Friday, May 28, 2010

Ramblings During Naptime

So many quilters talk of their many WIP's stacked in perilous heaps and stopping mid-project to start a new one.  Because many of my quilts are made to sell or as gifts, I find I don't have this luxury.  My mind is constantly boiling over with new ideas for quilts, but it seems there's always another one I need to be finishing up.  

Anyways, just last night I got completely caught up on orders, so I attacked the pile of three quilt tops that were making me extremely nervous just sitting there and making little whistles and calls in my direction.

This first one is a actually a top I bought from Cluck Cluck Sew's  Etsy shop.  She decided to sell the top for fire-sale price, so I thought it was a cute little thing, and snatched it up.  (Not to mention being made by a quilting celebrity!)
 I used a Snippets print by American Jane for the back and stippled it for a sweet vintage looking baby quilt.

Next I grabbed a top that I pieced from my scraps awhile back, and although I'm not totally in love with it anymore, I'm forcing myself to finish it.  I know that once I pull it out of the dryer all crinkly and warm, I'll like it again.

Here's a sneak peak of the front.  It uses some tiny strips of pink from my scrap bin and lots of Kona Ash.

Here I am at my design wall, piecing the back.  I wasn't sure I was liking this layout, so I took a picture of it, then took a picture with the scooters on top and birdies in the middle and liked that better.  I find that it's very worthwhile to take a picture of layouts on my design wall and then go look at it on my computer.  It's amazing how you see it different in a picture that in real life.  Some of those little things like two red blocks right next to each other, can just pop out at you in a picture.

So here's my final layout which I like better.  Don't ask me why.  And we hope the quilting-washing-shrinking genie sprinkles his magic dust on this one and makes it turn out cute.  (I left parts of my messy sewing room in, just for your viewing pleasure.)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Making a Quilt for a Stranger

I've loved peeking into others' sketch books lately, with people showing more of their process in designing quilts. I decided to put my dilemma out here as well. I have a little different problem here, and one that seems to get me quite often. Because I sell quilts, I get a lot of people saying, "You make nice quilts, just make something I'd like." So therefore I'm the designated mind-reader and taste-definer. Although I'm quite confident in my own likes and dislikes, I find myself feeling a bit lost and insecure when it comes to making a quilt for someone I don't really know.

So let's get down to business. I've been asked to make a quilt for an acquaintance of a friend. So I have no communication with the final recipient. They wanted something 'sports-themed' (I know, my heart sank too) and when I asked about their style, I was told that anything classic, not too 'out-there'. I was relieved when they chose the fabric they wanted as their basis for the quilt because as sports fabric go, it's quite nice. It's here, if you want to see it. It's an Alexander Henry Football print called "Goal to Go", and it has a classic feel with a cream background.

So now I need to come up with a design that

a.) Is classic. Something that a majority of people would like.
b.)Not too time consuming or fussy, since I'm not getting rich any too fast.
c.)Uses the cream and red, as the main colors.
d.)The baby's name embroidered or added in somewhere.
What I've come up with so far: I'm going to use this Football fabric as the backing, not sure if I'll bring any into the top or not. I'll use cream as the background color for the front, and red for binding. (I don't usually decided on binding color beforehand, so this might change yet)

Now I need your help. I'm thinking of using red, blue, green, yellow, brown and cream. I'm also not sure if I'll use just one fabric in each of these colors, or an assortment for a more scrappy look.

I started out with this first one, but quickly abandoned it. (my love for HST's is growing, but they're still not my go-to pattern)

Next I tried this one, which I definitely like better. This one would not include the football fabric on the front, unless I did the centre of each block in this theme fabric and bordered them with the other colors.

Next up is a basic pattern that is sort of my favorite right now.

This picture is flipped sideways. The stripes should be running horizontally. I thought since this fabric was chosen specifically for this quilt, maybe I should incorporate some into the front. Now this goes totally away from what my mind is telling me I want to do, but the challenge here is to think like the general population and not like myself.

So if anyone has any insight for me, I'd love to hear it. And be as blunt as you like, because this is not my personal labour of love, I'm simply trying to make something these folks will LOVE and say "this is exactly what we wanted."

Monday, May 24, 2010

Ordering Fabric Online

I've been reading on a few blogs about taking the process pledge and blogging more about the process of creating, as well as finished quilts. Although I love to see everyone's finished projects, reading about others' way of going about things always gives me new ideas and fresh ways of thinking.

