Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Dutch Garden Quilt OMG

My One Monthly Goal is done! I haven't met my goal in the past couple of months so I am really pleased that I finally have succeeded.

I had to get a photo of the top by the water. This is looking north on Bird Key. You can see Lido Key on the top left, and Sarasota on the top right. This is the intracoastal water, which is between the barrier islands, or keys and the mainland. This quilt is for my aunt's 80th birthday, which was, um, April last year. In 2016 I brought her and my mum here to Florida for a lovely week, so I think it most fitting that I finished assembling the top here in Florida!

I just love how it turned out. I agonized for a few days with rearranging the stars to evenly distribute all the prints and the colours. The border is a 1-yard kit that came with the original kit. I didn't make the pattern that the kit was for though, but one out of a Pam and Nicky Lintott book, Layer Cake, Jelly Roll & Charm Quilts. This was the kit:
I was pretty disappointed at first, because there was no indication that the yardage consisted of only one yard and 5 charm packs! However, this quilt pattern is perfect for it, and yielded a 54X72" quilt using just 4 of the charm packs and the yard for the border! Sweet! That extra charm pack will be a prize... You can still get this fabric, (affiliate link) though the kit I bought is no longer in stock. Hmm, I see there are no more charm packs, so I've got a rarity for a prize! Getting the quilt totally finished is one of my Q1 goals.

I made this quilt once before, as part of the Desire to Inspire Henry Glass Challenge back in June 2015, just slightly smaller, and without a border:
On the beach of Lake Erie
It's one of my favourite quilts.

So, that extra charm pack? It is destined as a prize in my #30quiltdesignschallenge I'm hosting on Instagram. There are also some sweet prizes from The Red Hen Shop and Clinton Modern Creative. Click the hashtag link for some pretty fabulous quilt designs! There are quite a few of us participating this year, and once again I am, and I think we all are, having fun, being pushed a little, and being amazed and inspired by the creativity in each of us.  Here is a little collage of three of my designs. The one in EQ8 (really liking this programme, no affiliation) is what evolved from a 'homework' quilt, playing with symmetry.
We have chatted about all the places that seem to inspire us with design; the yellow quilt just zipped into my head when I spied that well-known phrase on a billboard that week. Interestingly, the hexagon design of Feb. 19 gave me a 'frisson' of incredulity. No less than four of us played with hexagons on that day, unbeknownst to each other. Isn't that amazing? I know authors, poets, musicians, artists, speak of sometimes tapping into a stream of creativity where designs/works/words just flow, and they feel that they are just the vehicle. I fully believe in that, and perhaps this was a glimpse of tapping into that stream, just being in sync with each other.  Feel free to hop in anytime; the first draw for the first 10 designs, or however many you have come up with, is February 26.

Also not too late is joining in with my Postcard from Sweden quilt along.
My stack of 35 fabrics in colour order (Mulberry is missing, sigh), not 36, pointed out by Kathy, a reader and an observant one, just prior to cutting. I'm half way through the cutting.

There are some exceedingly sweet prizes available; click the link in my sidebar to check out the main post, or click on the Quilt Alongs tab at the top of this page. Kits are still available, with free shipping within each respective country of the shop's location. Please check out that Quilt Alongs tab for details. The following links will take you directly to the Postcard from Sweden kit at each shop:

Stitch Stash Diva
Mad About Patchwork (free shipping code: MMMQAL)
The Tartan Reel

If you love rainbow quilts, please visit Kelly's shop, Jeli Quilts. She is the designer of this FREE pattern, what a darling she is, to have it as a free download, and you will find she has a ton of rainbow quilts and blocks. 😍

Linking up
Sew Fresh Quilts
Quilt Fabrication
Elm Street Quilts


Friday, February 16, 2018

Wonderlust II Cushion

Every time I have walked into my sewing room since I made the Wonderlust I cushion (and that's every day, multiple times a day), I have seen Wonderlust II looking at me, waiting patiently. She started tapping her foot this past week at me, and so before I start my mini-love project for Island Batik, I thought I need to finish her. She wants to be by her big sister, hmm, or rather, her slightly older twin.

