Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Scrappy Trip Around the World

When I first discovered Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville.com and her scrappy quilts, the Scrappy Trip Around the World quilt was one of the ones I wanted to make. 
While I was cleaning up and sorting and folding my scraps, I began to cut 2.5" strips for making this quilt. 
I didn't take ANY care for which fabrics I chose or didn't choose. Anything went.
So, there's a real assortment of fabrics in this colorful quilt and it makes me happy just to look at it!
Every time I added a few more blocks, I played with the layout. 
Originally, I thought Option A was the layout I would end up using, but. . .
in the end, Option B was the one that I like the best.
Our granddog was right there when I went outside to take a photo of the finished quilt. 
All the colors look fabulous!
The full effect of this quilt is exactly what drew me to this pattern from the start.
Ready to keep someone warm by the firepit on a fall evening.
Just look at those colors pop!

This quilt is destined to be a donation quilt, but I'm still waiting to hear back from the potential recipients. If it isn't claimed, it will be kept here to be used and loved.


Tuesday, 10 November 2020

Sewing Room Clean-up

Every sew often, I have to do a little cleaning up so I can find what I'm looking for. These drawers are from IKEA and came with their own stand, but my handy husband made frames for them so I could use them in the walk in closet in my sewing room.
Often when I clean, I find fabrics that I think go good together and will set them aside in a baggie to make a quilt at a later date. 
Above are my pinks and reds all neatly folded and easy to see what's there. And below is a stack of fabrics that have similar shades. That pretty floral is a remnant from my sister's sewing for her daughters. (So, about 25-30 years old?)
I don't start with any particular pattern or design, but quilters are nothing if not resourceful and I decided on a few stars with some alternating blocks.
I cut everything out and had just enough of the floral to make the nine block centers. 
The pinks look great in a quilt together even if they weren't exact matches. It also makes the blocks more interesting than if they had all been the exact same fabric.
And this is the drawers, all neatly folded and organized. This won't last too long, but it's pretty when I do get it done!
And I used my rulers to quilt this! It's so great to have a smaller project to practice new skills and this little quilt was just the right canvas to try a few new things on
Zoom in to check out the quilting!
I had a lot of fun working on this one - sometimes it's good to do something just because it's fun!
And I used pink thread on the back too so the quilting could be seen! I still have a few thread nests that I'm sure will get less as I do more of this kind of quilting.


Saturday, 7 November 2020

Vintage Quilt Blocks

Often I get requests to finish something started by another quilter from the past and this year I received a collection of pre-cut stars and some assembled blocks from a client's grandmother.
I was unable to use the blocks that were already pieced together as the center points didn't match up, they weren't all square and they didn't lay flat. 
 I was really sad that I wasn't able to as someone had made a lot of effort to match up solids and prints to make a large quilt.
So I took the pieces that weren't already sewn together, trimmed them down slightly to make the pieces accurate enough to make pretty blocks. My centers weren't all perfect, but they are pretty close! :)
Then I needed to find a border and sashing fabric to bring all the different stars together. 
Light Blue/Gray.

The customer ended up choosing the teal blue and it looks so great; modern and vintage at the same time. An edge to edge feather quilting design just adds to the vintage feel. 

Have you ever finished someone else's unfinished quilt? Did you enjoy the process? 


Wednesday, 4 November 2020

Hello Kitty!

Ii have a repeat customer that loves quilts and quilting but is unable to do it for herself because of chronic health issues, so every so often, I do a commission quilt for her. This time it was a Hello Kitty quilt.
I selected a few designs and adjusted the colors on the embroidery to the purple my client requested. I chose bow tie blocks because Hello Kitty is always with a bow on her head.
I had a fat quarter pack of some purple prints that I thought would work great as a piano key border, but it just felt too busy and took away from the Hello Kitty designs. 
The plain purple cotton solid was a much better pick. And I ended up having all the bows turned the same direction.
I quilted 1/4" echoes around the bow ties and stippled some free motion around the embroidery. 
I added a few hanging loops and it's ready for my customer! 


