Wednesday 31 October 2012

From K - Finished: Prairie Ink Quilt

The first person to spark my interest in sewing was my grandmother. From a young age Amanda and I spent many days and nights in front of her old Singer making everything from bags to binder covers to scrunchies. She would let us pick our favourite fabrics out of the scrap bin for our mini projects, and would patiently explain each direction multiple times, all while patching my grandfathers work pants. I loved the idea of making something with a needle, a thread and some remnant scraps that no one else wanted, but I especially loved my time with Amanda and my grandma.


I spent most of my childhood on and off a sewing machine, but lost touch with it once sports and school and later university took over. When I picked up quilting a few years ago the first person I wanted to tell was my grandma, and I could tell she was very proud. This past year she turned 80 and I knew she would love a lap quilt to keep her warm - enter the Prairie Ink Quilt.

My grandma is a multitalented woman and could fall under a hundred titles - school teacher, published author, poet, pianist, gardener, master baker or volunteer extraordinaire just to name a few. In order to ensure I was able to capture some of her essence in her birthday quilt I decided to use the City News pattern by Cherry House Quilts, and then highlight some of her passions in the black and white prints. Since she's really more of a prairie girl and always seems to have a pen in hand, I thought a more apt name for this quilt would be Prairie Ink.

 This quilt was only the second free motion quilt I had ever worked on. I wanted something simple, repetitive and timeless, and I think these little loops worked out perfectly. I especially love the contrast that shows on the quilt backing between the the dense free motion quilting on the solids combined with the unquilted centre blocks.

On a 12 hour road trip home to see her this spring I hand bound the binding while my husband drove. By the time we made it there, I completely forgot to take 'pre-lived in' shots of the finished product. On my recently trip home last month I took a few photos, and while the wrinkles where this quilt was folded may appear somewhat less than blog worthy in some eyes, they remind me that this quilt is well loved and often used - and isn't that what we make quilts for?

Final Quilt Details:
- Quilt Name: Prairie Ink
- Finished Size: 54" x 72"
- Quilt Top Fabric: 18 Kona Solids and 18 various black and white prints
- Quilt Backing Fabric: Kona Berry, Kona Dark Violet, Michael Miller Old Script in Black
- Quilt Binding Fabric: Kona Dark Violet
- Pattern: City News by Cherry House Quilts
- Quilting: free motion little loops (quilting done by me)
- Best Category: Throw Quilt

Be sure to check out all of the beautiful quilts on electronic display over at Amy's fall Bloggers Quilt Festival. I am linking this quilt up under the Throw Quilt category.  You can find it linked as #522. I don't know about you, but tomorrow night I plan to curl up under my nearest quilt with a hot cup of cocoa to dream away my evening in all the linked up quilted treasures!

Amy's Creative Side

Tuesday 30 October 2012

From A - Running Stitch

Feeling restless and still not really wanting to set up my sewing machine, I decided to start yet another new project. Since I spend most of my time wrapped up in blankets trying to keep warm in the Fall, Winter and Spring months, handwork seemed like just the thing.

Handwork Supplies

This weekend I started working on a hand pieced patchwork throw pillow. My first bit of progress is four lovely flying geese blocks. I really fell in love with this London tube/subway map fabric and decided that it would make the perfect centre for my Sawtooth Star.

.Sawtooth Star Pillow

Nothing is more satisfying than the small puckers caused by a simple running stitch. Hand piecing really changes the character of a project and gives it that homespun feel.


Although it is slower than machine sewing, I find hand piecing to be methodical and relaxing. It's a tactile experience where you really get to know your fabric as you sew along. I also enjoy feeling a connection to quilting's history and to my great-grandmother (who made gorgeous hand pieced and hand quilted treasures) every time I sit down with a needle and thread.

Sawtooth Star Pillow

Luckily there's lots more to do on this little cushion, because I'm enjoying every stitch.

Saturday 27 October 2012

From K - Sugar overload

When I first saw the Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery's Dessert of the Month Club (DOTM) last January, I signed up right away. It has been more than a decade since I last cross stitched anything, but it took no time at all to jump back into it. In early August, I gave you a brief update of where I was at on this project, but little progress had been made since.

The past two weeks here have been crazy with 3 separate trips, sleeping in 6 beds across 3 provinces (and only one of those nights was under my own duvet). Because of all of the travel time, I decided it was high time to get caught up on my stitching.

While travel time was a big motivator, I have to admit that I was also swayed by the Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery's newest sign up, It's a Kawaii Winter Wonderland Countdown (KWWC). Before hitting the road I stocked up on thread for both projects with the goal of catching up on DOTM before the first round of KWWC begins.

So far so good, I think I'm definitely catching up on this one, and I hope to actually polish it off by the time 2013 rolls around. I'm really getting excited for KWWC to begin but while sleuthing online for some floss storage, I may have stumbled across another winter xmas that I might have to stitch up soon. Please meet It's Snow Cold by Little House Needleworks. Ain't she cute!

