Monday, 30 April 2012

Country Crazy Quilt

My quilting friend, Noell, came back from her winter down south with this lovely crazy quilt pattern that she shared with the Dalemead Quilt Guild that meets southeast of Calgary, Alberta.

The blocks are made from 5 fat quarters of fabric. I had a half meter of the darkest fabric and this baby quilt used up all the fabrics. There is a piece of the larger fabric left, but not enough to even make the binding, so if you want binding, you'll have to add fabric for that.
Step One: Cut four 8" squares from each fabric. We stacked our fat quarters and cut through all 5 layers at once to make 4 neat stacks of 8" squares. Set three stacks aside and work with one stack at a time.
Step Two: Cut your stack of squares into 5 pieces. Avoid parallel cuts, sharp points, and intersections at outside corners. You may want to sketch out your cuts on paper before actually cutting your fabric. As you cut, label the pieces that are cut off from 1 - 5 (1 being the first piece cut off and 5 being the last piece). You may cut all stacks the same or treat each stack differently - the latter will make a more interesting finished piece.
Step Three: Scramble your pieces using the following directions before sewing them back together:
Step Four: Sew blocks back together with scant 1/4" seam in REVERSE ORDER (piece 5 to piece 4, then add piece 3, add piece 2, add piece 1). You will notice that seams might not match perfectlyl. Don't worry, you will trim them to size later. Press as you sew and when finished, trim your first stack of blocks to 7"x7". If you can't get 7" out of your blocks, just trim them all a little smaller - as long as they are the same size, your quilt top will look fine!
Repeat until all four of your stacks of fabric are sewn into blocks. (Makes 20 blocks)
Arrange your blocks however you like - 16 blocks will make a nice table topper and as you can see, 20 blocks makes a great start on a baby quilt. Add a border or two, use a decorative stitch from your sewing machine to dress up the crazy patch, the possibilities are endless!


Friday, 27 April 2012

Early Influences & 1 Year of Blogging!

Wow! I can't believe it, but I've been blogging for a full year! I hope you're enjoying reading what I have to say! I still feel it's a bit presumptuous to think people really want to know what's on my mind! Often, while I'm sewing, I think about why I love to make things and who or what encouraged me along the way. Being creative is something that feeds my soul. I don't ever remember a time when I didn't have that urge in me to "make" something.

My parents had their own business and when I was there with them, I loved to pull out the coloured papers that were there for the photo-copier and a pair of scissors, pencils, markers and pencil crayons. I would happily cut and draw and colour for hours and although none of my creations survived the passage of time, the time was well-spent.
From Red Pepper Quilts

Later, sewing, crocheting and knitting were added to my crafting skills and I made doll clothes, blankets and gifts for those around me as well as for myself. I remember going on a school field trip and one of the parent supervisors had brought along her fabric hexagons and was making a tea cozy - I no longer remember the purpose of the field trip, but the process of turning bits of fabric into a useful item was burned into my memory.

A librarian suggested a book for me to read in the 4th or 5th grade. It was called "Calico Bush" and was about a young girl who was "bound" or indentured to a family as their servant until she came of age and how her life was brightened by the quilts she was allowed to make and be part of making. It was then I decided that I would make at least one quilt in my life-time!

Like many quilters, my first quilt was for my first-born (he's now 27!) and because it wasn't made from quality materials, it didn't last past the 2nd child! The second quilt was a double wedding ring quilt that was made from sewing scraps. It took 9 years to piece together by hand and to hand-quilt. Sometime along the way, I discovered rotary cutters and tried easier patterns and have made many more quilts.

What was your inspiration to start quilting? Do you have any stories about your earliest exposures to quilting?


Thursday, 26 April 2012


Just use coupon code


at checkout when you're shopping at

Magpie Quilts on Etsy

Sale ends May 3 (6pm Mountain Daylight Time)

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

WIP Wednesday - April 25

My sewing machine sat idle for most of the week, but today was my weekly sewing day with a couple friends. As it turns out, there were only 2 of us here at my house today. My friend, Marie, was working on a challenge quilt from her guild retreat and was adding some beading embellishments.
Click to enlarge and check out the gorgeous beading on this one!
And I was playing catch up from one of the swaps I'm behind on - the Scrap Buster's Bee on Flickr. The idea here is that once a month, a member of the group posts what type of quilt block they want and the other members make that quilt block from their scraps. Here's the one block from the 3 months that I was behind on:
Scrappy crazy quilt block
While I was looking for some of my old craft supplies, I found this folded star pincushion kit that I started and didn't finish. It's now a little closer to being completed, but I need to find some fiberfill to stuff it. Although I love the look of the folded star, it was a little too fussy and time-consuming for my liking.
Folded Star Pincushion
 The other project on my table today was the Granny Square quilt. I have a couple blocks sewed together now and I can tell this is going to be another favourite of mine.

Granny Square quilt blocks
 What unfinished projects are lurking hidden in the back of your closets?


The Needle & Thread Network

Monday, 23 April 2012

Earth Day 2012

Does anybody remember the 3-R's? Re-duce, Re-use, and Re-cycle? We try to incorporate these into our everyday life and are getting better at battling the massive consumer mentality that is so much a part of our North American culture.

Our household has been trying to reduce our consumer footprint. We are visiting the Farmer's Market more frequently for our produce, using cloth bags instead of plastic and just not buying as much "stuff". I mean, how much "stuff" do we really need?

The very heart of quilting is the whole concept of re-use. Although most of my projects are made from new material, I also have fabric set aside from old clothing for some future projects as well as ribbons and trims scavenged from other uses. In my gardening, plastic pots are re-used until they are falling apart. This is a theme I would like to explore more in the coming year, especially with my Etsy shop, so watch for that in the coming months.

