Friday, 10 July 2015

MQG Challenge Bookcase Runner

This summer's Modern Quilt Guild challenge was sponsored by Riley Blake Designs, who provided participants with five fabric cuts from their Cottage Garden collection in order to make something cool that is quilted, and try something new. I immediately liked these fabrics. The large flowers are very mandala-like, and I decided that I wasn't going to cut them up. They became the basis for my design.

The new-to-me element that I incorporated into this quilt was trapunto. Each flower has an extra layer of batting to make it stand out. I did it the really easy way - none of that messy water dissolving thread or cutting and stuffing from behind... I just used a thin Aurifil thread to attach batting, and then outlined the flowers again with that same thread when quilting. It worked great, check out that awesome puff!

Each strip block is slightly different. I even used the ribbon!

This is a bookcase runner, made for adding some much needed colour to the naked bookshelves in our library/guest room. It's just over 10 inches wide and 40 inches tall. In addition to the fabrics that arrived in my magic box, I used some of the coordinating Wintergreen to give the prints a little bit more room to breathe.

I had originally put this whole thing together without the blender fabric. It looked like this:

I found it too busy, and immediately set about taking it apart. After a little bit of shopping, it went back together and I was much happier with the result.

That little bit of extra fabric also gave me enough material to make a fun quilt back. I used the "Jelly Roll Race" method with 2.5" strips, and ended up with backing that I like almost as much as the front. Too bad no one will get to see this side while it's hanging up!

Monday, 18 May 2015

Prairie Swoon Baby Quilt

It's Blogger's Quilt Festival time again, and the perfect opportunity to post some pictures of a quilt I completed last fall. I'm naming this one Prairie Swoon, for its wheat coloured ring (and it being made in the Prairies of course).

I'd developed a bit of a crush on the swoon block, which has been all over the place for the past couple of years, but wasn't really interested in making enough of them for a whole quilt. One large swoon block turned out to be ideal for a baby quilt - and this block definitely is large. It finished at 24" x 24". Here it is next to some stuff for a size comparison:

I went with a grey background, which I really like with the bright block colours. It was basted and quilted at one of our guild sew days. I quilted the whole thing with straight lines an inch apart, adding a circle right in the centre to serve as a focal point.

I wasn't sure about the circle at first, and as time went on it bothered me more and more. After a week, I finally sat down and picked it out. Ahhh, so much better!


This quilt finished at about 30" x 36", and is backed with flannel. I didn't get a picture of the back, but it features the same monkey fabric as my Safari blanket. It is now off to keep a little guy warm!

I am sharing this as part of the Blogger's Quilt Festival small quilts category. Head on over there to be inspired by what others have been designing and sewing this year.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Eight Doctor Embroidery + Pattern

I'm very proud to announce that I got actual work done on a Doctor Who related project this weekend! That's right, I started quilting my TARDIS blue improvised block, which has been waiting patiently for attention all year. I hope to finish it this week, as well as another half dozen of the blocks for the colour block quilt. I'm excited to see this one finally coming together.

To celebrate, how about a Doctor Who pattern? Meet Doctor number eight.

This is one of my favourites out of all the blocks I drew for this project. It's easily recognizable, even though this Doctor only appeared in one movie. The costume came off particularly well, considering the tie/collar/lapel overload going on. Ditto the hair. I think my sketch was originally based on this picture.

The pattern for this block can be found HERE.

This project is part of a series of embroidered blocks I made while participating in the Doctor Who Stitch Along at Fandom in Stitches. Check them out for a whole collection of Doctor Who designs! I'll be posting my version of their ninth Doctor block shortly.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Frozen Snowman Mug Rug

The theme of our latest guild swap was a Frozen holiday, using blues instead of the usual green and red. I made a hexagon and felt mug rug, based on this one from Simply Put Plus found on Pinterest. The advertised pattern was nowhere to be found, but it wasn't hard to improvise.

I'm happy with how the snowmen faces turned out, and will have to remember that hexagons make such cute snowmen for future winter projects. Instead of using batting for this one, I sewed the hexagon flower directly onto the light coloured felt, and used a darker felt for backing.