Bella was fine with me not finishing her; this is what I walked in on the other day:
She thought it the perfect size for her fine furry form; I thought otherwise and unceremoniously, in her not-so-humble opinion, placed her on her own cushion, which she promptly stalked off of. You can see that I had started the quilting.

I did some ruler-work without a ruler, ha, because I don't have a ruler foot for my Bernina (note to self: need to rectify this situation), so I just did it with a walking foot and a little bit of chalk marking.  Then I did a bunch of FMQ:

It wasn't really that long before I was finished. Actually, I had to make myself stop; I was having such fun! I cannot sing the praises of both my beloved Bernina 180 Artista, who turns 15 this year, and Sulky threads. The three of us play so well together.
Hot off, or out from under, the Bernina needle in early morning sunlight. Note how wavy it appears. Then take a look at the first photo again, and compare. Isn't it fabulous what a little spritz of water and blocking will do? (even when, ahem, a cat bum is placed upon the blocked quilt and said cat has pulled out two pins with her teeth, grrr!)
That photo gives you a pretty good idea of the beauty of the metallic thread on the red-orange Marbella from Paula Nadelstern's Wonderlust line by Benartex. The Holoshimmer thread in the print areas is harder to capture on camera but glints and glitters in such a breathtaking way in person.

Here's the back:

And my inside 'label':

She has matching backing to her older twin:
This is the Good Vibrations print of the Line. I didn't have enough to be able to line up the back properly, darn.

Stuffed!
I love a simple envelope-style backing. I always turn half an inch twice under and topstitch down along the edge of the double-fold. I overlap 4" so even with fat pillow form inside, there's no chance of 'plumber's crack', ha!

Okay enough about bums and backsides; here's a front view:

Afternoon sun, trying to show the texture and that elusive shimmery thread:

The centre:
I'm pretty happy with the print matching along the seams!

Here are all the threads but one; I forgot the purple Sulky rayon 40 wt I also used. I used the Isacord red polyester in both the top in places as well as in the bobbin when I used the orange Holoshimmer in the top. I used the gold Sulky rayon 40 wt in the bobbin with the gold Holoshimmer. The Aurifil pale yellow (think I may need to watch for a sale on a cone, as I'm loving this one so much, so versatile in piecing and quilting) was also used in the bobbin with the gold Holoshimmer when the rayon ran out and I was too into things to wind more thread! Both stitched out equally well with the Holoshimmer.

Here she is with her twin sister:
I thought the variegated ginger plants and green grass makes a nice complementary backdrop! You can get an idea of the texture here with the sun behind the cushions.

With the sun behind me, and on the cushions:
Spot the Bella photo bomb?!
These fabrics are to die for. A little foreshadowing teaser: I'm going to be sewing with them again in the near future in an upcoming quilt along I'm hosting. Think late Spring/early Summer...


One more for texture and to get a closer look at the dot to dot I did in the corners on that gorgeous Marbella fabric. If you'd like to read the post about the purple cushion, click here.

Quilt Stats:
Pattern:  original design
Size: 19.25" square
Fabric:  Benartex 'Wonderlust' by Paula Nadelstern
Batting: Fairfield Soft 'n Crafty 80/20
Quilted: on my Bernina
Threads:  pieced with Gütermann cotton; quilted with Sulky Holoshimmer, Sulky Metallic and Sulky rayon. Ditch-stitched with Sulky rayon in purple, and with Isacord polyester in red.

Both the purple and the orange cushions were one goal on my Q1FAL List which is here.