And recycling! I have to say that my husband is a great recycler! He cleans up all our glass, plastic and tins, removes labels and built an awesome recycling centre in our garage. Composting has made the largest impact on reducing our garbage, especially when we had a houseful of teenage boys. And it's great for the garden! Because we live in the country, we do not have regular pick up of garbage or recyclables, so it makes us a little more conscious of the way we dispose of our waste.

I'm a pack rat at heart, but am slowly going through the house, room by room, and sorting stuff into things that we still need and use and stuff that's garbage and stuff that's no longer needed here, but still good enough for someone else to use.

The most recent sort and purge has been my craft supplies. I'm a craft lover and along with that comes the supplies that go with any kind of craft activity. I had painting projects on my mind this weekend and pulled out my paints that haven't been used for a few years and found them dried out! So, out they went into the garbage! But that meant I'd have to make a trip in to buy the paint I was looking for. A quick trip to Michael's and Ikea and a few $ later, I had my paints and some great organizer bins to sort the rest of my craft supplies!

How do you celebrate "Earth Day"? Not just today, but every day?


Wednesday, 18 April 2012

WIP Wednesday - April 18, 2012

The snow is finally gone and the grass is starting to turn green and that makes it hard for me to stay focused on quilting projects. Saturday was the local Dalemead Quilt Guild's annual Stone Soup Day, where we all get together and work on quilts that will be given to local charity groups.
Scrappy strips - donated
Above is a baby quilt/toddler quilt that I donated from blocks received in the Scrap Busters Swap. The green border is a reproduction print that I already had and the backing is a flannel, also from my stash! We had a great time, so much fun that I forgot about taking pictures until we were packing up! By then all the quilts were put away!
3x6 Bee Flickr Swap
With a fresh week and a clean design wall, the rest of the 3x6 bee blocks were put back up. These are the quilt blocks that were primarily blue and white and I framed them with a blue print fabric that I was hoarding had in my closet. It is a good size for a baby quilt, but on the wall, I thought it wasn't the right mix for a baby. I've pulled out an assortment of blue fabrics and will be adding to all sides of this quilt to make something at least lap size. Stay tuned to see what happens next!
Dr. Seuss baby quilt
And yesterday I was working on the Dr. Seuss baby quilt - it's all quilted and the binding just about finished. Last week, I missed my WIP Wednesday, but I did finish another baby boy quilt, took a couple photos and put it up for sale.
Baby Boy Quilt with Minky back - FOR SALE
Thanks for all your comments! I really appreciate hearing from all of you!
The Needle & Thread Network

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Granny Square Quilt

I think my Granny Square quilt is working it's way up to the top of my to-do pile. This is such a great project to use up some of those scraps in your fabric stash. While I'm procrastinating waiting to start, here's some great examples of Granny Square quilts from all over the web.

from Blue Elephant Stitches
from Canoe Ridge Creations
from A Quilting Life
from Quilt Story

Hope you enjoyed a little quilting inspiration!


Monday, 9 April 2012

Wedding Quilt Finished!

This custom quilt was a joy to complete from start to finish. Although paper piecing is not my first choice for constructing a full-size quilt, this quilt pattern needed the precision that paper piecing provides.
Click to see close up of the quilting!
I loved the fabrics and this quilt pattern works well with the fabrics chosen. Marie of Blueberry Hill Quilts in Chestermere, Alberta, did a beautiful job on the quilting (as always!) and selected a paisley floral pattern that is just stunning on the completed quilt.
Looks great on my wall - maybe I should make one for me?
Someone will need to remind me to take pictures of the FINISHED quilt - the pictures I took were before the binding was sewn down and I packed the quilt up and forgot to rehang it and take some pictures before packing it up.


Here's the link to the paper-piecing pattern I used - you'll need 4 copies per 12" block

Please let me know (magpiequilts(at)google(dot)com) if the link doesn't work for you - this is my first time uploading and sharing a google document!

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

WIP Wednesday

WOW! This week flew by and here we are at Wednesday again! The quilt binding is sewn on the Sunshine & Cloud yellow and gray quilt from last week and the custom wedding quilt is being quilted. I cut the left-over fabric from the wedding quilt into 1.5" and 2" squares and set them aside and while browsing some of my favourite quilting blogs, I found this picture of the Granny Square quilt block done up in red and white fabrics from Auntie Em at Quilt Crossing.

I thought how awesome that block looked, so complicated, yet so simple and imagined how the left-over squares would look done up in this pattern, so here's a couple that I put up on my design wall:

This will probably be a WIP for a while, as I have several other projects that I need to finish, but this one may not let me ignore it for long! I don't have enough squares for a full-size quilt, but I see this one as a picnic quilt or a lap quilt for sitting on the front porch on a cool evening.

One of the projects that is ahead of the granny square quilt is my blocks from the 3x6 bee group on Flickr. I wanted to include all the blocks into one quilt top, but it just wasn't working. I split out the blue and white blocks and you'll see them another time, and put the blue, yellow and purple ones together with an awesome batik fabric from my local quilt shop, Along Came Quilting. I originally wanted to finish these with lots of white space, but no matter how I arranged the quilt blocks, it never looked quite right. So, here's how it's going together:
Auditioning white space or sashing
Sashing wins!
Sashing with borders
So, that's what's keeping me busy this week! What are you working on? Have you ever had a project not want to go the way you thought it should?


Quiltsy WiP
The Needle & Thread Network WIP Wednesday