Now, for me the first part of the process (and the most fun) is acquiring fabric, whether for a specific project of just to add to the stash. I'm plunked in the middle of the Canadian prairie and although we do have running water, there's no quilt shop nearby that carries the fabric I'm drooling over. So, 90% of my shopping is done online. This has an up side, which is that with two kids under the age of three, I can shop in my chair, without any of the hair-raising experiences that every mom knows happen with kids and stores.

The one problem though, (besides the cost of shipping) is the gamble of purchasing something you've never seen or felt. I've found the swatches I view on my computer to be very accurate in most cases, but there's also a few times when I open up a package and say "ick."

And when it comes to finding fabrics to coordinate with something you already have? Impossible. This is where I've found stash photos from other quilters to be invaluable. Somehow, a close up photo of the fabric in which you can see the actual texture helps me out.

So here's a few fabrics I've ordered recently, and my rambling impressions of them:

First up, Joel Dewberry Modern Meadow Flower Field in Orange. I love the entire line of Modern Meadow, but I fell deeply for this print, so I ordered a 1/2 yard of three of the colors.

The flowers are so whimsical. I love their shape. But the orange in this print just isn't doing it for me. I admit I'm a little picky with my oranges. But I put it together with a few other oranges from my stash to compare.

To me is seems a little pinky and washed out compared to these other prints. I'm sure I'll find a use for it, but it's not something I'll order again.

Next up is the two others colors that I ordered in this print and these two did NOT disappoint. These colors work well with so many of my others, and the colors are so clear and lovely.

This is the only navy print in my stash, and I'll be on the lookout for sales so I can purchase some more.

Next up is Monaluna Mingle Squares in Red, Tangerine, and Aqua.
These were a great purchase as well. The colors are bright and true, and the design adds such fun, without being too busy. And Robert Kaufman fabrics are so soft as well.

If I've tempted anyone to go buy some more fabric then I've accomplished my mission!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Give Away Winner

Wow, this has been a lot of fun. I think I see more give aways in my future! I'd like to thank each one you that commented, and briefly entertained the thought of making 439 more pillows just so I could send you each an email saying "you won." The voice of reason quickly intervened though and saved me from 950 hours of sewing hexagons.

I've never won a giveaway, although I've entered quite a few, but now that I've hosted one, I've learned a couple of valuable things.

1. If you're entering a giveaway, try to look around their blog a bit and in your comment mention something you liked. It's not necessary, but it will go a ways towards giving them a good day!

2. Ummm... I'm having a mind block. Oh right! Say something nice, even if you don't really mean it:)

I'd also like to thank everyone who chose to follow my blog. I'm honored by each one of you.

So without further blather... chose #138-Camelama. I'll be sending an email to you soon.

And here's a sneak peak for tomorrow- The Festival of Quilts!

Festival of Quilts

I've been looking forward to the Festival of Quilts. I was hoping to have my Hope Valley Circles quilt ready to show, but Life decided otherwise, and inserted a few other items that had to be taken care of.

So, I thought I would just leave it this year, since I have nothing new and amazing to show. Then I thought of two quilts that I've never photographed, let alone posted online. What these quilts lack in intricacy and stunning beauty, they make up for in soft and cuddlyness, and are very well loved, even with no Designer Fabric in sight!

Before my baby was born almost three years ago, I decided I wanted to make him one special quilt that he would use all the time, and that would also be a keepsake for him to keep all his life.

This is the quilt I made him. It was made before I discovered Heather Bailey, Joel Dewberry, Denyse Schmidt... Oh the innocence I had! It is also quilted in the ditch, which is somewhat uncool nowadays, but guess what? I still kind of like it, and my son sleeps with it every night. It is also made with pieced with circles, which I jumped right into back then, not realizing that they were supposedly hard to do, and now I can say I have no fear of them, (and you can try them too, they're quite forgiving. Just make sure you have a proper template.)

Two years later, I was expecting our second child, so I made a quilt for her. This time I tried wonky log cabins, which I'm not sure that I'm really into anymore, but that's life.
I also tried pebble quilting on this quilt, which is another cool feature that I will never do again. It has awesome texture, but SO hard to make it look nice, and you need a lot of patience and perfectionism to make this work, and those are two things I don't have.

So there are my two quilts that are not really show-worthy but they're very well loved, and they won't even be offended if no one else likes them, because they just love being snot-wipers and cuddlers to their very sweet owners.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


I'm joining in on the fun with SewMamaSew's big Giveaway Day. Go here for a list of all your chances to win great handmade items or supplies.

