Friday, September 22, 2017

Ribbon Stars: Quilt and Cushion

Woot! Woot! It's Friday, and I have not one but two finishes to share, three if you count the fact that I finally (like FINALLY) wrote up the pattern for a quilt I made in 2015. If you read my blog or Sew In Love With Fabric's blog yesterday, you will have seen the quilt, the tutorial for it, and the flimsy of the cushion, as well as the sweet giveaway.

I hauled it along on our 2.5 km dog walk the other day because I knew there was a beautiful shady forested area at the beginning of this particular part of the Greenway.
Have to have the signature quilt in a tree shot

However, I'd forgotten that there were meadows. Meadows!  The line is Amanda Murphy's Meadow Dance. Perfect!

The hop has been on all week, and there is a fabulous prize at each of the four blogger's posts, mine included which is here. Clicking on Sew in Love With Fabric will take you to the tutorial for my quilt, as well as the list of bloggers, their giveaway posts, and their tutorials. Here are a few more pics of this sweet quilt, and the pillow I also made.
Literally in a meadow of wildflowers!
I had to start working on this quilt while we had Brianne and Brady for their annual visit for eight days.  So that shows how quickly it goes together. No-waste geese and piecing it in columns with long rectangles to avoid unnecessary seams, sure helps speed things up.

NOT helping speed things up was how fascinated Bella was with the quilt from fabrics (check Instagram for her plonked in the middle of a bunch of 2 1/2" strips of it), to squaring it to trying to bind it:
Bella bum
I had to boot her off unceremoniously more than once!

The quilting, was quick: a simple wavy lines I free-motion quilted on Avril, which is a bit harder than it looks! Lorna of Sew Fresh Quilts is the queen of this IMHO.
Organic wavy quilting in the blocks where the ribbon centres were horizontal, then vertical wavy quilting in the vertical ribbon blocks and the background on either side of them.

I almost used a white thread, but didn't like it on the soft grey background. I chose grey because I'd just read an interview with Alison Glass where she said she prefers not to use a white background, but a light grey, not a black but a charcoal grey, or a navy. I'm so glad I did use the light grey in the line. When it came to choosing thread to quilt it, I spied in my threads drawer a Coats and Clark variegated polyester in pastels of yellow green and pink and thought, hmm... and so it was.

I remembered to sew in my mmm! quilts label before I finished the binding! LOL No ripping this time.

I said in my blog hop post that I like interesting and fun backs. I also always quilt in one or two interesting items, the recipient's name, my name or initials, and sometimes inspirational words.
Where's Waldo? I mean 'SW'? This also shows you the dot to dot design I did in the cornerstones, and you get an idea of the way the variegated threads quilt up.

I used Hobbs Tuscany polyester batting and I am just so in love with this batting. This is my third experience with it; it is a dream to quilt, so light and airy, with great definition of quilting.

Rolled up:

Yup, it's on my new granite countertop!
When Brianne saw it for the first time: Is this like a rock?
Her dad and me: Ya think? That's why they call it granite?

To be fair we got the leathered granite; it's not glossy. One touch in the shop as I walked by to be shown a different piece, and I was done-done. Like fabric, I want to pet it every time I walk by it. And? Unlike the high-gloss popular granite finish, this doesn't show fingerprints. Bonus. And it looks like rock because it IS rock.

One last meadow pic, well two because these flowers were stunning, and the photo does not do them justice. Clearly they are volunteers, false sunflowers I think:
So tall and straight! I badly wanted a quilt photo in there, but MacGyver deterred me with his cautions of snakes and ticks lurking amongst the tall grasses and plants.

This will be for sale shortly in my Etsy shop.  I will be giving all the proceeds from the sale of this quilt to Windsor's Mosque School of Ehlul Bayt (same one to which I gave the Syrian refugees quilt) who is organizing a fundraiser to send money to help the persecuted Rohingya people of Myanmar. A piece on the PBS newshour this past week, and another on CBC, have shaken me to the core. This is shockingly like another Rwanda and I CANNOT stand by and do nothing.

