30 June, 2011

A Triangle Quilt

Welcome to the next hole in my head. No, I'm not even close to finishing the last one. I got tired of trimming all those half square triangles. There are nearly 300! Or it might, just might be evidence of some quilter ADD.

These are the bee blocks from the Pieced Together 2 Bee. I was putting together another, similar top a few months back and The Monster expressed such excitement over the design. That quilt went to live somewhere else, however. Ever since she's been asking for a triangle quilt of her own.

Then, the other night, I walked into this scene. Beyond the damn cuteness of the two of them cuddled up like that, you can see their sweat-soaked heads. They refuse to wear anything but full PJs and fight over the heavy duvet every night. With summer finally here the nights are actually warm. What else to do but make a quilt.

Yes, here in Calgary we switch to quilts in summer, instead of winter. Winter is for duvets (or layered quilts) and summer for quilts. So it is now my mission to get the girls a triangle quilt before summer ends.

I started with 11 blocks of various sizes. I figure I need 25 blocks at 18.5'' square to get to the queen sized quilt I want, with plenty of overhang. Since Sunday afternoon I've managed to make 6 more blocks and cut out 5 more. Some of the blocks might end up being solid yellow. Maybe, maybe not?

We're looking at a long weekend, I wonder how much I can get done? You know, in between actually spending time with the family.

27 June, 2011

Kinda Herringbone

Kinda Herringbone
60'' by 80''

This is my latest finish, my Shades of Grey quilt. And guess what? I'm offering it as a pattern for sale! You can get it at my new Etsy shop.

If you've been reading here for any length of time you know that I will always encourage other quilters to do their own thing. To take an idea, inspiration, or even a pattern and make it their own. This pattern is written that way. It provides the technique and the basics to make a quilt like this, but I also provide tips on making your own size, your own colour, and even with variations in design. Of course, that's not to say you won't make it a way I haven't even thought of! Or that you don't love it as is and want to make it exactly like this quilt.

This quilt and pattern wouldn't exist with the support, inspiration, and work of Jan DeCinto, the force behind Daisy Janie. The design itself was inspired by one of the fabrics in her Shades of Grey line and she helped me tremendously in getting the pattern itself together. To pick up her fabric check out her list of retailers.

A few more details on this particular quilt:

- The top is entirely made from Shades of Grey organic fabrics.
- I used a bamboo batting to try something different.
- The back is made up of wide strips of Kaffe Fassett shot cottons. I chose those intentionally to have a lighter material on the back. With a foundation fabric in the top I wanted to lighten up the quilt overall.
- It is quilted with an organic thread.
- Pieced binding with Kona organic solids.

Thank-you, readers, for continuing to inspire and push me to be a little bit more than I was yesterday.

22 June, 2011


The sun is FINALLY shining here in Calgary. It feels like forever ago that we had it. It's been a rainy spring, one that makes us happy we spent so much money waterproofing our basement a few years ago.

So now The Monster is out of school and out of sorts. We're trying to establish a rhythm to summer without doing too much. I'm trying to find the time to quilt and write without resorting to PBS Kids as babysitter. We're all searching out the summer. Here's where we are so far.

Last touches on that Shades of Grey quilt. I can photograph it now that it's stopped raining.

My husband's labourer, also a part-time tattoo artist put to work with sidewalk chalk and a book about pandas.

In all his fashion glory, this is my husband mowing a maze in the park across the street. The City doesn't seem to be quick to mow it this year so Hubby goes out every time it is sunny and mows paths for us to explore. The stellar fashion choices are always there.

Time spent watching an ant (singular) try to move a dead bee.

A precious visit and loads of snuggles with our latest nephew.

My reflective girl on her 5th birthday last week. Okay, so I caught her trying to look away, but let me have the mystery of her contemplative look. Here's one way we celebrated her birthday.

My youngest, having ANOTHER fit. Such an impatient, stubborn, and tempestuous little girl. And she's three.

But she is also phenomenally silly, adventurous, and obviously inherits her fashion sense from her father.

