Thursday, 27 December 2012

Purple & Gray Table Runner

This was made for a Christmas gift and because I didn't want it to be seen ahead of time, I haven't posted it yet - just a sneak peek on my Facebook page. I've had these bright colours here for a while and love the way they pop with a gray background!
 This size of table runner is so versatile - here it is on my dresser as a dresser scarf - great bedroom accent piece!
 Quilting is kept simple with a meandering all-over machine quilted pattern.
 And binding is machine stitched to the back and then top-stitches to the front.
And backed with a muted lavender print! I hope the recipient was happy when she opened this gift!

--Ann

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

WIP Wednesday - December 19

This bright colored quilt was finished today for my grand-daughter. She's the one busy making art in the picture below!
Charm square quilt
Beautiful artist!
These are the fat quarters of fabric I started with and the photo on the right is what I originally thought I'd make. I cut each fat quarter into a couple 2.25" strips for binding and the rest into 5" charm squares. (I've lost my work sheet that I used to figure it all out, so there are no exact instructions here today!)

I love my design wall because I can see the whole design before I sew anything together. In this case, the layout was just too busy for me - it came down rather quickly as it seemed to jar my senses every time I looked at it. After some rearranging and rethinking the design, this was the final result! 5" charm squares separated by 2.5"x5" strips of white Kona cotton, put together in rows.

Normally I send my bed size quilts out to be quilted, but this quilt was quilted by me on my Janome 4030QDC machine with straight line quilting. The back is a pretty butterfly flannel that will coordinate with the butterfly sheets that will be on her bed (totally unplanned!) The binding was machine stitched to the backing, flipped to the front and top-stitched by machine for a beautiful finish. I've only recently started to machine stitch my binding and it's amazing how quickly it goes.

How about you? Do you make quilts for special people? Do these quilts always go as planned or do you change things up as you go?

--Ann

Linking up with:
Quiltsy WIP Wednesday #41
Needle and Thread Network WIP Wednesday #70
Freshly Pieced WIP Wednesday


Seasons Mini Quilt Swap

Maple Leaf Seasons Mini Quilt
Summer leaf details
Here's the finish on the Season's Mini Quilt that I posted about earlier this month. The maple leaf block is one I've used many times, but this time I didn't piece the stem. Instead, I machine stitched the veins in the leaves and the stem with a variegated green thread and then did a close stippling on the sky blue background.

I'm still waiting patiently for the quilt my partner made for me and will post it here as soon as I get it!

--Ann 

Monday, 17 December 2012

Custom Quilts Headed to Texas


 Just came back from the Post Office where I sent these quilts off to their new home in Texas! It's so exciting to see where my quilts are ending up and these bright blue quilts were a pleasure to make.

These photos are taken in our basement guest room which was repainted earlier this year from a chocolate brown to a creamy white. The room is much brighter now and the neutral colour means I can now take photos of my quilts there. I still need to make curtains for the window and am thinking that just a plain bleached muslin fabric would be perfect with a little black trim or  embroidery to add some detail.



Blue Tempest #1
Blue Tempest #2
The pattern chosen by the customer was the Tempest from Cherry House Quilts. Isn't it gorgeous here in shades of purple Kona cottons? The pattern was lost in transit and so I just improvised so I could get these quilts completed, but Cherri is resending, so I'll have a copy soon! Cherri is the author of the quilt book "City Quilts" which I've borrowed from the library and is on my quilt book wish list!


My sewing machine has been humming and I will be busy this week finishing gifts for Christmas!

--Ann

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

WIP Wednesday - December 5

My Little Chickadees from HoneynCloves
 I think I've burnt out on making quilted stuff for my Etsy shop and am ready to make a few things for myself! I recently bought this little chickadee wool kit off Etsy from HoneynCloves and I hope to piece it together over the holidays. Just a little low key, relaxing handwork.
Four Seasons Mini Quilt Swap on Flickr
And I did sign up for another mini quilt swap on Flickr and the due date was November 30. I had lots of wonderful ideas in my head and thought I'd have plenty of time to finish this, but only got it done today! Here's a peek and you'll see the whole quilt when my swap partner receives it. And here's the link to the Flickr Mini QT group so you can see the other mini's that were swapped!
Blue Tempest Quilt (pattern from Cherry House)
The twin custom quilts and pillow shams are at Blueberry Hill Quilts in Chestermere, Alberta to be quilted by Marie. Someone asked me about the pattern last week and it's based on the Tempest pattern from Cherry House quilts. I did order the pattern off the Cherry House website, but it has not yet arrived, so I'm just winging it from the photos.