Here is a great "How Can I Help?" site on Windsor's website. It can apply to all, just recently: refugees, victims of earthquakes, hurricanes, and tornadoes.
Here is a PBS article about the persecution of these people.

Quilt Stats:
Pattern:  Original design
Size: 42X45"
Fabric:  Contempo (Benartex) Meadow Dance by Amanda Murphy
Batting: Hobbs Tuscany polyester
Quilted: on my Avanté
Threads:  pieced with Gütermann cotton; quilted with Coats and Clark variegated polyester 40 wt

Meadow Dance Cushion

For a completely different look and feel, here is the cushion all finished.  These are all fabrics in the same line! I just loved the Crocket Lace aqua fabric and immediately knew it would make a terrific cushion cover.
Using a bit for the front, and a 2 1/2" strip for a jelly roll quilt meant some rather stressful moments when it came to having enough for a cushion back!
Hmmm, what to do for the front?  Hey! Why not the ribbon stars, just smaller and four all nested together!

Other than the inside pocket on a bag I made a few years ago, I have never done straight line matchstick quilting on an entire quilt. The lines are 1/4" apart. Here it is once the front was done and squared up:

I used my favourite colour of Aurifil thread: 2600. It blended beautifully with all the colours in the cushion, even on the white.
Wow! I can't get over how blue-toned this photo is; took it in the shade!

Bella loved this one too, but not as much as the quilt!

The inside before assembly:

I used Warm 'n White, my favourite, go-to batting, (yes, Hobbs is a close second, both their wool and their polyester) and IKEA muslin for the quilt sandwich. Cushions are great for using up chunks of leftover batting. You can see the line faintly in the bottom fifth of the cushion where it is pieced. It doesn't show at all on the front.

I used Crochet Lace Black for the binding as well as the black within the ribbon centre blocks. The back is a simple envelope style:
Very true colours here in the sunshine.
I very nearly forgot to stitch in the label, but foof! with 3/4 of the last side to stitch on the binding, I remembered! You'd think I'd learn from how many times I've had to rip off binding both front and back to insert my label!

Cushion Stats:
Pattern:  Original design
Size: 18.5 X 18.5"
Fabric:   Contempo (Benartex) Meadow Dance by Amanda Murphy
Batting: Warm 'n White scraps
Quilted: on my Bernina
Threads:  pieced with Gütermann cotton; quilted with Aurifil 2600 40 wt

Two tips for a Friday:

1. I found that if I just eyeballed the 1/4" lines along a seam, and then used the previous stitching line as my 1/4" guide, I could very quickly start to have lines that were veering off a bit.  So I would find the middle of a section, for example the middle of a 6 1/2" strip in the ribbon centre, and stitch down it, and then stitch the lines on either side of it. When it came to the square in a square sections, I marked the centre with a Hera marker, which was at the 2" mark, and stitched it first, then halved each section again, so at the 1" mark, and stitched down the centre. From there I worked outwards. This gave me a much more even parallel lines result.
In this 2" section, I stitched 1/2" in from each seam, then 1/4", and then used the 1/2" lines to centre my walking foot and stitch straight down the centre, which saved me marking the 1" line.
Tip 2: I found out that picmonkey is no longer free. WAAAAH! Of course I found this out on Wednesday, the morning that I had to write my post to email to Lisa for the blog hop. Murphy's Law. However, I learned how to quickly enhance and add text to my photos on my iPhone! Thank you Google. Thank you Apple. You can Google it too to find out. All the photos here were done on my phone and then emailed to myself to add into the post, which I write on my MacBook Pro.