This weekend I'll be spending some much needed R&R time here at home. I've already caught up on a number of PVR'd shows, and found a bit of time to organize my floss stash. I think I may need to get another storage box though... this one seems to be filling up fast!

Now while I go decorate for those halloween trick-o-treaters, I thought it might be nice to leave you with a few pretty snapshots of what I've been up to these past few weeks.

On my drive home from Manitoba I drove through beautiful Saskatchewan and had to stop to take a photo. There's something about the prairies that holds my heart.

I was fortunate enough to spend a few days last week with my hubs at the swoon-worthy Fairmont Banff Springs which I swear is more of a castle than a hotel *sigh  

Here is the view of the Rocky Mountains from our room. The prairies might hold part of my heart but those mountains sure give those wheat fields a run for their money. While the snow is cold, it sure is beautiful. Those few days away in Banff definitely helped me get excited for winter and Christmas!

Wednesday 24 October 2012

From A - 61 Days and Counting

The cooler weather we've been having has gotten me into the Christmas spirit early this year. I regularly have to remind myself that Halloween hasn't yet come and gone. Since the beginning of October, I've been dreaming of Christmas carols, sugar cookies and candy canes.

As an almost newly wed, my collection of holiday decorations is still fledgling at best. We have no stockings,  no tree skirt, no decorative wreaths and very few ornaments. And since the thought of buying decorations clashes with the (completely unrealistic) handmade holiday vision that has been dancing in my head, I have been planning a few projects that might inject a few handmade elements into our otherwise minimal holiday d├ęcor.

Christmas Sled Stocking

Figuring that my husband wasn't quite ready to put up the Christmas tree and needing an outlet for my fixation, I decided to start working on a Christmas stocking last weekend. This is the Christmas Sled Stocking kit from the Dimensions Gold Collection Line that I bought last year.

Christmas Sled Stocking

It was nice to finally get started with this and I managed to make quite a lot of progress last weekend since the thought of staying cuddled up on the couch with my husband and a movie won out over laundry and housework.

Christmas Sled Stocking

This project also means that I am finally getting some use out of the Hoop Travel Bag I made a few months ago. It is perfect for holding my embroidery projects and sewing notions. It was easy to make and with a bit of hand basting, I even didn't lose my cool while putting the zipper in. Part of me wants to make one of these for every project I am working on to help keep my numerous WIPs organized. After seeing this patchwork version made by Karen at make something, I just might!

Monday 22 October 2012

From K - Finished: Smitten for each other

Today marks the final days of the Great Canadian Quilt Off 'eh! and I'm thrilled to finally show you my final product.

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

This quilt was so much fun to sew up, and I really like how it shows off the fabulous Cuzco prints. In total I made 20 stars (4 columns of 5 rows). In the end I'm really glad I followed Amanda's lead and added a fifth row, as I think this final quilt size will make for lots of couch time.

For the backing I chose a fun numerical text from Ikea that didn't fight with the top for attention. I especially love the timeless nature of this print, I mean when has numbered text ever gone out of style?

Choosing a binding for quilt was tougher than I had expected it to be. I knew I wanted a colored pattern but I couldn't decide immediately on which one. Once the quilt top was finished, I figured a tone on tone blue would do the trick. Here I've used a print from Tea Decadence by Mary Engelbreit.

Final Quilt Details:
- Quilt Name: Smitten for Each Other
- Finished Size: 56" x 70"
- Fabric: Cuzco by Kate Spain; Kona White; Britten Nummer from Ikea, Tea Decadence by Mary Engelbreit.
- Pattern: Smitten by Cluck Cluck Sew
- Quilting: various

Last week during my trip back home to Manitoba, I attended a good friend's wedding. As part of their wedding gift, I gave the couple this quilt and marked it with a custom label. I couldn't imagine this quilt going to a better home, and I hope they get years of enjoyment from it. 

Friday 19 October 2012

From A - New and Shiny

Over the summer, I found this quilt on Pinterest while randomly browsing around. It became one of those projects that takes over your brain. I found myself thinking about it over and over and over. I kept sketching the quilt while watching TV.

Starry Nine Patch

I spent hours scrolling through pages and pages of fabric swatches on my favourite on line quilt shops, searching for inspiration. Although, I was really liking Denyse Schmidt's Chicopee line I had dismissed it as a fabric contender early on. I didn't think that the bold colours would work for the nine-patch sections and that the overall look of the quilt would be too "grown up". After ruminating on it for months, I finally decided that I would shelve the idea and wait for inspiration hit. Finally I found it while checking Craftsy's deals page one morning: Chicopee charm packs!

