Saturday, 30 July 2011

Splish Splash Baby Quilt Top

This little pack of Splish Splash charm squares from Me and My Sister Designs from Moda has been on my sewing table since Christmas. The fabrics are so bright and fun and I wanted to make a baby quilt with them that shows off the cute patterns.
 Just keep sewing, sewing, sewing, . . .
 And pressing, pressing, pressing, . . .
And this is the finished top! I love the way the white sashing sets off the charm squares. I will probably bind this with a turquoise fabric, but for now it's going over to the "waiting to be quilted" pile. One of these days, I'll have to set up the sewing machine in the kitchen where there's more space and better light and finish some of the tops I have waiting.

What's your favourite baby quilt pattern?

--Ann

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Dresden Star Quilt Block

I have tons of ideas in my head and fabrics in my stash that are just waiting to be made into quilts. And then there are the patterns that have been bought, but never used. The Dresden Star pattern and templates were bought some time ago, but it seemed to be a bit complicated and I kept putting it aside in favour of something simpler.

Getting my supplies together
Cutting the wedges for the Dresden star
Sewing the points of the Dresden wedge
Point is made and needs to be pressed
Adding the star triangles
Another wedge goes on top
The star points are pressed flat
Centering on background square
And a circle over the center
Now, it's all ready to be appliqued to the background square. This will probably be a take-a-long project for when I need some handwork. I won't be making a lot of these squares any time soon as they are quite time consuming - took me close to 4 hours to make one block! It may be a project for a quilt retreat or sometime when I have a couple days of just sewing time without interuptions.

--Ann

Edited to add: The pattern is from Laundry Basket Quilts as are the templates. The star points (in yellow) are basically a triangle folded in half, sewn into the Dresden seam and then flattened with an iron.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Mini Quilt on it's way to Australia

One of the great things about the internet is the ability to connect with others around the world who have similar interests. When I joined Flickr a few years ago to share my photos with relatives, I spent some time searching for quilt pictures. What I found was a community of quilters who were pushing the boundaries of tradition and what is now called Modern Quilting. The other thing I discovered was online swapping - and jumped right in. One of the swaps I'm involved in is called the Mini QT Swap and every two months, participants are partnered with another quilter and given a theme. Mini quilts are then made and swapped with that partner.

The most recent swap had a theme of "True Mini" and my partner was JanBran from Australia. This is a sneak peek of the quilt she made me and I will see the whole thing when it arrives in my mailbox.
Click here to see JanBran's quilt for me.

And because the deadline of July 31 is looming very close, I finally finished my quilt for Jan. Here's a sneak peek - I'll post the whole thing when Jan has received it.

Do you participate in any swaps?

--Ann

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Outdoor Quilt Show at Country Creations

Saturday was a gorgeous day in Calgary and I spent the afternoon with some friends out south of Strathmore at the home of quilt pattern designer, Lorraine Stangness, for her annual quilt show and a huge sale from her store Country Creations. The local quilting guild that I'm a part of also held their show there in one of Lorraine's farm outbuildings. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.










Some of these quilts were just massive King sized - haven't done one that big yet! My largest quilt to date is a queen sized quilt, but it only hangs far enough to cover the top mattress. What's the largest quilt you've made? Did you quilt it yourself?

--Ann

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Almost 9 years to complete a Quilt?

As a farewell gift before we moved here, my previous guild, The Blackgold Quilt Patch, in Leduc, Alberta gave me a set of house blocks that were pieced by the members at that time. These alternated between being on my design wall to being stashed away in the closet as I hemmed and hawed about how to put them together into a quilt. Originally, the thought was to have one large quilt with cobblestone streets between the houses. Well, that would have resulted in a King size plus quilt and no matter how I rearranged the blocks, it didn't look quite right.

Next, I spread the blocks out on the floor and split them in two groups, with an assortment of sizes in each group. Playing around with the layout became more fun with the smaller number of blocks and soon I had an arrangement that I actually liked! I quickly took out my camera and snapped a couple of pictures. The same was done with the second set of blocks and again, another picture.