Okay, had to: Tip 3: Connecting Threads (affiliate link) is having quite the sale! I thought the code was 'HellofaFall' LOL but it's 'HelloFall'!! There is up to 60% off fabric and a free mug with web orders over $60! Ah the temptation...and I haven't even shown you my scores from the last awesome sale... And...
Sew Sisters (no affiliation, just love for their store) is having an extra 20% off their clearance section (my favourite section of any quilt shop ha) on September 24, online only!
Happy shopping, and thank you just so much for the support when you click through and make a purchase using my links. mwah!😘

Linking up

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Meadow Dance Blog Hop - Baby Quilt and A Giveaway

Hello everyone, regular readers and new ones both! Today I am super-excited to share the tutorial for my Ribbon Stars quilt with all of you. It uses the gorgeous new line of fabric by Amanda Murphy, Contempo's (Benartex Fabric) Meadow Dance. I have loved Amanda Murphy's designs and her quilting for some time, so I did a little happy meadow dance of my own when I was asked to be a part of this hop at Benartex's blog, Sew in Love With Fabric.

Pinch me! Just looking at the lush designs on that button, which happen to be in my favourite fabric in the line, makes me smile.

So my quilt is one I designed two years ago for Sarah's (Confessions of a Fabric Addict) Hands2Help charity quilt drive. It got quite the love.
Readers:  Are you going to write a pattern?
Moi:  Yes! Of course!

It didn't happen.

Well I had notes jotted down and my graph paper drawings and figurings... And then I made it again, only bigger, Blue Ribbon Stars, for one of my aunts....and it got more love...

Readers:  Are you going to write a pattern?
Moi:  Yes! Of course!

Uh, it didn't happen, much as it wanted to be let out.

And then...this.

Well, I was asked to do a small, simple project.  But I couldn't decide which fabrics because I adored them all, even the ladybugs, and I do not like bugs.  However. Ladybugs I do like, and I will pick them up and save them...


Like a Howler for Ron from Mrs. Weasley, this quilt FLEW into my brain and careened around my head.

Moi: Would it be possible to have a wee bit of them all because I kind of have an excellent pattern to show them all off...

No problem.  And here she is, third rendition of that pattern:
I promise you, she sews up super-quick. It makes an approximately 42X45" baby quilt. Or small lap quilt.  Or take-to-yoga-class quilt. 🙏 Don't the fabrics just sing like the birds in that meadow?

Flit (or careen, lol) on over to Sew in Love With Fabric blog where you will find the tutorial (finally!) for making one of your own.

First though, or second, if you're coming here from there, answer this question for a chance to win a fat quarter bundle of this fabric for yourself!

Do you prefer all-one-fabric backings or pieced, fun backings on quilts?

Answer in the comments below.  Followers (new ones welcome) can have a second entry by simply telling me how you follow me.  US addresses only please, as Benartex is trying to keep shipping costs down. Unfortunately I will not be able to answer all the comments because of the volume with a giveaway.

Please please be sure to include your email address if you are a no-reply blogger so I can reach you. Otherwise I will have to draw another name. The giveaway will remain open until Sunday midnight EST, and I'll announce the winner on Monday, September 25.

Mine is not the only stop on the hop to host a giveaway! Be sure to visit these other sites:

Monday: Interview with Amanda Murphy on the blog Sew In Love With Fabric
Tuesday:  Alison at Little Bunny Quilts (pocket organizer wall-hanging)
Wednesday: Benartex Blog Design Team (strip pillows)
Thursday: Sandra (that's moi!) at mmm! quilts (baby quilt)
Friday: Chrissie at Made By Chrissie D (cushion cover and table runner)

I did a couple test blocks before cutting into Meadow Dance. This was made using some different Benartex fabrics, from Kanvas, "Fleurish" by Maria Kalinowski which I won last summer when I subscribed to "Modern By the Yard", Benartex's e-zine (link on sidebar--terrific magazine, and no trees are killed in the publishing!) and sent them several emails of my friends who I knew would like to subscribe. Here is a peek at how this one is shaping up:
Lots of possibilities for this design!