Today I am linking up with other quilters at:
Quiltsy WIP Wednesday #39
The Needle and Thread Network WIP Wednesday #68

--Ann

Friday, 30 November 2012

Christmas Cookie Exchange

My sweet mother-in-law gave me a gift this week - it was a little note book filled with her favourite recipes, especially the ones she used for Christmas time. I have a hard time expressing just how thrilled I was to receive such a special gift from her heart to mine. I haven't started my Christmas baking yet, but will be using one or two of these recipes, just to try them out while I still have someone I can ask if things don't quite turn out the way they should.
Image from Better Homes and Gardens
I have a regular food related feature on the Etsy Alberta Street Team blog and this week I've listed my top five sources for holiday baking. Here's the link: Christmas Cookie Exchange - Alberta Eats.

Enjoy!

--Ann

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Blue, Blue, this Quilt is Blue!

I've been working over the past month collecting blue fabrics and now piecing them together for a custom quilt order for a Texas customer. She has ordered two twin quilts complete with pillow shams for her son's room.
Stacks of Blue
Just a few blocks done
I love these shades of blue - they make me think about sailing on the ocean! I have one quilt top done today and the other will be done tomorrow and then they are off to Marie of Blueberry Hill Quilts to be quilted!

--Ann

I am linking with Quiltsy WIP Wednesday #38
and The Needle and Thread Network WIP Wednesday #67

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Crocheted Baby Blanket

My daughter-in-law, Leanne has been busy making crocheted baby blankets. I will be listing these in my Etsy shop alongside my quilted items, so please check by often to see what's new!
Crocheted Blanket in Blue - FOR SALE

--Ann

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Blog-a-thon Canada

All this month, the Sew Sisters Quilt Shop is celebrating quilting/crafting bloggers across Canada and today they are here in Alberta!

Hop on over to visit Shena from Apple Pie Patchwork who is hosting the Alberta segment of the Blogathon and check out some Alberta quilters and crafters! There is a give away there too for some yummy looking red and orange fat quarters! See you there!

--Ann

Friday, 9 November 2012

Grandchildren

This week we welcomed our 5th grandchild, Jocelyn to the family. Isn't she a cutie?


While Dad went to pick up Mom and baby from the hospital, the big sisters hung out with Grandma!
Sweet Penny!
Cucumber lover Isabelle!
So, sewing and quilting was on the back burner this week!

--Ann

Thursday, 8 November 2012

New Winner for Give Away

Unfortunately, our first winner did not get back to me with an address! So that means I can make someone else's day and choose a new winner.

SUE EDDY - You are a WINNER! I will be trying to get in touch with you for somewhere to send these lovely placemats and napkins!

--Ann


Friday, 2 November 2012

Shop Local - Piggy and Bear

Continuing the shop local highlights, I would like to introduce Heather from Piggy and Bear. Her outfits for little girls and boys are adorable and I'm so happy to share her creations with you.
Cupcake Cuties Mother Daughter Aprons
Etsy shop: www.piggyandbear.etsy.com
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/pages/Piggy-and-Bear/151624034879630
Twitter: www.twitter.com/piggy_and_bear

1.    Please introduce yourself and tell us a little about how you started creating.

My name is Heather.  I live in Calgary, Alberta.  I worked in television news for many years, and I'm currently a stay at home mom of two beautiful children, ages 3 and 5.  When I became a mom it was a big priority for me to learn to sew.  I wanted to create unique and special pieces for them as my mother had for me and my siblings when we were small.  I love to sew, it's become my passion!  It is also therapeutic for me as I've had Rheumatoid Arthritis since I was a teenager.  Sewing and crocheting really help keep my joints moving and limber.