Starry Nine Patch

I love that these charms are 6" wide. I was originally planning to use 5" blocks. This was part of the problem since the finished quilt would only end up being about 41" square, which felt more like a baby sized quilt to me.  The larger blocks mean that the finished quilt will end up at 50" x 50", a perfect lap quilt! Best part is that at 30 charms per pack, two charm packs and a fat quarter will make the whole quilt. That's only about $20.00 worth of fabric.

Starry Nine Patch

Since receiving those charm packs, I can't seem to focus on any of my other projects. While I sit at my machine piecing Smitten blocks, I just keep wanting to break into my Chicopee charms. After fighting the urge for three weeks, I'm finally ready to give in.

Starry Nine Patch

This is crafting, this is my hobby, this is supposed to be fun. Forget what I "should" be working on, I'm going to stay true to myself and work on the project that is inspiring and exciting me right now. I'm declaring this Friday "guilt-free making day". Who's in?

Wednesday 17 October 2012

From K - A smitten quilt top

This week of the GCQO has got me excited because it's all about finishing up our quilt tops! In a last minute switch up last week, I realized that a finished square quilt wouldn't make for much winter snuggling, so I took some advice from Amanda's early decision, and added a fifth row.

In order to add 4 more blocks, I used four more blue prints from Cuzco, plus four additional yellow and grey prints from Dena Fishbein's line Taza. I think this was a happy last minute switch up, and I really like how well balanced the colours are.

After adding a fifth row, I decided that I would forgo the borders listed in the original pattern, which will make my finished quilt 56 inches by 70 inches (or 4.6 feet by 5.8 feet). I'm hoping this will be a much snugglier winter throw size.

Sewing my blocks together this week was exciting, and I'm looking forward to next weeks backing, quilting, and binding!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday 16 October 2012

From A - One for the Road

Duffle Bag

I finished my duffle bag this weekend and I have to say, there is something about making a bag that gets me every time. I always find that as I sew along, I look at all of the fraying seams and bits that don't line up just right and somehow convince myself that the bag will probably look like the sewing equivalent of a child's macaroni craft.

Once you get that final seam sewn, you turn it inside out and amazingly, the pile of fabric somehow turned into a useful and totally awesome bag.

Duffle Bag

I used some old green and blue denim I bought at my local Fabricland a few years ago when I thought I might try my hand at making a pair of shorts for the summer. I used some of the leftover feather fabric from my Wiksten Tank for the lining and added a few hints of the New York print from Jay McCarroll's City Centre collection for the zipper pull tabs and seam binding.

Duffle Bag

The pattern was put together by bag maker extraordinaire, Guy Latulippe. He just released his series of duffle patterns in all different sizes. The pattern is pretty straightforward and totally satisfying.

Duffle Bag

I've already bought some gold glitter denim to make a second one.

Friday 12 October 2012

From K - A modern pow wow

Unable to simple focus on one project at once, I took the opportunity to kick off a new quilt idea this weekend. Cluck Cluck Sew's Pow Wow quilt pattern has been rolling around in my mind ever since I began work on my last finished quilt Boys + Birds + Bees, using their equally lovely Inside Out pattern.

Cluck Cluck Sew's patterns have recently become some of my favourites to sew. Clear, concise, and printed on mid-weight card stock, they are a pleasure to read, follow and sew. I knew the moment I came across the Pow Wow pattern that it would make a fantastic modern quilt so I tossed it in my shopping cart.

Black and white prints have become a staple for me this year so I broke out my remnant stash to make up this pattern in a bit of a scrappy style.

My idea is to use a bright Kona solid background, and gradients of black to grey to white for the arrows. I'm currently tossing an idea around of off-setting the rows so they resemble divided chevrons, but I'll see how the blocks come together first.

Now the hard part is to decide which bright Kona solid I want to use! What WiPs have you been adding to your list?

Thursday 11 October 2012

From A - More and More Smitten

Smitten Quilt

I've been working away on my Smitten blocks and think that there is a small chance I might actually get them finished this week, right on schedule.

Smitten Quilt

Given the almost equal balance between light and dark prints in each colour of my fabric, I decided to aim to keep the dark and lights prints across/kitty corner from their counterparts.

Smitten Quilt

I'm still trying to figure out exactly what blocks I am going to group together but here's a preview of some of the configurations I like. I'll finalize these once I get my last few blocks finished up.

Smitten Quilt

Monday 8 October 2012

From K - A Smitten Kitten

Today we're kicking off week two of the Great Canadian Quilt Off, eh! Last week Amanda touched upon her plans for extending her smitten quilt top, and I gave you a sneak peak of my cuzco fabric selection.

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

This week is all about finishing up the blocks so lets have a look to see how my quilt top is coming together so far.

These blocks come together so quickly and really start to give you an idea of the final quilt top.

Having a large design wall has really been helpful in deciding my quilt layout - especially when it means that floor work welcomes this fuzzy friend.

Talk about a smitten kitten! Swing by {Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations to link up your current modern sewing creations.