I also have a cushion cover on the go, with a completely different vibe from the baby quilt. It's hard to believe this is still the Meadow Dance line! Amazing. Isn't the border fabric, Crochet Lace Aqua, fantastic? Wait until you see it not cut up! I didn't quite get it completely finished, but here is the flimsy. I made the blocks smaller this time and played a bit with the ribbon centre blocks.

Linking up:
Let's Bee Social
Needle and Thread Thursday

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Best of Times

Another title of a post where I sat, screen blank, mind flitting, heart full. If you follow me on Instagram, you'll have seen why it's been over a week since I posted.
Brady was here with Brianne, of course, for their annual September visit. Every one of the eight days was chock full of activities. He and Grandpa Rocco (named for one of our dogs; his other Grandpa is Grandpa Hague) did manage to squeeze in a few bike rides, this one along the riverfront in Windsor. For those of you geography buffs, yup, that is the GM Renaissance Centre in downtown Detroit, and it is north of Brady, who is yup, in Canada. The teacher in me just had to show you a part of Canada that is south of a whole lot of the USA. We are down on the 42nd parallel of latitude; the border between our countries is mainly on the 49th. Moving on....

One of the highlights of this trip was a day trip to the Toledo Zoo. We three adults are not enamoured of zoos, for a variety of reasons, although I do see their importance in saving orphans, and saving species.  Well, all four of us loved and raved about this zoo.  Brady was the very best guide we could have, no lie.  Because of his love of the show "Wild Kratts" on PBS, he was a wealth of knowledge, often telling us, ahead of seeing the sign, what animals we were looking at, or interesting facts about them. The red panda and the sloth bear were just two of the many he told us about in the collage above.

One of the reasons Brianne likes to come in September is to catch a Lions game. The season opener is always extra-special.
Brady was PUMPED that 'his' cheerleaders were there and that he got to pose with some of them for a photo. The last time he posed with the cheerleaders was at his first game when he was 5, and they weren't official cheerleaders back then. He got right into the game at many points, this one when the Lions scored yet another touchdown. Go Matthew! (as in Stafford--QB, we love him) Yup, they won.

Pre-game, we took in the Meijer kids area where there were loads and loads of activities. Along with getting his face painted, he did the high jump, and got his photo in USA Today!
Can you spot his nana....

Grandpa and Brady got one-on-one time, and so did Nana and Brady:
He sewed like a champ again, this time on the 1947 Featherweight (ya ya, I haven't written her story yet, sorry). He wanted to make a mask this time, not a quilt. He drew a pattern, and we used some leftover fabric (I still have a ton of that navy Essentials by Moda ha) from his Fractured Pieces quilt, and some Spiderman fabric I got at Fat Quarter Shop last year to make him....something! Still have enough for a pillowcase I believe. You get a bonus look at the granite and cupboards there, no backsplash yet, and another peek at Aidan's 'Radiance' quilt, which I still have to package up and mail off, but I'm taking this weekend to spread it on my bed and enjoy it as much as I can.

My non-quilts WIP is my selvages rug, which is coming along...
I started it while cruising around over the course of their visit, sitting in the backseat with Brady. He knitted several stitches of it too; the child is a natural whether it's brains, sports or arts. I videoed him, but it's too long to insert here; you'll have to take my word for it. He loves knitting, by the way. This is a project I saw by Amanda of Crazy Mom Quilts. That link will take you to her tutorial. It is fun and man, does it eat up those selvages! You knot them on the go, but some of the shorter ones I am stitching together, forwards and then going back over the stitching to reinforce it, and it is working well.  It is getting heavy!

I've been quilting a little bit, sneaking time after Brady went to bed to work with these pretties:
That is a sneak peek of a project for my stop on a blog hop later this week. Watch Benartex's blog, Sew in Love With Fabric, for the hop schedule.