Two quick things:
1. I am absolutely blown away by the response to my Postcard from Sweden QAL!! I owe thanks to Kelly of Jeli Quilts for posting on Instagram about it, and to Tanya of Tanya Quilts in Colorado for writing about it on her blog. Then getting three unsolicited sponsors who have also mentioned it on their Instagram feeds has helped spread the word, and today, I have a fourth sponsor, thanks to Kelly, mentioning that kits could be purchased here too:


I've updated the last post as well as a previous one on Postcard from Sweden to reflect Janey's sponsorship. The Tartan Reel is owned by Janey, a terrific name, btw--my middle name is Jane, after my maternal nana, who was a seamstress and knitter extraordinaire; I've always been told that I take after her in that as well as in appearance; like me, she was small in stature, 5'2", and had curly hair. Anyhow, Janey's store is online only at present, fairly young, started in 2016, and is in the UK. She is offering a wonderful prize: an Elizabeth Hartman pattern, a bundle of Kona and a Kona colour chart!  You can purchase kits from her (no, it's not too late; the link up for getting your HSTs all cut and paired up, NOT sewn, is Feb. 28) for a great price, £70, with free shipping within the UK. What I love about her kit is that she includes a sheet of printed stickers to label your paired HSTs. Brilliant!

I hope you will show my sponsors some quilty love. Check out all four on my sidebar.

2. Connecting Threads (affiliate link) has a great sale on their Essential thread. I love this thread, especially for quilting with my Avanté. It's already a terrific price, but it's on sale for 30% off that price right now. This is when I like to stock up. Their 1000m cotton spools are $1.95 (you read that right) and their variegated $2.79. The sale is on until March 19. It might be a thought to pick some up for your Postcard from Sweden quilt, just sayin'...  They have excellent shipping rates, free to US, Canada, UK and Australia at a certain spend amount. Scroll to the bottom of the page once you click the link and you'll see shipping info. If you want to see a recent quilt I quilted with Essential, click here to see Float, where I used Parchment, which blended beautifully, not as harsh as a white would have been.

Linking up
Crazy Mom Quilts
Confessions of A Fabric Addict
TGIFF at Lisa in Port Hope
Busy Hands Quilts
Q1FAL Linky when it opens at Dizzy Quilts

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Postcard from Sweden QAL Step 1

It's here! It seems to have taken so long, and in other ways it seems to have got here so quickly!

Happy Valentine's Day to everyone, as we start this colourful quilt on a day of love and flowers, chocolate and wine, good food shared between loving people.

Announcements
1. I've made a page for the Postcard from Sweden Quilt Along. You can click here to see it or click the tab "Quilt Alongs". From there you will be taken to a page where you will find the two that I have hosted so far, Freefall, and now this one. If you click the name of the quilt, you will be taken to its separate page where all the posts are listed, and as they go live, I will update the links.

2. Prizes
A quick recap of the prizes thus far. I say 'thus far' because they seem to be like postcards; you can't just have or send one right?!
The winner's choice of either a backing/binding package to finish the quilt, OR $75 gift card to the shop with free shipping! 
Stitch Stash Diva has kits for sale if you haven't got yours yet. Free shipping within the US.
$30 of patterns from her shop! (affiliate link; I make no money on the purchase or free download of Kelly's quilts, just if you buy product from Craftsy afterward.)
Kelly is the designer of the beautiful quilt we will be making.

$50 gift certificate to the shop.
Mad About Patchwork has kits for sale if you haven't got yours yet. Free shipping within Canada for readers of my blog 😍💝 with code MMMQAL.

An Elizabeth Hartman pattern, a Kona bundle and a Kona fabric colour chart 
The Tartan Reel has kits for sale if you haven't got yours yet. Free shipping within the UK.

Thank you so very much to my sponsors, I'm so excited about getting some, as I had not envisioned this taking on the life that it sure has!

All right! Quilters, pick up your rotary cutters! Get ready! Go!

This week's step is to have amassed your fabric, petted it, folded and refolded it, pressed it, washed and ironed it, what have you, fondled and admired it well, and now...... to cut into it!

Here is mine, a collection from three places: my stash, my dear friend Helen of Midget Gem Quilts who was the instigator (and I, in turn, her enabler; one good turn deserves another) in getting this QAL going, and our joint purchase of the extras needed from Missouri Star Quilt Company.
All 36 required colours, well, full disclosure: a few substitutions here and there

And now I'm dithering.... Lap size or twin size? 4" or 5" squares to cut? Guess I have nearly 2 weeks to make a call!