2.    What inspired you to move from creating as a hobby to creating as a business?

I adore fabric, I simply can't get enough!  You might even call me a fabric hoarder.  When my office became overrun with fabric, it was clear that I should probably up my sewing output and share my creations with the world!  Kidding aside, I'd been obsessed with Etsy for years, dreaming of one day having my own shop and being a part of such a wonderfully creative and talented community of artisans and crafters.  I mustered the courage and launched Piggy and Bear in the fall of 2010.  It is my dream and ambition to transition Piggy and Bear from a hobby to a career when my kids head off to school full time.    

3.    Show us a few of your favourite pieces and why they are your favourite.
 

This little blue pinafore with the red heart buttons is a sentimental favorite.  It was one of the first pieces in my shop to 'take off' and remains one of my top sellers even though it's no longer listed.
Slouchy Beret Hipster Hat
I love the purple beret and cowl dress because not only does the photo feature my daughter, but this listing has allowed me to feature two products in one listing.  I also love the retro vibe of this look and have made a ton of both of these pieces.
Retro Ruffled Rainbow Bubble Romper
I adore and am really inspired by all things vintage.  I like to mix modern and vintage patterns and fabrics to create contemporary yet timeless pieces.  This rainbow romper, again featuring my daughter, has such a fun, vintage feel.  I love the ruffles!
Bow Tie
I'm constantly asked to make more pieces for boys which has been a challenge because I would much rather sew dresses--I love them!  My son gets his share of pants so I wanted to make something different for him.  This little bow tie is a fun piece that has a vintage feel and is once again trendy and popular today.  This bow tie is also special because Sebastian made it to the front page of Etsy wearing it!

4.    What does shop local mean to you and why is it important (or not important)?

'Shop local' is extremely important because living in a big city, I often feel that the sense of community is somewhat lost.  I enjoy doing craft fairs where I'm able to connect one on one with customers and develop an ongoing relationship.  It's important to me as a consumer as well to know the people and stories behind what I'm purchasing.  I feel the same about Etsy.  It has allowed me to connect with customers, even if they're half way around the world, fostering that same 'local' feeling, but on a global scale.  That's one of the great things about the Internet, in that it has made the world a much smaller place.
   
5.    Is there any one moment or experience in developing your art or your business that stands out in your mind? Why?

I'm always thrilled when someone features one of my pieces in a Treasury.  When that Treasury makes it to the front page of Etsy is a terrific feeling!  The whole Treasury concept has really influenced the way I feature and photograph my work.  Photography has turned into another creative outlet, encouraging me to showcase my pieces in captivating and dynamic ways.
Hard Candy Christmas Twirl Skirt
6.    Do you have any of your pieces in a local shop or in an artisan market? Tell us where and when.

I'm gearing up for the Christmas/Holiday market season!  I'll be attending the "Elves in the Village II" event at the historic Simmons Building in Downtown Calgary on December 1st and 2nd from 10:00 am- 7:00 pm.  I'm also taking part in the "What the Craft! Calgary" event at the Bridgeland-RIverside Community Centre on December 8th from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm.  Hope to see you there!

Thanks for sharing, Heather!

--Ann

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

One Block Wonder Finished

Some quilts are completed quickly and others need time to percolate and age before they are finished. This one block wonder quilt was one that needed time. I rarely take classes, preferring to spend my $ on fabric than techniques I can learn online or through a book. My local quilt store, Along Came Quilting offered this class a few years ago and I loved the sample and signed up!

The first part of constructing this quilt was the hexagons that are made from little triangles. 6 layers of fabric were layered so that the pattern was matched on all 6 layers. With a new blade in the rotary cutter, strips were cut and then triangles and each set of six identical pieces were pinned together so they wouldn't get mixed up.


The second part was the 3-D blocks that are set into the background of kaleidoscope hexagons. These were fun to make, but difficult to incorporate into the background. There was a lot of playing with pieces on the design wall to come up with a final design that was pleasing to the eye!