Meanwhile, today and probably a bit of tomorrow, since today is half over, egad, I am going to participate in the National Sew A Jelly Roll day, which you can read about here. This link: Fat Quarter Shop will take you to their page (no affiliation, just pure love for their shop) where they have a special on jelly rolls, as well as a link to a video tutorial for a cool quilt. Connecting Threads also has some great jelly rolls at terrific prices (they do not charge a cutting fee; you pay the same price per yard as you would yardage). Here (affiliate link) is one I particularly like, Starlight Garden. There are two jelly roll black and white quilts I have on my to-do list; here is one from McCalls Quick Quilts:
Oh how I love that one of my librarians is a budding new quilter; she ordered a subscription to this magazine which just started this Spring.

And if you'd like more jelly roll quilt ideas, there are lots on Moda Bakeshop. This one, Hometown Christmas, by my friend Rose, at somethingrosemade is the one I plan to work on. Jasmine of Quilt Kisses has some great jelly roll tutorials: here and here. Remember you do not HAVE to have a jellyroll! Look how many strips the pattern requires, and cut 2.5" strips from your own stash! I may just be doing that in my corner of QBL.

Okay, I'm off to the races, ha!

Friday, September 8, 2017

Radiance - A Finish

I didn't plan to finish this quilt in the orange month for the RSC2017 at soscrappy, but how fitting! (It's not made from scraps though, but I'm still linking up there because it's so orange! I also never thought I'd get my OMG done within the first week of the month. It may be because there is another OMG behind the scenes for this month which will be revealed in a couple of weeks, so I had to be crack-a-lackin' as a certain precious grandson said about something after we picked them up at the airport! Yup, Brady is in the house, as I like to say when he comes, mind you this time, it's more Brady is in the D, as we are spending a few days in Detroit and area before going back to our side of the river.

I took Radiance to Seacliff Beach in Leamington early one morning a couple of days ago. It couldn't have been more perfect: no wind, almost unheard-of in this Great Lakes area, beautiful blue skies, calm waters and almost no peeps.

It was like they knew I was coming! They had this temporary fencing you see in the photo up along one section of the beach beside the stage/pavilion area where they were working, and as I had brought along several clothes pegs and the skirt hangers (had 3, no clue where the third one is hiding) I beetled right over and set to work for the first shot.
I quilted different designs in each of the oranges and the white Grunge.

I figured I would take an angled shot to capture some of the quilting texture while it was pegged onto that fence. The light that morning on these fabrics takes my breath away; it shows the oranges to perfection, rich colours that they are.

I hauled it over to the beach volleyball courts for another fun shot:

This is Yvonne's, Quilting Jet Girl, Triangle Transparency pattern. I made it a year and a half ago, and knew it wasn't quit big enough for Aidan, my nephew, who is tall.  I didn't know how to add to it at the time, so it sat, folded up, waiting for inspiration.....which came when my friend Judy of Quilt Paradigm told me of this really cool migrating geese (tutorial here) she was doing on a quilt. I made a Mariner's Compass quilt flag as one of my Henry Glass Design Challenge projects, and used it there. Loved it.  Thought, hmm, I think this might work to extend Aidan's quilt! And it sure did, by a little over 12" in length.

Even a brown gull paddled along in the background for added interest!

A picnic table provided another fun shot, and the low angle of the sun at this early hour was perfect to show off some of the quilting texture. The quilt is unwashed here.

Here is the back:

I found the Be A Man print at Alma Sue's in Florida and thought it would be very cool for Aidan, another tool-loving MacGyver man like my own. 😉 I just got a couple of yards because I do like an interesting backing. I used a little of MacGyver's Gears fabric from his wallhanging I made a few years ago. The blue is more of the Moda Essentials that I used in Brady's Fractured Pieces. Part of me wishes I'd used the navy across the entire back to show that quilting!

I did dot to dot in the migrating geese borders and wavy lines behind them. Who knew it would give them such motion? Previously I'd done swirls behind them, but I did swirls in the outermost border of the transparency blocks.