So, before Feb. 28, gather your fabrics, cut them into 4" or 5" squares and from there into HSTs, and then write up a post, take a photo or two and post it on Instagram (use the hashtag postcardfromsweden and/or postcardfromswedenquilt, and/or postcardfromswedenqal), or Flickr, and come back to link up at the linky party which opens Feb. 28, and will remain open for one week. You know what? This gives you a little wiggle room to make that quilt size call (no names mentioned) and/or to order or to receive your fabric, or to search through your stash and do the pull (and cull too, ha, because it uses 36 colours, but not much of each). And if you just can't resist anymore, remember that Stitch Stash Diva and Mad About Patchwork have the kits ready-cut for you at really amazing-good prices. I wouldn't steer you wrong. And ask Helen; I'm a pretty good enabler, had a lot of practice on myself. LOL.

Linking up
Sew Fresh Quilts

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Galentine's Day Mug Rug

Happy Galentine's Day! This is my first challenge, and project post as a new ambassador this year for Island Batik, and I am very excited to show you what I did with supplies they, along with Aurifil and Hobbs Batting provided.

Galentine's Day, for those of you who may be unfamiliar with this newer day of celebration is when we celebrate our girlfriends, aka gal pals. I am blessed with many good women friends, IRL, in QBL and in crossover land between those two! I made two mug rugs because it doesn't take much more time to make two as to make one, and I am giving these to two very deserving amazing women.

Here is what I started with, a fat quarter bundle of 5 red, pink and off-white fabrics from Island Batik.

This is what I made, which I'm calling 'Hugs and Kisses'!
Aurifil 2455 on the red/pink areas, Sulky Blendables 733-4049 in the background

I designed this last year as a gift for another good friend, Jasmine, which you can read about here, calling it Quilt Kisses, which is à propos for the mug rug, but also because that's the name of her blog. I thought it would be great to make again for the challenge. It measures 6.5X12.5" and would make a great mug rug, a mini for your mini wall, or a candle mat. It's great for practising some FMQ too, since the piece is very maneuverable.
The backs. My favourite in the FQ pack is that top pink, berry, purple and magenta batik. In the bobbin I used a red Isacord polyester which worked beautifully with the Aurifil magenta on top, and an Aurifil pale yellow, 2123, which I already had, to go with the Sulky Blendables. 

I had the perfect spool of Aurifil thread in my Island Batik package. I used it to walking foot quilt the heart and the X.

I did straight-line walking foot quilting in the red/pink areas and a tiny flower or perhaps butterfly 😉meander in the background. How I love this background fabric!

Want to make one? They're pretty quick, with a slick method I thought of myself (ha!) to avoid 6 small HSTs. If you'd like a free PDF of these instructions, click here. (affiliate link).

Materials for One Mug Rug
scraps or fat quarters of pinks and reds and a light for the background; batting scrap approximately 8X14"
backing scrap approximately 8X14"
single-fold binding strip 1.25"X 45"

Cutting
For the heart block
From pinks and reds, cut
26 squares @ 1.5"
Two squares @ 2.5"
From background cut two squares @ 2.5" and one square @ 4" cut once on the diagonal

For the X block
From the pinks and reds cut:
Six squares 2.5"
Four squares 2"
Six squares 2.5" background

Heart Block Construction
Place your 26 squares on your design wall in a pleasing pattern. I actually did not overthink this at all; just wanted a random placement.

To make the 2" HSTs, layer a 2.5" background square with a 2.5" red square, marking a diagonal line on the wrong side of one of the squares. Sew 1/4" either side of the line. Cut on the drawn line, press open and square to 2". Make 4. Place them on the design wall in the top row as shown below.
Piece the heart, either in rows or in columns, which I prefer as it keeps everything chained together in order. For more on that method, called Book It! go here. I use it all the time, large quilts and small, have showed many others the method too, and are they impressed. I learned it years ago in a colourwash class.