Now, for my contribution.

Meet the Hopefull Hexagon Pillow. I want to keep this thing. It makes my thirty-year-old chocolate brown couch seem almost cool. It will make your couch look cool too. (couch?, sofa?, whatever you call it. I'm from Canada)
So all you need to do is comment, of course. If you say something interesting, that's wonderful. If you say something nice, that's great too. Or if you're like me and have a hard time thinking up original comments, just say 'nice pillow', or 'ugly pillow' or tell me your current favorite fabric. I'm thinking if you showed up here from SewMamaSew you've got to be a fellow fabric junkie! And I love hearing about other's fave fabric lines.
You're welcome to enter from anywhere in the world. The giveaway will be open till May 20 and the winner will be chosen randomly. I will ship by May 24. I am giving away the pillow cover only. It fits a standard 16" form which can be found at craft stores.

There. I think I followed all the rules and stated all necessary requirements.

Now go pad your chair with lots of soft pillows cause your butts gonna get sore sitting at the computer for hours checking out all the giveaways. Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, May 13, 2010


I'm thinking of making a half hex quilt, so decided to try it on a small project first. My least favorite part was the cutting, since me and templates aren't friends, but if you were doing a larger project making more than one hex from the same fabric you could cut strips the right height and then stack them and cut the angles.
Other than that, it was relatively simple to piece, and since I doubt I'll be mastering the hand sewn hexes anytime soon, I think this will be a nice alternative.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Everybody's So Nice

First of all, thanks so much to everyone who's commented here. I'm just blown away that anybody has stopped here at all. I started this blog because I thought it looked like fun and as a way to see my progress and what I'm working on. The fact that I'm getting feedback and the chance to interact with others who share my interests is such a cool bonus. Anyways, I need to figure out how to reply to individual comments. Guess I'll go find my friend "Help" again. ( I'm SO dumb when it comes to some of this stuff, yet it gives me a giddy feeling when I can actually figure it out by myself without asking my husband!)
On a different topic here, I just love actual photos of fabric, as opposed to flat swatches that you see in online shops. For me it give more of an actual feel for what the fabric looks like, and of course makes it way more tempting to buy. For example, I've been eyeing the Joel Dewberry Modern Meadow fabric and and loving it, but stayed firm so far. Then I saw this picture, and weakened almost to the point of buying some.
Besides that, I just love seeing other people's stash. It's just so pretty. I'm thinking I should make a quilt that looks like shelves with stacks of bright colors. Hmmm...

Somebody please invent more hours in the day. Or else discover a robot who will cook, clean, and fold laundry so that I can spend all my time reading stories to the kids, going for walks and making every quilt that pops into my head.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Is This Old Fashioned Enough?

As I mentioned here, my friend asked me to make her some vintage inspired baby quilts, which is proving to be an interesting challenge for me. I made the nine patch, and now I made this one with 1 1/2 charm packs of Whimsy. But now I'm wondering if this is vintage enough, or should I get up the courage and tea dye it?
I've never tea dyed something before, and it's definitely not my style, but she mentioned that she liked it, so... Help! I'm so scared to do it! Please tell me it looks old-fashioned enough, or else reassure me that it will look even better dyed. (I wouldn't use actual tea, but the dye that's supposed to look that way. )
I can't find too much advice or before and afters online, so I'm thinking I might try it on a small piece of fabric first. By the way, I just LOVE the color of the aqua in this line. Actually the whole Whimsy line has such a warm whimsical feel, I'm tempted to buy more, but my husband lovingly reminded me today, that I'm selling quilts to make a bit of money, and if I spend too much on stocking fabric, I might end up with thousands of dollars worth of outdated fabric sitting on my shelves. (Thousands? I don't know where he came up with such an outrageous number!)