I did some ghost geese with dot to dot inside them where the second last border of each block 'met'. You can see in the photo below how it accentuated the squares effect. 
In the very centre of the quilt I did some rays and elongated figure eights, and back and forth lines which ended up creating quite a cool octagon shape.

I kind of winged it, ha, pun not originally intended, on the quilting motifs once the quilt was loaded and I'd started quilting. I knew I wanted distinction between the three shades of orange. Below are my favourite designs I did in the first four rows of medium orange. That scroll-type question mark shape with the feathers on the side I will definitely use again, as I will that diamond straight lines that overlap at the points to create a cool cross-hatching look.

I hadn't originally planned a flanged border, but I knew it would be terrific. I'd bought a grey Mode Grunge and a purple one, but thought the grey worked better with the back and was a little more masculine. For the flange I used the medium orange, Moda's 'Concrete: Rock Solid'.
Even though I cut the backing and batting 3/8" beyond the points of the migrating geese, it still shaves off a bit, although they are perfect beneath that flange if you lift it up! The above shot shows the Kona Cheddar round where I did ghost diamonds with alternating dot to dot designs and flowing designs, all from Angela Walter's Shape By Shape Collection 2 book. The Rock Solid medium orange border got back and forth lines, and the deep orange Grunge centre, or white Grunge in alternating blocks, got more dot to dot designs.

I used warm 'n natural batting and the quilt is nice and soft despite the relatively intense quilting.
Of course I put some special words in for the recipient! Here is Aidan's name in the white area. This is after laundering, so you see the lovely crinkles, and also an up-close shot of the lovely Aurifil variegated orange thread in the migrating geese.

Below is where I quilted my initials and also a closer look at the flanged binding and the backing.

Orange is Aidan's favourite colour. I used a variety of threads. Avril purred along with all of them.

On my way back to the SUV, I spied another good shot for this Tropicana-looking quilt!
Yup! Those are palm trees, in the ground! I imagine they are either these Chinese variety of palms hardy to our zone, a 7a/b, or in pots that they dig out and put in one of the many many greenhouses in our area.

One last shot at the parking lot overlooking the beach and the park and lake.
Because of el-crapola wifi in the hotel, this post has taken a LOT longer to do than my usual, ha, long time. I will update it with stats once we are back at home. 

Yvonne's pattern is a super one if you enjoy quilts with 'extras' like optical illusions, shadows, or transparency in this case. It goes together super-quick and is 60" square without the migrating geese borders I added. It is available on Craftsy. (affiliate link) Remember classes are all (ALL!) on sale under $20 woot! woot! So smart of them, after that free day. I know once I'm back Canada-side, later this evening, I'll be snagging one or two of the four I watched at this great price.

Update from back home in Kingsville
I have to say, my beloved Lake Erie was eerily like my other beloved, The Gulf of Mexico in Florida that morning.

A little different-looking fruits of the sea at the water's edge:
Look closely and you may spy some beach glass
Only half an hour of beach walking yielded me this bounty:
My heart and thoughts and prayers are with all my dear friends in the path of Irma as she heads towards Florida.

Here are two shots of the after-laundering texture. It always surprises me how much quilts shrink up, usually 2" horizontally and vertically. Sorry she's a bit wrinkled from being folded while we were in Detroit for three days.
Looks good on the green grass! We finally got a bunch of rain.
The angle of the sun shows off the centre design well here

Quilt Stats:
Pattern:  Triangle Transparency
Size: 59.5 X 74.5"before washing; 57.5 X 71 5/8" after
Fabric:  Moda Grunge is the white and dark orange, Moda Concrete Rock Solid is the medium, Kona Cheddar
Batting: Warm n Natural
Quilted: on my Avanté
Threads:  pieced with Gütermann cotton; quilted with Essential: Pumpkin, Apricot and Parchment, and Aurifil variegated orange; The Bottom Line in the bobbin

Linking up