Friday, 26 June 2020


This is a quilt that I've made before in red, white and blue. I'll see if I can find a photo to show you another day. The basic Lonestar block pattern came from a McCall's Best Quilts magazine (Vol. 3, 1988).
 I had a pack of orange and gray fabrics that I curated (LOVE that word!) from the odds and ends in my fabric collection.  I pieced the star - it seemed to be a bit more difficult than I remembered to get the centre portion to lay flat and not bubble. Those bias seams on diamonds are tricky.
.I added a plain narrow light gray border to square up the centre block and then a wider darker gray border to make the measurements work for the outer checkerboard border.
 I then challenged myself to do some custom quilting on each element of the quilt. So the checkerboard border got an orange peel treatment.
The dark gray border was quilted with swirls. The light gray area, including the border, was free-motion quilted with a meandering pattern. And lastly, the diamonds were quilted a quarter inch in from the seam lines to emphasize the diamond shapes.
 All in all I was pretty happy with this little quilt. The textures looks great and I'm slowly getting better at figuring out different things to quilt in different areas.
 It does take at least double the time to quilt a project with various techniques as opposed to a general all-over design that doesn't take into account the different elements of the piecing.
 Quilt was finished with a gray print that I had in my stash and machine bound with a solid gray fabric.

A quilt with these details doesn't stay in the shop very long and I'm glad I took lots of photos while it was still here. It may be one I do again in a different colourway. (I'm pinning lots of colour inspiration on Pinterest!)


Wednesday, 3 June 2020

Winnie the Pooh

Not really sure if I've shared this one with you yet. A few months ago, I had a call from someone who heard that I make and sell my quilts and do custom work. She had a set of 4 Winnie the Pooh cross stitch blocks that she had done with her daughter and wanted them made into a quilt for her expected grandchild.
 I did have some Winnie the Pooh fabrics left from a previous project that were perfect for this quilt. I was not sure that I would have enough, so I went looking to find a few more pieces so I could add them to make this quilt a good size to last from baby to toddler.
 Unfortunately, I was unable to find what I needed, so the next challenge was to make do with what I had. Adding a couple of coordinating solids gave me the extra fabric I needed to make this quilt the size we were looking for. A fun frame of orange and gray and simple piecing of the hexagon fabric I had on hand resulted in a fun quilt top that let the cross stitch pieces take centre stage.
I then decided that I didn't want to quilt this with my usual all over meandering quilting and sent it to Marie of Blueberry Hill Quilts in High River, Alberta so she could work her magic. We choose a honey bee quilting pattern and a simple cross-hatch over the stitched pictures.

The end result is a really pretty quilt that will be sure to be a heirloom in the family. A piece of personally stitched pieces from family and finished by Magpie Quilts!

Have you used embroidery or cross-stitching as a starting point for a quilt project?


Monday, 1 June 2020

Disappearing 9-patch baby quilt

I've done a lot of sorting and cleaning up in my sewing room during this "Stay home, stay safe" time of COVID-19. And I find all kinds of unfinished projects and extra blocks. I made a twin size quilt with these fabrics a year or so ago and had a couple blocks left over and some fabric left.

And just like a sour-dough bread starter that is needed to start a new loaf of bread, I use left-over blocks like these as a starting point for new quilt projects.
 I put the blocks up on my design wall and cut and pieced some more until I had enough for a baby quilt. I didn't think I had enough of the navy with the silvery gray print circles on it, so I chose another similar shade of navy for the small squares.
In the end I still had a few blocks left over - so much for using those up! And after it was all pieced together and quilted, I found enough of the original navy fabric that I wouldn't have had to substitute.

But that's the way things go sometime and there will be another navy and green quilt at some point because I still have a few blocks to use as a quilt-starter in the future.

How about you? Do you save left-over blocks or orphan blocks to make new projects? Tell me about how you've used your left over pieced pieces.


Monday, 11 May 2020

New Skill - Quilting with Rulers

Even though I've been quilting for over 30 years, there's always something new to learn or ways to improve my skills. I happened to see a post about ruler quilting on one of my social media feeds and looked into it a little to see what it was all about.
 That little foray into ruler quilting led to a class at my local quilting shop and a purchase of a ruler foot for my specific machine and a set of basic rulers to get started.
 I made up a simple table runner from some pretty fabrics and after a little practice on a practice piece, I tried this new technique out.
 It's not perfect, but it looks pretty good for a first attempt on a project.
 I'll need a lot more practice, but I'm watching all the Angela Walters and Amanda Murphy videos to hopefully learn some tips from the experts!
 And ta-da! A finished table runner!
Rail Fence Table Runner
What techniques have you learned recently? Where do you go to learn new things?