28 July, 2011

Stress Relief

This has been a very demanding week of deadlines, parenting and very early mornings. Mama needs a break.

Even though I've got a million things on the go and my priority should be finishing finishing at least a half dozen of them I decided that the best stress relief was to start a new project. Makes perfect sense.

Amanda Jean's 36 patch quilt along perfectly fits the bill for me. These are easy blocks for me, almost mindless. I had a stack of fabrics sitting there leftover from another project, and a recent discovery that these colours are those exact ones for a needed wedding gift. And done.

Only 32 more blocks and two more big deadlines to go.

26 July, 2011

Fuddy is Not Duddy Challenge

It all started with a random tweet. I can't remember who said it first, but those tweet chats move fast! Before we could type burgundy, the gauntlet was thrown. So thanks to Talkin' Tuesday chats (hosted by Cara) and with the enthusiasm of Barb, Thomas, Susanne, Lesly, and a few more, we've got ourselves a challenge.

Introducing the Fuddy is Not Duddy Challenge.

Take your best burgundy, green, and brown fabrics, add in one more neutral or colour (one only).
Make a doll quilt to prove that these fabrics and colours aren't as old-fashioned as you or anyone else might think.
Share it with the world by October 10, 2011.

A Flickr group will be up soon. And I'll post closer to the end date with a Mr. Linky so everyone can share their finished pieces. It's all in good fun, but a prize or two is highly likely.

Are you up for it? Can you see beyond the bright, saturated colours many of us are instinctively drawn to? Can you combine the traditional and the modern?

21 July, 2011


Have you seen these quilts?

They've gone missing in the pack-up from Market in Salt Lake City this past spring. They are all projects, cover quilts even, from books by C&T. The publishing house is looking to get them back so they artists can have them again.

Note: there is a reward for their return. A not insignificant one.

19 July, 2011

High Romance

My husband and I really know how to turn up the romance. As one friend said, we know how to have a CRAZY time.

This is us. It's after the girls have gone to sleep. We cracked a beer, turned on that day's Tour de France coverage, and basted the triangle quilt.

In his defence (and mine), I made him help me. The quilt is for the girls so I thought he should, literally, have a hand in it. Besides, at 90'' by 90'' it was taking over the living room as it was basted, he might as well have helped.

14 July, 2011

Making It Work

When it came time to put together the Triangle Quilt I had some work to do. When I started out in the bee I wasn't overly particular about finished block size, just asking for a variation of 12.5'' to 18.5''. And in sending out a Canadian fat quarter of the background fabric it isn't always easy to get a 18.5'' block. It would have been impossible with a US fat quarter. That meant that I got blocks 12.5'' square, 18.5'' square, and 12.5'' by 18.5''.

What to do?

My initial plan was to mix it all up and assemble the top like a puzzle, adding extra blocks or chunks as needed. It is a part of the process I actually relish, the puzzle challenge.

When I decided to turn these blocks into a bed quilt, however, I needed something a bit more straightforward. I needed blocks, all the same size. If this quilt was going to get done it needed an easier puzzle.

That meant that I had to turn the smaller blocks into 18.5'' square blocks. A run through my stash revealed that I was no longer in possession of some of the fabrics I'd used. It confused me, because I could have sworn I kept aside some extra fat quarters for this precise purpose. Oh well, nothing a little shopping (at home and at the store) couldn't solve.

Of course I could not find the fabrics I'd used, save for one. No problem. The backgrounds were already a mix of yellows, adding a few more wasn't going to be the end of the world. I truly embrace the improvisational spirit. Tim Gunn would be proud.

It seems fairly standard to add sashing to bee blocks. For one, this increases the size of your quilt without having to make more blocks. Secondly, it is a good way to even out the size of what might be slightly different sized blocks. Even with a good pressing, one person's 12.5'' square can be slightly different than another person's. Adding to each block is an alternative to adding sashing.

Besides, you know how I feel about sashing.

This is what I did. (Using 2 blocks as an example.)

So I added on to about 8 blocks. I also made another 12 blocks from my yellows and leftover geese fabric. I laid out the top.

Then I found the yellow fabric I'd set aside.

12 July, 2011

Calm Complexity

Option 5 won out. Sort of.

After an evening of doodling/sketching and staring at the layouts, Hubby and decided on a wilder pattern that was only indicated by Option 5. So I set up a temporary design wall by taping batting to a beam, put the sprinkler on (and the TV later) for the girls and I spent the afternoon working out the puzzle. After the girls were in bed I picked up the mess made when my youngest (aka Evil Genius) purposely walked through the hanging batting and Hubby helped me finish the puzzle.

(don't ask me why my winter slipper is in the midst of that when this was taken on the hottest day of the year so far.)

It was a fantastic, contemplative exercise. I definitely picked the most complex of the options. Not because I like to make my life difficult, but simply because that's what spoke to me. I could happily have made any one of the quilts, and likely will at some point. Thank-you for all of your opinions.

And maybe, just maybe, I would love to keep up the design wall... It looks good from the front and back.

07 July, 2011

Quilts Recover Update

The sun is shining! I can ride my bike again! And I may have actually sewn too much!

Okay, no exclamation point on that last one. My foot is bothering me and my physio thinks working the foot pedal may be to blame. Yikes! Can't stop me though, it's manageable and I'm on a roll.

Besides, I've also got Quilts Recover to keep me busy. The quilts are starting to come in now that the postal lock-out is over. Good timing too as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge returned the spotlight to the rebuilding of Slave Lake this week.

If you are planning on donating to Quilts Recover there is still time to do so. We are accepting finished, unused quilts in a functional size (baby to full/queen) until the beginning of August. All quilts will be labelled and delivered to families rebuilding in the wake of devastating wildfires in the town of Slave Lake, Alberta.

Many overseas readers have also expressed a desire to donate quilt tops, as the postage for quilts is quite a bit. I can share now that I've lined up a long armer and a few volunteers to help us finish these quilts. I'm still looking for batting and backing donations. If a finished quilt isn't something you can do, maybe you can consider donating some supplies. Or, if you are local, maybe some time to help get the quilts bound and labelled. I will be announcing a sew day for late July/early August to finish all that.

Again, thank-you for all your support for Quilts Recover.

05 July, 2011

Decisions Decisions

The versatility of the half square triangle is liberating. It can also be paralyzing when you actually examine the options for laying out a quilt from nothing but HSTs. If you are a person who has a hard time making decisions it is best not to play with layouts. Go with your gut the first time out.

If, however, you are like me and enjoy playing with layouts, then grab a beer or a tea and contemplate away.

Option 1

Option 2

Option 3

Option 4

Option 5

Option 6

Option 7

Option 8

Option 9

This is just a small sample of blocks, the finished quilt will likely be 16 or 17 blocks across and down.

Now I'm not generally someone who has a tough time with decisions. I learned a long time ago that too much is wasted contemplating "what ifs". That being said, I've got no clue where I want to go with this one. I'm bringing you and Hubby into the fold. You, my readers, because you always point out interesting things I may not see. And Hubby, because this is now going to be a wedding present for friends and if he wants his name on the label then he has to help.

So... opinions?