So, now I had the blocks arranged and it was time to figure out what to put in between. The cobblestone fabric I bought originally just didn't do anything for the blocks, so they were sent back to the closet while ideas peculated in my head. I printed the photos out and hung them up by my sewing machine, hoping they would "talk" to me. And they did!

The colour of my hardwood floor looked great with the colours that were in the house blocks, but things still looked a little washed out. Then I pulled out my Sharpie marker and drew a black border around each of the blocks in the photo - ta-da! Here's the happy result:
House blocks Quilt #1 - blue tones
House blocks Quilt #2 - red tones
These quilts are identical in size and will someday be put on the bunk beds that will go in the guest bedroom when it is finally vacated by the youngest son.

What's the longest it's taken you to finish a quilt?

--Ann

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Chocolate and Mug Rugs

Besides bed quilts and table toppers, one quilted item that I'm seeing a lot more of is the wonderful mug rug. It's an over-sized coaster or a scaled down place mat and is big enough for your mug or tea cup and a snack on the side. Last week I was at my local quilt shop Along Came Quilting to check out their new location and found this wonderful chocolate themed panel and some coordinating fabrics. I had all weekend to think about what I was going to make with them and this is what I came up with:
Cutting apart the panel
Pieced a border around the chocolate block and layered for quilting.
Quilting around the chocolates makes them pop!
Adding a striped binding - love the look of this & will do it more often!
Mug rug finished.
I'm finding it hard to remember to take photos of works in progress to show you, but hopefully that will get better with time. Chocolate themed mug rug is for sale in my Etsy shop.

--Ann

Friday, 8 July 2011

Teeny Tiny Star Medallion

I have so many projects on the go that it's a super feeling to complete something - especially something that's been on the to-do list for a long time! This quilt was bought as a kit from a local quilt shop called Traditional Pasttimes. It is my go-to place when I'm looking for the traditional country colours that I love to decorate with. My home is a 1970's bi-level, but is decorated as if it were the log cabin that I've always wanted to have and this little quilt is quite at home here.
It will probably be moved a few times before it finds it's place here, but for now, it's front and center on the coffee table in the living room. To give you a sense of the size, this piece is only 16" square and the little 16-patches are 1.5" square. It was definitely challenging to work with such small pieces, but the instructions were awesome.

What is the smallest quilt you've made?

--Ann

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Hand-Dyed Fabrics

Just ordered some Procion MX dyes online - so I can make some hand-dyed fabrics. It's been a few years since I've done this - maybe 10 years! Yikes! Time flies! I did a jam jar dyeing class with a friend and the end result was a rainbow of 24 fabrics in bright colours. I made a quilt for my youngest son from these lovely fabrics and went hunting for a photo. Unfortunately, the photos I found do not give any sense of the brilliant colours or show any of the details of the quilting - my first attempt at quilting with metallic thread.

It is still the covering of choice for my son and as such, it's not here for me to take a better picture. :(
The blocks were from an online BOM from Planet Patchwork. This was my first quilt that was not done with traditional country colours and the results were worth it as it's still one of my fav's!

Do you have any hand-dyed fabrics? What have you made with them?

--Ann

Saturday, 2 July 2011

More Maple Leafs

I had so much fun making the maple leaf blocks for the potholders that I made a few more and put them together for a little quilt that could hang on the wall or be used as a table mat. I liked the way the blocks form a wreath when placed with the stems all in the center.
 I haven't done any machine quilting with metallic thread for a while and this project was in need of some sparkle, so out came the gold metallic thread. It took me a while as the thread kept breaking as I quilted. To prep for quilting with the metallic thread, I ensured that my bobbin area was clear of dust and lint, put in a new needle and loosened the top tension a bit. Even with all that prep, it was disappointing to have the thread break as often as it did.
Leaf veins in gold metallic thread add interest to the block
Anyone else have any tips for quilting with metallic threads?

--Ann

Friday, 1 July 2011

Potholders

Although I have some large projects on the go, it's always fun to work on something small, just for the satisfaction of finishing something. Because this week didn't allow me a lot of time for sewing, I put aside the larger projects and made a pair of potholders. These are great projects for using up left-over pieces of batting and for trying out a block pattern. The maple leaf block finishes at 6" square and is surrounded by a border of the same fabric for a 8" square finished potholder.