And now, a whole bunch of pressing to do. I need a break from the cutting - my wrist was killing me the other night when I was slicing my squares into these. I hope I'm not adding carpal tunnel to my summer plans.

Bring it on, summer! We can take it.

16 June, 2011

Hole in My Head

There is that expression... I need a new ______ like I need a hole in my head.

Meet the new hole in my head.

I've got quilts piled up, I am still not 100% after the surgery, and there are other projects waking me up on the morning. But I HAD to start a new quilt. No deadline, no specific audience, no definite plan.

And here are close to 20 fabrics cut into 5'' squares. They will be turned into some sort of half square triangle creation. The fabrics are from this pile, courtesy of Traditional Pastimes, with a few more added for good measure. It's a pile that is both calming and energizing. It makes me smile.

13 June, 2011

Looking Down

Inspiration comes from the strangest spots.

There I was, insanely groggy from anaesthetic and painkillers, looking down at my hospital gown, and all I can think is, "Gee, that would be a cool quilt."

I debated snitching the gown and using it for fabric. But for one, that would be wrong. Two, the health care system doesn't need any more shortfalls. And three, it was a poly/cotton and I'm a fabric snob. I remembered that my camera was in my purse, asked the nurse for a bit of help, and snapped a photo.

Surgery is in the past now. Recovery ahead. The anaesthetic did me in more than it ever has before. My sister so kindly pointed out that I am getting older after all. But the knee is doing okay, better than I expected. I'm hoping that with more time and some therapy it will indeed be more or less 100% as the surgeon hopes. I'm anxious to go for walks with the girls, ride my bike, and test it out. Baby steps.

For now maybe I'll work on some sketches...

07 June, 2011

Crazy Busy

This is a post of random notes.

Thank-you so much for the support for Quilts Recover. I'm seeing posts go up around the blogosphere by friends. Emails are coming in already. If there wasn't this rotating postal strike some quilts might even be on their way already!

There've been a number of suggestions for Quilts Recover. Different chapters, financial donations, and offers of quilting tops sent from far away. I promise you that I'm sorting through all the ideas and figuring out ways to maximize quilts and quilters' generosity. You folks are just awesome.

There wasn't a lot of quilting done in the last week. I was up to my eyeballs in writing deadlines. In one day I interviewed Jennifer Paganelli (Oh, she is so awesome!) and a handful of goat farmers (also awesome). In between butt wiping and baking muffins for preschool. Now that's the life!

Lastly, I'm getting the binding on the Shades of Grey quilt. That's today's task, along with prepping for The Monster's 5th birthday party tomorrow.

Then, on Thursday, I'm having knee surgery. Finally. Just one of my knees, but they will check out the other while I'm down for the count. Needless to say, there won't be a lot of quilty action, aside from handstitching that binding, for the next week or so.

On that note, time to get prepping!

02 June, 2011

Thread Choices

It's down to the quilting on that Shades of Grey Herringbone piece. The first decision is always which thread to use.

I actually starting threading my machine with the normal grey thread I use for piecing. It seemed kind of obvious to use it. It would blend in and carry on the grey theme.

Then I thought about my binding. I'm thinking of going with a turquoise, so I wanted to see if turquoise thread would work. It surely pops! The colour would be great and it would work great with the binding and the back. But I've also got turquoise on the back (shot cottons) and I didn't want to have just one section on the back where the quilting blended in.

Going back and forth between the grey and the turquoise I was torn. The turquoise looks really good on the front, but the grey seemed more in line with the Shades of Grey fabric. Then I remembered that I have a cone of nearly white organic thread. When I put it next to the others I realized that it was the perfect choice. It pops on the back, it reads practically the same as the grey on the front, and it is an organic choice.

This quilt isn't all organic - the muslin foundation isn't organic, the back is a mix of conventional shot cottons, and I tried out a bamboo batting. But I am definitely influenced by Jan's commitment to organics and wanted to push it as much as I could. The organic thread will be a great finish.