Monday, May 10, 2010

An Ode to Simple Squares

Need to whip up a quick quilt for a friends baby? Not sure what style of quilt they'd like? Or just loving some fabrics and no ideas how to make them pop. I always fall back on simple patchwork squares. There's something so satisfying about laying the squares out in a pleasing arrangement, then sewing them together.
Ashley of FilmintheFridge has popularized this age old pattern and helped make it seem new and fresh. It's a great way to use a charm pack, but also works well with any other of the wonderful fabric out there.
What's your fave way to quilt a squares quilt? I like cross hatch quilting, but don't like marking, so I usually stick with straightline quilting 1/4 inch from the seam on both sides and I love it every time. I hope there are many more of these quilts in my future.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Hope Valley Dreams

This, (minus the Full Moon Polka Dots) is going to turn into this. Just as soon as I can get a few other projects out the door.
Ever since I made this table runner, I've been thinking of Hope Valley in terms of circles. Although sewing curved seams like this doesn't bother me, I hate cutting out the pieces cause they're so fiddly and I have to use a scissors.
Hence, I will go with the easier way of raw edge applique and I think it will look awesome. I'm afraid the problem will be that I'll be so tempted to keep this for myself.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Wonderland Table Cloth

95% of the things I make are sold or given away, so when I discovered Wonderland by Momo, I fell completely in love and said, this is going in my house. So I bought a jelly roll and a layer cake, and dreamt for months of what I'd use them for. Then on my birthday last year I cut into my jelly roll and made a quilt to hang over our very ugly unused front door. (I'll have to talk about that one another day when I get some decent pictures.)

Then the other day I got inspired to make a tablecloth with the layer cake, so I cut it into 5" squares and lined it with flannel rather than batting, which makes for a perfect drapey tablecloth.
I used an aqua flat sheet that I bought at Target when we were in the States a while a go. (Why didn't I buy more?) Although I hesitate to use sheets in quilts that I sell, it works perfectly when I want something cheap, and when I'm not in the mood to piece the back.

So I'm totally in love with this tablecloth, even though it ends up in a heap on the floor about 15 times a day (and that is NOT an exageration) My toddler thinks it's the neatest thing to go under the table and pull the table cloth down, pretending he's closing his garage door. And my husband thinks it's very impractical and always asks "Am I supposed to eat on this thing, or take it off?" But it's made cleaning up lunch fun, cause I can't wait to wipe the table and put this happy hunk of textiles back on the table and give it a little stroke and pat before I walk away.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

You couldn't get much farther from modern, could you? Oh well, my idea of what a modern quilt is will be saved for another day. A friend has asked me to make three vintage, old-fashioned, or retro baby quilts for her, so I'm finding it kind of a fun challenge to make something in this style that's still enjoyable for me to make. I've also found that my stash includes very few old-fashioned prints, so time to go fabric shopping, right? I take any excuse I can find.
I was pleased to find this shop on Etsy, that carries piles of reproduction prints and has great customer service. And of course, one has to be efficient and fill a flat rate envelope, so I found a few cute prints to add to my stash as well!

For this quilt I used one charm pack of Wee Play by American Jane, and approx. 1 yard of quilter's muslin. I've found that muslin is the perfect background color to go with American Jane fabrics. I cut the charm pack into quarters, making 2.5" squares, which made 6.5" squares when sewn into nine patches. I'm really happy with how it turned out, and am thinking I'll be revisiting this simple pattern in the future. It's truly a timeless style, depending on the fabrics you choose. Right now I'm thinking, replace the musling with Aqua Kona, and make the printed squares in scrappy reds. Oh I wish I could start on that right now, rather than the many other custom orders I need to fill.

Simple Solids

There's something so delicious about a stack of solid colors. Right now I'm really excited about the idea of using unusual colors for sashings. In quilts where I would normally use white, gray, or tan, I want to try using aqua,(of course), lime, and yellow.

I ordered a Kona Color Card from Pink Chalk Fabrics, and I can't wait till it gets here. Then, I'll have to wait till Hancocks of Paducah has their next free shipping sale, which will hopefully coincide with a 20% off Kona Cottons sale, and we'll stock up on some colors that we're sorely missing.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Jelly Filled

I love this pattern. It's by Camille of Thimbleblossoms, and uses exactly one jelly roll. I rarely use patterns, and when I do, I usually feel the need to change something, so this is one of the few quilts I've made that is exactly like the pattern. Wait! Actually the pattern calls for borders, which I didn't add...

I used jelly roll strips of the Kissing Booth colorway of Nicey Jane, then added a bunch of my favorite colors and prints. I backed it with soft pink flannel with tiny white polka dots, which makes it one of the softest and squishiest quilts ever.

I'm thinking of using my Arcadia jelly roll to make this pattern as well. Of course, my plans change daily, so we'll see.

Another Drop in the Puddle

Like one more raindrop falling silently into a puddle...

This blog plops quietly, with hardly a ripple, into the large puddle of the blogosphere.

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