Friday 28 September 2012

From K - Finished: Boys + Birds + Bees Quilt

I've already said it once, twice, and three times over, but I have to say it again... I am head over heels for Tula Pink's newest line, the Birds and the Bees! While I was recently on vacation I couldn't help but continuously think about the possibilities for my B&B stash (even while sitting on camels no less!). Once I returned it took everything in me to finish my long standing WiP (my now finished wax print quilt top) before I allowed myself to clear my design wall and move on to starting something new.

Itching to pick up a rotary cutter and slice into my first ever set of charm packs, this weekend I whipped up this baby quilt for a good friend who recently had her second baby boy. I'm definitely of the mind that while boys may always love blue and green, they can also be open minded. To liven up Megan's male dominate household, I made sure to add some depth by incorporating some of the other rich jewel tone prints in Tula's line such as the golds, plums and browns.

I love the way each print stands on its own against the stark white of the negative space. I used Cluck Cluck Sew's Inside Out pattern and think it was the perfect fit for this line. I can definitely see myself using this pattern again in the future for other prints I may want to show off.

Because this is a baby quilt and we're nearing into colder months, I thought a flannel backing would be a good fit for this gift. I used a herringbone print from Woolies by Bonnie Sullivan and Maywood Studies,  and I am so please with how soft it is to the touch, even after washing. While the pattern is quite subtle and understated, I like how it doesn't fight with the quilt top for attention.

Since I went pretty neutral on the backing, I wanted to add a bit of pop with the binding. I used a vibrant chartreuse Kimono print by Ty Pennington, and I think it did the trick.

Final Quilt Details:
  • Quilt Name: Boys + Birds + Bees
  • Finished Size: baby quilt (48" x 36")
  • Fabric: Kona Cotton in White, 18 prints from the Birds and the Bees by Tula Pink
  • Pattern: Inside Out by Cluck Cluck Sew
  • Quilting: stipple

Lastly I wanted to give a special shout out and a huge thank you to a dear friend who not only graciously took all of the beautiful photos in today's post, but also did her best to catch my good side in this last photo (trust me it's not an easy task!). Love you Brit!

Thursday 27 September 2012

From A - Chill Chaser

I know I've complained about the changing weather a few times now. The leaves have just barely started to turn here in Toronto but somehow a frigid and persistent wind has been able to make it feel a little bit like winter. Good news for all of you readers is that I am finally doing something about it. Enter Anna Maria Horner's Figure 8 Scarf.

I ordered the fabric for this scarf last winter and then never managed to get around to sewing it up! It's a bit bulky to wear but overall, I think that it will add a much needed shot of colour to my fall wardrobe.

Best part of all is that it only took me an evening from start to finish. Gotta love those instant gratification projects!

Monday 24 September 2012

From K - Birds, Bees and a Baby Boy

Well it's official up here in Canada, summer is on the way out, and fall is upon us. Last Saturday marked the very first day of fall, with the autumnal solstice - sorry is the science nerd in me showing?

There is nothing quite like cool nights, crisp air, and turning leaves to makes this city girl domesticated. As it turns out this is an especially useful time for me to be motivated, since I'll be making a road trip to my home town in less than a month.
In the midst of visiting lots of friends and family back home, I'll also be visiting a few new babies. One of my sweetest highschool friends recently had her second baby boy and I thought this was a perfect time to sew up a quilt using my Tula Pink Birds and Bees charm packs.

I love how Tula's lines always incorporate a wide range of colours stories, and I couldn't help but be drawn to the blues, greens, mustards, and rich purples in the B&B prints for this baby boy quilt.

Along with the bold colour scheme, I especially love each of the print designs in this line, and wanted to make sure I was able to show them off adequately. I decided to maximize the prints by using Cluck Cluck Sew's Inside Out quilt pattern.

This is the first Cluck Cluck Sew pattern that I have sewn and I was extremely impressed with how well written it was. Not only were the directions simple, but I was surprised by how quickly this quilt top came together. Before I had even finished this quilt top I went online and ordered a copy of their Pow-Wow quilt pattern. 

Yesterday I used the back of my new design wall to spray and pin baste this quilt, and I was thrilled with how useful it was. You might remember back in my design wall reveal that my husband cleaverly added white laminate to the back of both design boards so I could use them to baste on. Not only did the pins slide in smoothly, but my hardwood floors didn't suffer a single scratch!

