Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Silver Garden Markers

I've had this assorted collection of family silverware for a long time. Some of it is from my grandparents and some from my husband's family. Rather than have it sit hidden in a drawer or closet somewhere, I've been on the look out for some projects to make with them.
You will need a hammer and a surface that can take a few nicks and dents (a scrap board) and a set of these:
I found my set of alphabet stamps at Princess Auto for only $11.99. I can see many other uses for these in the future.

Gently hammer the spoon until it is flat. If you look closely, you can see the marks I've made in my picnic table - a scrap board would be a much better surface!

Now, plan out your lettering. Longer words will require closer spacing and you'll want your label to be reasonably centered. Don't try to be perfect - there's more charm when there's a flaw or two! When positioning the stamp, think about which way the letter should face before stamping. Once you're sure the letter is facing correctly and in the right place, give a couple good solid taps with the hammer to set the image.
You could always rub in a little black paint or marker to make the letters stand out even more, but I think I will leave mine and let weather and time take care of the patina.
Now, if only the sun would stay shining, so everything can grow - this would be perfect!

Happy crafting,
--Ann

Monday, 30 May 2011

Gathering of the Guilds


Quilts in the Park.

Every year, Heritage Park in Calgary hosts a massive quilt show and gathering of the guilds. The number of guilds represented was disappointing - only about a dozen guild tables this year. But the weather was beautiful and quilts were hanging outside, in the heritage houses, and even in the jail! Here are some pics of what caught my eye:
Quilts hanging from the railing at the Wainwright Hotel
And more quilts on the veranda.
One Block Wonder - reminds me I have to finish mine.
Colourful stars - could I make this with some of my hand-dyed fabrics?
An idea for fabrics that don't want to be cut in small pieces?
In the barn - there were about a dozen with this pattern, lots of colour variations, but this was my favourite.
Cute owls
Center of this is an African Batik motif - I have a similar motif, so this will go in my idea bank.
Soft pastel baskets
Love this colour combination - there was a large group of similar quilts hanging together.
And this one - a brighter blue used here.
 There were over 450 quilts displayed and although I'd love to show you each and every one, it would be impossible. This is one event that if you want to see everything, you just have to be come yourself! Here are a couple of mini quilts that stood out from the crowd:
Log Cabin - for a sense of scale, the tag is about 6" square
Same pattern as my Canadian Fields quilt done in pinwheel blocks
And every quilt show has to have a 9-patch quilt! Love the red background on this one!
Piecefully yours,
--Ann

Friday, 20 May 2011

3x6 Block Exchange

I <3 this Flickr swap! Sign ups are every 3 months and participants are put into groups of 7. You pick what 3 colours you would like your blocks to be and then everyone else makes you a block in those colours. You pick a pattern (or make one up) and make a block for everyone else in the group with that pattern and their colours. The blocks are amazing and so creative. Take a look here.

This is the block I'm doing for the 2nd quarter.
Purple, yellow & gray
It's a simple block - easy enough for the very beginner and has a great modern look to it. Here's the how-to:

You will need:
9- 2.5" squares of desired colours (red, black and gray here)
1- 2.5"x6.5" strip of background (I used white) - Piece A
1- 2.5"x8.5" strip of background - Piece B
1- 4.5"x8.5" strip of background - Piece C
1- 4.5"x12.5" strip of background - Piece D



Arrange your 9 coloured squares until you have an arrangement you are happy with.
Sew together in rows, then join the rows together to get a 9-patch as shown.
Add Piece A to one side of your 9-patch.


Add Piece B to adjoining side as shown


Working around your block, add Piece C and Piece D.


And you're done - easy peasy!

Happy Quilting!
--Ann

Circles and Curves Swap

There are lots of tutorials out there for similar circles. Here's how I did it:
Cut 2 squares of each colour - mine are 7.5 inches square.
Layer your squares, both right sides up.
 Use a circle template or household item to draw a circle on your top square and then stitch a decorative stitch on that circle. Go slowly and your fabric should stay lined up without pinning.
Make one with purple on top and gray underneath and another with the gray on top.

Cut both your prepared squares into 4 pieces.
Very carefully, cut away the top layer as shown.
Arrange your pieces to form a pleasing pattern and sew together. The seams on the circles will probably not match up exactly, but don't worry about it - the effect of the circle is there even with the imperfections.


Although I liked the purple and gray combination with the yellow/green stitching, this little quiltie still needed a touch of pizzazz. I did have some green that was the same fabric line as the purple print, but not enough to do this next step, so I found something else in my stash and cut some 1" strips. These were folded in half lengthwise and pressed. Using a 1/8" seam (just needs to be narrower than the 1/4" seam for the border), sew these strips around your blocks.
Adding a green "zinger" strip.
 The border is made from 1.5" strips and sewn right on top of the "zinger" strip with a 1/4" seam.
And a purple border.
Layer and pin your top to batting and backing.

Now it's time to quilt - because these mini's are not large, they are a great place to practice your machine quilting skills. The gray reminded me of paving stones placed in a flower garden, so I decided to quilt pebbles on the gray fabric and stipple quilt the purple. I had some great variegated purple thread and went to work.
Click on pictures to see the quilting close up.

And the final touch was a double-fold binding in gray. Hope my swap partner likes this one! It turned out to be a similar pattern and colour to the one she sent me, but they say "great minds think alike"!

Happy Quilting
--Ann

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Circles and Curves

I find inspiration for quilting in many different places, but one of my favourites over the past couple of years has been the Flickr photo sharing site online. I started just browsing through photos and doing searches for particular colours or styles, but then I noticed the word swap in descriptions and tags. The more I investigated, the more intrigued I was with this modern version of exchanging with like-minded people, much like the chain letters of past days, but with a more tangible (and positive) outcome.

One of the swaps that I've joined is the Mini QT Swap. It's been a real challenge for me to take a theme and then translate that into fabric and ultimately, a finished quilt. There are 2 months to complete the challenge and send your quilt to your swap partner. The first theme that I made a swap quilt for was "Take Flight". My swap partner, Dena, sent me this package:

 And this is what I sent to her:

The next theme was 3-D and I decided not to participate, but the next theme was circles and curves and this is what I received from my swap partner, Liz at Living My Sweet Life.
And mine should be in her mailbox soon and here's a sneak peek:
Hope you're enjoying my adventures so far. Happy Quilting!

--Ann

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Good to Finish Something

I am never happier than when I have a ton of projects on the go and a deadline to motivate me. These are a few of the quilts I finished yesterday - they've been sitting, waiting patiently for me to get the binding on, so I did that yesterday as I sewed with my friends.
Set of 2 mug rugs
Add your favourite mug and a snack

Beautiful stars!
Love that teal and brown combo!

Blue and Gold mini-quilt
 
Great star fabric!
This blue and gold quilt has been finished for a while, just thought I'd get some better pics that show the colours off better. Mini Blue and Gold Quilt

--Ann

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Baby Quilts

Scrappy quilts are my favourite to make. There are so many talented fabric designers out there, with great coordinating collections of fabric, but nothing makes me happier than taking totally unrelated fabrics and making something. These two quilts are a product of that kind of creativity. I've been cutting my scraps into 2.5 inch squares and sorted the pinky/orange/yellow scraps from the blue/purple/green and made simple 9-patch blocks and pieced them with a solid white background. The white makes the colours pop and a simple border was added to bring the colours all together. (Both are for sale - just click the link below the pictures)

Today, I'm off to sew with a couple friends - I'm bringing my camera so you can see what we've been working on.
--Ann