I got to bring this little beauty, made by Brass and Baubles, home with me, which is exciting! Love the raised hexagons on this. It's hard to see from the photo, but the white background fabric has some silver highlights, and the whole thing is quilted in a minty coloured thread.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Cybermen Embroidery Pattern for Cyber Monday

As you may recall, I participated in the Fandom in Stitches 50th anniversary Doctor Who Stitch Along, and have so far shared my blocks for Doctors 1 through 7, along with some of my own patterns. Before we get into more Doctors, I thought I would celebrate Cyber Monday by sharing my attempt at a Cyberman block.

Given the evolution that they've undergone over the course of the series, I wanted to show an original Cyberman from old Who, as well as a present-day Cyberman from the new series. I tried to keep the design simple, while still doing justice to the complexity of the suits.

Not sure if this embroidered block is as successful as the others. I started with a mixture of black and white thread to try and achieve a shiny metallic texture, which didn't really work. Black thread alone ended up looking much better. The other issue, I think, are the details of the face and logo, which might be a bit too fine to be rendered properly with thread. Despite that, they're certainly recognizable as Cybermen, and will look great as part of the Doctor Who quilt I'm planning.

If you'd like to try your hand an embroidering a Cyberman (original, new, or both), the pattern is posted HERE. More Doctor blocks coming soon!

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Safari Monkeys Blanket

My newest completed project is a safari themed baby blanket. It's made from two layers of flannel, and loosely quilted with a boxy design. The front is entirely made of the cute blue animal print that you see above, and the back is pieced from two Riley Blake Snips & Snails prints. I probably didn't actually need this fabric in both colours, but I couldn't resist tiny monkeys. Tiny monkeys! So how many tiny monkeys actually make up this blanket? This many:

I also put together a quick baby wipes holder to accompany the blanket, similar to this one from a few years ago, but without the cream compartment. (Couldn't find a travel-sized tin of diaper cream anywhere.) Instead, I made the pouch a tiny bit bigger to fit a diaper or disposable changing pad.

The safari monkeys blanket is currently on the way to its new home, where I hope it can provide lots of warm snuggles!

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Zen and the Art of Hand Sewing

Greetings fellow crafting and quilting enthusiasts taking part in Blogathon Canada. I'm happy to be participating again this year, and excited to get acquainted with, and be inspired by, other Canadian makers. To find out more about the event, head on over to the Sew Sisters blog, and be sure to stop by and visit today's Albertan hosts: Leanne at She Can Quilt, and Kelsey of Everyday Fray. Did I mention that there are prizes?

So what have I been up to lately? Well, there wasn't much time to spend in my sewing room this past summer, and I started looking for a way to get my sewing fix without having to spend hours in the cold dark basement. The solution: hand piecing.

I started out with a fairly simple Wheel of Fortune block inspired by the Spin It Again quilt from Vintage Quilts Revival. I traced out all of the pattern pieces on foundation paper using my laptop screen as a lightbox, and then stuck them in a ziplock bag with some scraps of rainbow and background fabrics, my needle book, clips, and some airline-friendly scissors. A week later, I had most of a quilt block completed and a new addiction.

Foundation piecing done this way turned out to be much more approachable for me. It's easier to hold the fabrics in place and see what I'm doing when things aren't zipping by at sewing machine speed.

I ramped up the complexity a bit for my next attempt, with the Starlight block from the Quilting Gallery's Delightful Stars QAL. I decided, in my naive enthusiasm, to change the order of assembly to make the seams nest together more tightly. The result was in fact the opposite, and it made my points a little bit unbalanced. Important lesson learned. It isn't particularly noticeable though, and I'm really happy with the block.

I also attempted to adapt an English paper piecing design so that it would result in a square block (without applique). I came across this excellent Rose Star tutorial over at Summerfete. It not only shows how to draw the templates from scratch, but also has some examples of how to set it into the background by adding hexagons. I look forward to many more hexagon-turned-square EPP blocks in the future.

Stay tuned for the next hand pieced sampler block, a Circle of Geese, which is only one goose short of completion!