But, finally, all the pieces were sewn together and I wasn't please with how it looked at that time. So off to the back of the closet it went to age. I took it out again recently and took a few seams out and redid it so the blocks flowed out into the borders and now I'm so happy this one is done! I still have a piece of fabric in my stash that was meant for another one of these. . . I wonder if it will take as long as the first one!

Do you have a project that needed time to age before finishing?

--Ann



Monday, 29 October 2012

String Piecing Mug Rugs

I am a scrap fabric hoarder saver and this past week I took out my string fabric scraps. Strips of fabric that are larger than 3/4" and smaller than 2" are perfect for string quilts. I used some of my scraps up last year in this quilt that was made with a blocks from my online quilting friends:
Scrappy strings Baby Quilt
But I still have quite a few left and thought I'd use them for some craft sale projects. First thing I did was separate the strips by colour
Scrappy Strings ready to sew
 And on a piece of batting that was about 7"x9", I started sewing strips down, quilting as I went. The first strip goes on right side up and then the next strip right sides down on top of the first strip, lining up the edges. Sew a 1/4" seam and press open. Repeat on both sides of the first strip until the batting is covered.
Adding string scraps to batting
Trim square - I trimmed mine to 6.5"x8.5". Add backing fabric and bind as you would a normal quilt. Or if you're adventuresome, try turning your backing fabric to the front as binding.
Scrappy String Mug Rugs
And there I have some mug rugs (snack mats) that used up some of my scraps and hopefully will be great sellers at the craft sale I'm in on Saturday!

--Ann

Linking up with:
Quiltsy WIP Wednesday #34
Needle and Thread Network WIP Wednesday #63
Freshly Pieced WIP Wednesday

Friday, 26 October 2012

Shop Local - Ufer



I know you will just love the hand knitted items that Freda from Ufer has for sale in her Etsy shop! Freda is from Edmonton, but her products would be at home anywhere in the world!
 Links (blog, pinterest, facebook, twitter, etc.)

1.   Please introduce yourself and tell us a little about how you started creating.
My name is Freda born here in Edmonton, Alberta Canada. My father was a welder who traveled and lived all over in North America. (USA, Alaska and all over Canada.) Married to a wonderful guy and have one child. My son is 17 years old now. Learning how to knit and crochet around the age of 9 from my grandmother and it has been a part of my life ever since.

2.   What inspired you to move from creating as a hobby to creating as a business?

I have been giving away my handmade items to friend and family. One day I went to drop some donations to Value Village. I saw one of my handmade items. I had given as a gift. The effort I put in to it... I bought it and showed it to the person I gave to. She was surprised to see it. Found out later she gave it to someone else and that person gave it to someone else and ended up at a thrift store. After that I started selling my items to whoever can appreciate it.

3.   Show us a few of your favourite pieces and why they are your favourite.

Every item I make as I make it for myself. I don't post them on Etsy for couple of months. I think about it and would love to know who buys it will appreciate it. One of my most favorite items is my angora boleros. 

I have been knitting these boleros since Kate Middleton wore hers:) It was a male customer who asked me to knit one for his wife as a gift. Mostly it is the last minute thing brides order. And, It takes me day and night to knit and ship it to them. The comments I get... It is worth for everything:)

4.   What does shop local mean to you and why is it important (or not important)?

First thing I look is for something I can buy local. But, usually it is so, hard to find. I end up ordering online. Local, you can see, and feel what you are buying. For some reason it is more expensive...

5.   Is there any one moment or experience in developing your art or your business that stands out in your mind? Why?

Again, my handmade knitted angora boleros. I hand spun the yarn from angora fiber. Dying the yarn and knitting. The end result is authentic. You can't find it anywhere. It is one of a kind.

6.   Do you have any of your pieces in a local shop or in an artisan market? Tell us where and when.

Yes, I have my hand made items at Scott's Sweaters in Florida, USA. He is the one buying from me and selling it there. And here is his link to my items www.scottssweaters.com/wedding.htm

Thank you for sharing your story with us, Freda!
--Ann