Saturday 30 March 2013

From A - Dust it Off

Thinking about my upcoming cross-country/cross-continent move has started a fire under me to get some of my old WIPs finished off once and for all.

I'm starting with my Carnival Quilt top. I've started basting it and hope to get it finished soon!! 

Monday 25 March 2013

From K: Travelling Homemade

This week I'm off on vacation, soaking up some sunshine and sitting in the sand. But before I headed south, a took a few snap shots to show you how I'm traveling homemade.

In my carry-on (clockwise from lower left): I'm packing my Amy Butler Birdie Sling Bag with my Kobo Mini and cover, my iPad and case, our llama passport wallet and a knitting project bag.

In my luggage (clockwise from left): three recent homemade wearables (reveals coming soon), a lingerie bag for delicates, a bikini bag (another reveal soon) and a pretty little make-up brush roll.

Something about these photos make my heart happy. So much homemade goodness!

Wednesday 20 March 2013

From K - Make-up Brush Roll

I recently purchased some laminated cotton and wanted to test it out on a simple project to see how I liked it. While browsing through a ton of great ideas over on Pinterest, I decided a make-up brush roll seemed like the perfect first project.
The laminated cotton I used behind the brushes is Honey Violet from Kate Spain's Honey Honey line.
For the pocket and binding, I used Asterisk in Purple from Lizzie House's Constellation line. I don't know how she does it, but this fabric seriously shimmers, I only wish the photos did it justice.
For the outside fabric, I used is Mirror Ball Dot by Mark Hordyseynski for Michael Miller Fabrics. I love that the sheen on this print gives off a glamourous vibe. It seemed very fitting for this specific project.

I can't wait to take this on my next vacation! If you're interested in making your own version, check out the tutorial that I followed here for more details.

Monday 18 March 2013

From A - Big Plans

I spent most of the weekend working away on my Posy baby quilt. I managed to finish the top and then got it basted and quilted. The only thing left is to tack the binding down.

Posy Baby Quilt

While I normally find sewing down bindings to be long and tedious work, I am pretty confident that this will help spur me along.

Downton Abbey

I can't wait to get home tonight. It's going to be awesome!

Sunday 17 March 2013

From K - Acrylic Design Board Tutorial

One of my most commonly used quilting tools can be created by using less than $20 of supplies from your local hardware store and about 5 minutes of your time. Without fail, this tool gets used on every one of my quilt projects so I thought it was high time I showed it to you.

I'm not sure if there is an official name for this somewhere, but I call it an Acrylic Design Board. The ingredients are simple, all you need is a sheet of acrylic from your local hardware store, some painters tape and some non-permanent white board markers. Home Depot sells the acrylic sheets in various precut sizes, the that one I show here is 18"x24" (which I picked up for $12). Here's a quick link.

When I first began quilting I was a bit intimidated by FMQ, and by intimidated I really mean terrified. After completing a couple of quilts though I realized that part of what inspired me to quilt in the first place was all of the beautiful FMQ out in the bloggisphere, and it was high time for me to give it a go.
The best way for me to decide on a FMQ design on any quilt it to test it out first, so I use markers on my acrylic design board to visualize what effect various stitching will give to my quilt top.

Once I settle on a design, I wipe the board clean and sketch it out a few more times until I feel confident in the motion. I don't transfer the markings, I just remove the sheet and start quilting. Be careful when moving the board around though as not to smudge any marker on your quilt - it can create a terrible stain.
On more complicated designs I will often prop the board up close to my machine, which lets me easily compare design size and shape.

While I'm a novice quilter and still have a LOT to learn, I find that this tool makes new techniques and designs more approachable and a lot less scary. This tool has really helped me to push from my comfort zone and try new things. Hopefully you can find some benefit from it too.

Thursday 14 March 2013

From K: Warm Toes

One of the more ambitious items on my most recent Hit List was to knit myself a pair of socks. The last and only thing I've ever knit was a scarf nearly a decade ago, but after being inspired by all the quilty blogs who have been posting knitwear, I decided it was high time to jump in.

Here is my very first attempt at socks. It's not much, just a fairly basic stocking stitch but I knit it in the round, and to me, that's a huge achievement.

This was definitely a great project to get me excited about knitting, and I started a second pair of socks about ten minutes after finishing up this set. The next pair is quite a bit more challenging and I'm so pleased with how they're knitting up. I'm hoping for a reveal after a couple more weeks of train commutes so I'll keep you posted. 

I have to be honest in saying that taking photos of my own feet has definitely been the most bizarre shoot for our blog to date. It was also fairly challenging when this was happening:


Good thing they're so cute because they sure aren't conducive to floor based photo shoots!

