfaff really doesn't like to sew with Sulky. Since switching to Presencia thread I've only bought colours as needed. Until this rainbow showed up it was all content to sit in a vase in my dining room.

Now, however, the vase is overflowing and I've got bobbins a plenty filled with pretty colours. Before I jump in the car and drive to the store I wanted to ask you, my readers, for your thread storage ideas.

Do you store the bobbins with the corresponding thread?
If yes, how?
If no, how?
Is it better to have it in a box?

I welcome any tips you've got.

21 February, 2011

Playing with Scissors

It was Sunday morning and I didn't quite clue in to what she said. I was settling in to the comfy chair with my morning tea. The girls were all set with their new favourite show (Wild Kratts). Then the little one sometimes known here as Smilosaurus but more commonly known in this house Evil Genius says to me, with load of pride in her voice, "Mama, I cut that thing you use."

Sure, Babe, I thought, as I sipped my tea. Whatever you say. Mama needs her caffeine this morning.

Once the caffeine kicked in I picked up the quilt next to me. Thread, thimble, scissors, and needle threader all present and ready for some handstitching. Then I went to actually thread a needle. Hmm, those fragile, thin diamonds of wire were suddenly missing from both ends of my Clover threader. For 30 seconds I actually thought I wrecked them when I put it away the night before. Then... wait a minute, I remembered that random comment from earlier from that child of mine.

I called my kidlet over and asked her to show me exactly what she cut. Proudly she pulled out my needle threader. Somehow, I couldn't even get upset. (As I normally would, let's be honest.) When I asked her why, this is what she answered:

"Mama, I'm just like Curious George."


In honour of all of us quilters, artists, crafters, and creative folks I thought I would do a series of posts on trying to quilt with kids around. Tips and tricks for actually getting things done with kids around. I'll do a new post every Monday for a month. Please send in any tips or stories you've got, I'd love to share them too.

Stay tuned next week for my first post on setting up your space to work for you and your kids.

18 February, 2011

Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing

Pulled this one out of the vault, didn't I?

My Dad handed this book to me a few months ago. I'm sure it came with the decades long Reader's Digest subscription our family had. For the last few decades it's been hiding in a table at my parent's place. Seeing as I sew, Dad gave it to me. I was taken in by the cover immediately. Isn't it fantastic?

It's gloriously retro and fantastically detailed. If I ever decide to actually sew clothes I guarantee I will pull this out as a resource. For now I can be entertained and even slightly inspired by the 70s styling. Just check out this bed cover! There is definitely a quilt in that.

Some of the sewing projects included remind me of many that I've seen on blogs and in books in the last few years. Napkins, placemats, playmats, wall organizers, bags, pillows, and even soft animals and toys. Goes to show that not everything is new.

The book also came with a little pamphlet about sewing with scraps. My favourite project, by far, is the Curler bag. Now does that ever bring back memories! My stick straight hair tied up in hard plastic curlers after the Saturday night bath. Just for the hope of curls for church in the morning. Curls that were long gone by the time church was over. I wonder if the people sitting behind me ever watched my hair fall instead of the service? I'm sure that's what I would have done with my head in front of me. Shhh, don't tell my Dad.

16 February, 2011

Workshop in Progress Feb 16

First off, I am so sorry that I never got a chance to visit last week's posts. A few more weeks and I'll be back here full force. So, what did I miss?

And what's going on this week in the Workshop?

14 February, 2011

Some Hearts

This is about as close as I get to heart related items in my house. We aren't a Valentine's Day kind of house. Hubby has the typical male disdain, and I frankly don't care that much. But wait, these aren't my hearts!

This is the last of the round robin quilt tops from my guild (Hey, check out our new website!). We all got our own tops back on the weekend. I'll share mine soon. But this last one has hearts, so I'll share it with you today.

I added on the Prairie Braid border. I've actually always wanted to try one of these. It is very easy, but time consuming. And you do waste the fabric that you have to trim off. Oh well, it is all about the design. And it came together really well. I think it's a great finish to the top. (And please ignore my supremely ugly kitchen floor.)

Now that the tops are back with their original owners we have a few months to add to it, if we want, and finish the quilts. I can't wait to see how everyone finishes up with their quilts.

Happy Valentine's Day!

11 February, 2011

Guide to Machine Quilting

Don't let the cover fool you, modern quilters. Hands down, I believe this is the best resource book for machine quilting out there. You may never do trapunto or feathers, but even for your basic free motion stipple, this book will help.

Diane Gaudynski is the machine quilting guru. Award winning, she has every authority to speak on this subject. And speak she does. She teaches and blogs, so you can find more from her all over the place.

Her book is full of exercises, tips, supplies, concepts and trouble shooting. Whenever I am having a problem with something, anything, in my quilting this book is the first thing I pick up. I almost always find the information I need to solve the problem. Likewise, this is an excellent inspiration for technique and free motion ideas.
The book covers set-up and basting, important factors in actually enjoying machine quilting. Yes, enjoying. When it goes smoothly, machine quilting is actually kind of exciting. You see your movements, your efforts literally changing the weight of the quilt in your hands. For me, that is a thrilling thing in the process of creating my quilts.

It does seem odd to me that there are some actual quilt projects at the back of the book. Yes, they show off the quilting, but it seems kind of irrelevant. I would have rather seen more examples of quilting techniques.

I strongly recommend that everyone keep this book in their library. It is worth it.

Thanks to Elle for introducing me to the book in the first place.

09 February, 2011

Workshop in Progress Feb 9

Another week and I've got nothing to share with you, sorry. Very busy, but nothing to show for it. But I can tell you that The Monster now knows how to turn and stop when she skis.

It looks like many have you have been busy, it's great to see. I'm really enjoying reading all the posts. I hope everyone is getting some good feedback on the work they are sharing. If any concerns are coming up for you with the process, don't hesitate to email me directly.

(On that note, if you've emailed me recently and I've not got back to you, my apologies. Including the person who emailed me for a specific recipe and I accidentally deleted the email before I sent the recipe.)

07 February, 2011

Monday Morning Treat

Thanks for all the kind works, folks. I'm back with the winner of the magazine.

Mimi! You were the magic number 53. I'll be sending a note to you shortly to get your address.

Back on Wednesday for the Workshop.

04 February, 2011

Celebrating and a Giveaway

This freelance writing gig thing is a lot of fun! A lot of work, but a lot of fun.

The latest issue of Mark Lipinksi's Christmas 365 includes a few articles from me. Considering that one was on New Year's dishes for the many different New Year celebrations - recipes included! - I thought it only appropriate that I share it now. It is right around Chinese New Year after all. Gung Hei Fat Choi!

This issue also includes a piece on Holiday disasters. Some very funny stories from some quilty friends in their too. Thanks Jacquie, Katie, Rossie, and Jen for sharing.

I'd love to send a copy along to one of you, my faithful readers and supporters on this journey of mine. Leave a comment between now and Sunday night (Feb 6), midnight MST. I'll send a copy of Christmas 365 to one lucky reader. Make sure you include your email or have it set so I can reply to you.

Have a great weekend!

02 February, 2011

Workshop in Progress - February 2

February already?

We, like most of Canada and North America, are enjoying fresh snow. At least we have the gorgeous sky to go with it.

I've got nothing for the workshop this week, been busy meeting deadlines. So, what have you guys got this week?

Remember, make sure you link to a specific post and not just your blog.