I'm planning to quilt this puppy up in the next few days and will be back friday to show you the finished quilt.

Sunday 23 September 2012

From A - Tanks, That Was Fun

After a truly crazy week, I managed to finish my second Wiksten Tank and take advantage of a few hours without rain to get some outdoor modeled shots of both tanks.

The first one I made was a bit of a muslin before I started cutting into my prized Liberty of London tana lawn. The fabric I used for this first one is a gorgeous quilting cotton from Martha Negley's Farmington collection.

I really love this print and plan to use it as the lining in the duffel bag I plan to make in the next few weeks.

The second one is made from my precious stash of tana lawn in Wooky Hole. I love the seemingly random mixing of colours in this fabric. The print has so much variation and detail. It really reminds me of striations found in rocks and minerals. As with my feather tank, I took the time to make a perfectly matched breast pocket.

This is the first time that I've actually sewn with any of my Liberty. It is such gorgeous fabric with such a fabulous hand and drape. It was definitely a bit nerve racking to sew since the fabric is so fine and lightweight. I'm hoping that this simple tank will inspire me to crack into my Liberty stash and make a few more projects from it before too long.

I am really surprised how the different drape in the two fabrics changed the way each of these fits. I don't make many garments but I'm really happy with how these tanks turned out. I've been wearing them constantly since finishing them up (with cardigans since the fall chill has definitely set in).

Hope you are all enjoying a fantastic weekend!

p.s. - is anyone else beyond excited to get their hands on Liberty's line of quilting cottons? I'm stalking searching etsy and other favourite fabric sellers websites almost daily. I'm hoping to get my hands on a FQ bundle of all 55 prints. Let me know if you have any leads!

Thursday 20 September 2012

From A&K - Great Canadian Quilt Off, eh!

We thought it was high time to have a little shindig here on the blog and nothing says fun like a bit of competition. Two blogger cousins, two quilts, one pattern....enter the Great Canadian Quilt Off, eh!

We will both make the same pattern at the same time, using different fabrics and whatever means necessary to get 'er done in 4 weeks. Pretty cool, eh

What lovely quilt pattern will take top honours? Well majority rules here on the blog and one of our lovely readers voted for Rachel Griffith's Smitten earlier this month, so Smitten it is.

Feel free to join in and make a Smitten of your very own (Canadian citizenship not required). If you want to play please leave a comment on this post telling us who you are and where you're from or email us at contact AT everydayfray DOT com and we'll put together a list of participants so we can all keep in touch and motivate each other.

In case you are still on the fence, there are some lovely Smitten quilts to be found here, here, here, and here that might just tip the balance for you.

The pace will be slow and manageable since we both have full-time jobs and a whole lot of other things to worry about. The schedule will look something like this:

Week 1: Cut your fabric and start working on blocks
Week 2: Finish making blocks
Week 3: Attach borders and finish quilt top
Week 4: Baste and quilt

Who knows, if this goes well we might even triple up and turn it into some kind of hat-trick (we couldn't help ourselves on that one, after all this wouldn't be very Canadian if we didn't include some kind of hockey reference).

Welcome one and all to the Great Canadian Quilt Off, eh! We'll be kicking Week 1 off on October 1st so be sure to swing by to read all about our fabric selections and how the whole getting started thing is working out.

Wednesday 19 September 2012

From K - Magic Wax Print Quilt Top

I'm fresh off vacation, soaking in the crisp cool fall air, and polishing up my first of two wax print quilts has been weighing heavy on my mind. This past weekend I hunkered down and pieced together my quilt top, using the magic number squares that I had previously prepared.

Because this quilt top is created entirely out of remnant fabric pieces brought back from Ghana, I didn't have a consistent range of prints in each color, so I did my best to distribute my prints as broadly as possible within their colour grouping. Using 2.5, 4.5, and 6.5 inch squares, I arranged my quilt top using a loose rainbow gradient to help provide a general sense of organization to the quilt.

Last Friday I had an unfortunate run-in on the basketball court and now my foot is sprained... and hopefully not broken (tomorrows x-rays will tell). Determined to finish this quilt top over the weekend though, I took the opportunity to put my 'Start/Stop' Button into good use while I elevated and iced my ankle. I have to say that it was a little awkward at first, but in general, it worked quite well for straight line piecing. On a slower setting, and using a few pins, I even managed to line up my seams quite well.