Tuesday 12 March 2013

From A - Home at Last!

The last few months have been crazy. Work has been really busy with 10-14 hour days being the norm and I have spent at least some time at the airport almost every week since December. Suffice to say that this hasn't left much time for "home" things and I have missed my sewing machine dearly.

White Star Quilt Top

I decided that the only solution was to overcompensate by blocking off an entire weekend where my only plan would be to spend quality time relaxing at home (where relaxing at home is code for crafting). With all the extra time on my hands, I actually managed to finish up my White Star quilt top.

White Star Quilt Top

I love the way it turned out. It is exactly the sparkly, twinkly project that I hoped it would be. That Constellation fabric does amazing things to quilts.

White Star Quilt Top

I think my favourite print is the indigo coloured constellation print. I love that Lizzy incorporated illustrations from her earlier fabric collections into this one. All of her critters are so charming but I might have been guilty of a bit of favouritism towards the starry squirrel.

White Star Quilt Top

This top brings my number of unbasted quilt tops to three. I also have two basted quilts that are waiting to be quilted. I am really hoping to get a few of these finished in the coming months.

Sunday 10 March 2013

From A - Starry Preview

My white star quilt is progressing well. I'm really liking how this is coming together. I should finish off the rest of the blocks later today.

White Star Quilt

Up next, a finished quilt top!

Thursday 7 March 2013

From A - New Things

After seeing a number of five-year diaries on various blogs, I decided that it was time to start one of my own. A lot has changed in my life over the course of the past five years and I expect that the next five years will be just as full of new and exciting experiences and challenges. It seems like the perfect time to make a daily record of the important things in my life. Although I have just gotten started, I am really enjoying the five minutes I spend each evening reflecting on my day and putting together a sentence or two that captures it.

Memory Book

I also started another new quilting project in honour of my work colleague's recent announcement that she and her husband are expecting a baby girl in early July.

Posy Charm Packs

My co-worker keeps mentioning that she is planning to use white, lavender, pink and minty green in her nursery. I was having a hard time envisioning the palette until I saw that Aneela Hoey's new Posy collection used hat exact combination of colours.

I love how sweet and cheerful the prints in this collection are. There is enough variety and interest that I am planning to just sew all of my charm squares into a baby sized quilt to let the fabric shine. Nothing fancy, no extra fabrics and no crazy patchwork. Easy and satisfying.

Posy Baby Quilt

I spent part of my morning working on possible layouts. These bright fabrics have definitely softened the blow of the snow that fell earlier today.

Monday 4 March 2013

From K: Perfect Corner Baby Blankets

This past Saturday it was +7 so I went for a pedi wearing flip flops and started planning a few spring/summer wardrobe sewing projects while soaking in the sunshine. By Sunday morning though, I woke up to this:

6+ inches of snow in 12 hours is hardly a subtle reminder from mother nature that it's still winter in Canada. But it did get my head back on track with where I should really be focusing my mind. In a few days the hubs and I will be hitting the open (hopefully snow plowed) road to my home town in Manitoba where I know a few baby boys that need blankets. And by need, I really mean that I just can't help but sew them some :)

Nothing seems cozier than flannelette in the winter, and judging by todays weather, the chilly temperatures might be sticking around.

I followed a fantastic tutorial by Apostrophy Designs to whip up two Perfect Corner Baby Blankets. I've likely made about a dozen of these over the past year and I'm sure I'll make dozens more in the future. To be honest I stocked up on flannelette specifically with these blankets in mind.

The tutorial is great and I would highly recommend it to anyone. I generally make at least two in a sitting and it doesn't take more than an hour a piece (though fancy stitching can add significant time so be warned). 

I love showing up back home with lots of home made gifts and kidlet hugs in return. I think my cousin's sweet little boys will love these.

Sunday 3 March 2013

From A - Seeing Stars

Just home from an amazing week in Panama with one of my childhood friends, I wasn't quite ready to forget the relaxing days on the beach and head back into the fray of regular life at home. The trip was a celebration of my friend's upcoming 30th birthday and I decided on the flight home that I wanted to make a quilt for my friend that would remind her of this birthday vacation for years to come.

One of the most memorable parts of our trip was the time we spent on the beach each night talking and looking at the stars. A starry quilt made from starry fabric seemed like the perfect thing.

Enter Julie Herman's White Star quilt and Lizzy House's Constellations collection. I also added in a few other prints from my stash to add a bit of contrast.

I've only just started cutting out my fabrics but I am really excited to see this one come together. Since there are only 12 blocks in this quilt top, I think it might actually be a quick finish. Here's hoping I can finish up the cutting this weekend and find at least a bit of time to reacquaint myself with my sewing machine sometime later this week.