Though this is just the first of two quilt tops I plan to make with this fabric, I am pretty pleased with how the first one turned out. Playing around with magic numbers was a fun experiment, however it was more time consuming that I had originally thought it would be. For my second wax print quilt top, I might just do some improvisational piecing and we'll see where that leads.

This week I plan on taking a break from the wax prints and starting back up on a couple of baby gifts that have been on the back burner. I'm looking forward to a couple of fast completed projects in the future.

Monday 17 September 2012

From A - Making Pockets Match

There's nothing quite like those finishing touches that turn something good into something great. That is the feeling I got from taking the time to perfectly match the prints on my Wiksten tank so that the breast pocket faded right into the front of the top.

Although I am sure there are about 1000 other (and likely better) ways to do this, I figured I would share my method in case you wanted to give it a try.

Cut the front of the tank top, following the pattern instructions.

Transfer the pocket placement markings onto the fabric for the front of the tank. For this tutorial, I used a mechanical pencil to put small dots on the fabric at each corner of the pocket but I actually prefer using tailor tacks as they don't end up leaving a mark that you need to worry about trying to wash out.

Mark the seam allowance on the actual pocket pattern piece. The unmarked rectangle in the middle (highlighted in yellow) will be the finished pocket area.

Line up the corners of the finished pocket area (in yellow above) with the pocket placement markings on the front of the tank top. Lightly pin the pattern piece in place taking care to keep the pin heads to the outside of the pocket pattern (making them easy to remove later).

Grab some extra fabric that exactly matches the area for the pocket. Place the fabric right side up on the tank front and adjust its position until the prints line up perfectly (I like to check the alignment at various points in the print to ensure accuracy).

Carefully pin the matched fabric to the pocket pattern beneath it, taking care not to pin all the way into the front of the tank (The pattern should be sandwiched between the tank and pocket fabric). At this stage, I like to trim the pocket fabric so that it is about 1.5 to 2.0 inches larger than the pocket pattern on all sides. This is not necessary but it allows you to remove all of the unnecessary fabric and makes things a little easier to manage.

Remove the pins that are holding the pocket pattern to the front of the tank so that you are left with the pocket pattern pinned only to the wrong side of the perfectly matched fabric you cut for the pocket.

With the pocket pattern and matched fabric still pinned, cut out the pocket from the wrong side using the pattern.  Follow the pattern instructions to attach the pocket to the front of the tank, ensuring that the print matches perfectly before sewing it down.

VoilĂ ! A perfectly matched pocket that is almost invisible when you are wearing the finished top.

Saturday 15 September 2012

From K - Stocking up my Stash (2nd edition)

The hubs and I are officially back from our vacation. We spent the last three weeks in Spain and Morocco, looking at this....

And this....

Oh and spending some time doing this....

Ahhh vacation. While I'm reticent to be home and back to the daily grind of work, laundry and social engagements, I am pleased that at least I came home to the sight of this....

Talk about a glorious fabric haul! Am I right, or am I right?! The unexpected sales flier for a local fabric store and a free starbucks coffee card wasn't a bad addition to my mailbox either ;)

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned my new found love and adoration for Tula Pink's The Birds and The Bees fabric line. Obviously three charm packs wasn't enough to satisfy my desires because a fat quarter bundle of the entire line just showed up on my door step, ordered from The Intrepid Thread. Did I mention it was listed at a great price and I got it for 10% off? Bonus!

I have been really interested at Kate Spain's new line Cuzco so I picked up three charm packs from Bloomerie Fabrics and I'm already looking forward to cutting into them. 

I have been drooling over the Summerville Coal prints for some time, so I couldn't help but toss a few fat quarters into my Bloomerie Shopping cart too. And while I was at it, I threw in some half yards of Hello Pilgrim Jewels, and Kids Dots n' Square in Lime.

From Pink Castle Fabric I ordered an assortment of fabrics including Living Lattice in Black and White; Raindrops in Rain, Water and Petal; and lastly some Foxlets (so cute!). I also picked up a spoil of the ever coveted Aurifil thread to give it a whirl.

My last bundle is one that has me excited. Last month I joined the Pink Castle Fabrics Stash Stack Club. This is the August half stack and I'm pretty impressed with what showed up in the mail this month.

Fall is my favorite season, and also the time of year I sew the most. I foresee these fabrics being put to good use in the near future. What fabric has you excited to sew?

Thursday 13 September 2012

From A - Denial

While most crafters look to their stashes for wools, flannels, and other materials that might fend off the cooler nights that inevitably begin making an appearance this time of year, I keep thinking about summer and how I'm not quite ready for the upcoming change in season.

Although it is dark when I when I wake up in the morning and the sun is usually setting on the drive home from work, I keep hoping that there will be just a few more days where I will be able to enjoy the heat of sun on my skin before scarves and heavy sweaters take over.

There's no better way to celebrate this optimism (a.k.a. total denial) than to make a breezy summer tank. That's right. After almost 2 months of procrastination, I have finally managed to finish my very first Wiksten tank.

This pattern is so well written. All of the seams and hems are beautifully finished, effectively making what is a very simple tank into something that is really special. I was so inspired by these details that I even took the time to fussy cut a perfectly matched pocket. You really have to look for it to see it on the finished tank.

I have a serious hatred of hems. Hems are probably one of the main reasons that I make so few garments. The hem on this tank is especially heinous since it is essentially just a series of curves that I'm sure were specifically designed to test my patience. After about 45 minutes of burning my fingers with the iron while futzing with the hem, I remembered a tutorial I happened upon a while back. This sneaky hem trick made the rest of the project easy and the whole thing came together in the course of one evening. Gotta love instant gratification sewing.

Modelled shots to come but in the meantime, I'm thinking I might just have to whip up at least one more of these.

Tuesday 11 September 2012

From K - Quilt Top Planning (Using TouchDraw)

I recently bought an iPad and I cannot say enough about how much I love it. It has made blogging a cinch while on the run, it takes relatively high quality images when my DSLR isn't close at hand, and most of all, it makes for one of the best quilt top planning tools. I have tried designing quilt tops using blank paper, grid paper, excel, pencil, and markers, but nothing comes close to the TouchDraw app. I won't go into a huge explanation of how it works, but I thought it might be helpful for you to see how it can help organize a quilt layout, using my current wax print quilt as an example.

In July I posted about my quilt top layout for the first of two wax print quilts. I decided to go the route of using magic numbers (2.5", 4.5" and 6.5" square blocks), however I was worried that it wouldn't look random enough given the consistent sizes. In order to minimize the effect of having large stretches of blocks butted together, I went to touch drawer to lay out some "random-ish" type areas.
In the above image, you can see that each quilt area is divided by colours, and then further divided by numbers within each colour group. I specifically numbered them so that I would remember which order to sew the blocks once they were all prepared.

Using that TouchDraw illustration as a template, I began laying out my previously prepared 2.5", 4.5" and 6.5" squares according to the grouping requirements. Even though I have yet to complete the entire quilt top layout, you can see that many of the numbered blocks from my TouchDraw illustration are quite easy to identify on my design wall already.

Once I had quite a few of my blocks complete, I thought I would sew a few blocks together to see how it came along. In this next image you can see that some of the numbered blocks on my drawing are now even easier to identify on the wall.

I've started using this tool on a couple of other future projects and I'm looking forward to seeing them come into fruition as well. I still have a lot to learn on this app, but so far I am pretty impressed with how easy it is to use, and how simple and quickly you can manipulate quilt top designs.

Sunday 9 September 2012

From A - Carnival

I haven't put much time in on the sewing machine these past two weeks. Finally this weekend, I had a few minutes to put pen to paper (more accurately needle to fabric) and ended up with a finished quilt top.

I'm still shocked at how well some of the seams lined up on this project. With eight different bias seams in each block, I thought for sure this would turn into a hot mess. This was especially true after finishing the first round of small blocks and seeing that almost none of them were actually square.

Somehow the seams ended up being almost perfect.

I really struggled with fabric choices for this project. I wanted to use a layer cake but had a hard time finding a collection that was whimsical but not cutesy and that had lots of variation in both colour and print. Sweetwater's Lucy's Crab Shack line ended up being a perfect fit.

I am really surprised at how much adding the borders changed the feel of the quilt. The darker border fabric really tied the blocks together and grounded the colour scheme.

I don't have any batting handy and am still trying to figure out how to actually quilt this one. I have a general concept for the border but am really stuck on how I want to use the quilting to create movement in the "fan blades" (not too sure what else to call them). Instead of trying to rush it, I'm thinking would rather stash this lovely top away until inspiration strikes.