To get the background corners on the heart, lie a ruler with a 45° line on it on the reverse side of the block as shown below:

The 45° line is along either a seam line or a stitching line, and the 1/4" line at your cutting edge is on the seam line. The ensures the cutting edge is 1/4" to the right of that stitching line so you will have your seam allowance. Cut.  Repeat on the other side.

You will have a heart that looks like the one on the left. Now place a 4" HST you cut out right sides together, on one side of the heart. I like to fold the HST in half to find the mid point, and do the same with the heart cut edge to line things up perfectly. Then I like to sew with the heart facing up so that I can sew right through the seam intersections. Sew both sides. You will then have the block on the right.  Trim to 6.5". Note that the 4" squares you cut are a bit oversize so you can trim to a perfect 6.5" size.

Kiss or X Block Construction
Piece the 6 HSTs, layering a red/pink/magenta square atop a background square, as you did for the heart small HSTs. Tip: I pressed half of the seams to the background and the other half to the colour so that they will nest nicely when within the block.
Lay out the block on your design wall.

Here you can see I've already chain-pieced the left column as per the Book It! method. Press. Now sew the X block to the heart block.
If you are making two you will have:

Layer the mug rug. I did one with scraps of cotton batting (no clue what it was) and the other with Thermore, the super-thin 100% polyester batting we were given from Hobbs Batting. Whoa!! Is it good for minis.💖
This is the one with the cotton batting, slightly more poofy than the Thermore. 
I debated for a while on what to do in the background, more lines or a flowing design for contrast. I hit upon the little flower meander because it can be quilted small, it's sweet, and it echoes the butterflies in this lovely fabric. The Sulky Blendables 30 weight was just perfect to use, soft yellow, cream, peach, pink and pale green!
The four threads I used for quilting and top-stitching the binding down.
As I said, I switched from the red Isacord to the pale yellow Aurifil in the bobbin. I tried, but even with tension adjustments, I still got some 'pokies' on the back, or sometimes on the front, and we can't have that! I used a Topstitch 90/14 Schmetz needle and backed the tension off quite low, and then FMQ-ed away. These two threads played very well together, and the pale yellow on the red or magenta backs is not bothersome IMHO.

Bind with a 1.25" wide single-fold binding. I like to do that because it's finer on a mini, but with limited amounts of fabric, it also means half as much is needed. I stitched it to the back and top-stitched it down on the front with the magenta. It sure blends lovely with all the shades of red doesn't it?
Let me know if you decide to make one, as I'd love to see it! If you'd like a free download of these instructions in PDF form go to my Crafsty store (affiliate link).

Quilt Stats:
Pattern:  original design
Size: 6.5X12.5"
Fabric:  Island Batik batiks
Batting: Thermore by Hobbs Batting in one; unknown cotton scraps in the second
Quilted: on my Bernina
Threads:  pieced with Gütermann cotton; quilted with Aurifil 50 wt and Sulky Blendables 30 wt, Isacord polyester and Aurifil in the bobbin

Linking up
Cooking Up Quilts
Free Motion By the River
Sew Fresh Quilts
Quilt Fabrication


Saturday, February 10, 2018

It's Real and I'm Not Dreaming!

You all know the saying, "Sh*t just got real."  Well it did for me this afternoon....
I was listening for that motor sound all morning and into the afternoon, hoping the truck would arrive before I had to leave for the airport...yes I was supposed to be headed to Nashville to meet Dayna, flying in from Detroit, to go wedding dress shopping. In the end, I am not headed up there this weekend due to a horrific snowstorm through the Detroit area that has shut down flights Friday/Saturday. Nor did I hear the telltale sounds of that motor. Oh but I did hear the thump at the front door, and I knew.

The box was heavy! 22 pounds of quilty goodness resided within. I removed the packing and beheld such treasure:
Be still my heart!!


Bella was super-happy; a new playing or napping place! She was a tad annoyed, however, because I'd already started carefully removing items, reading, snapping pics, petting...
How did they know me so very well? I actually gasped aloud and may have said, "Oh!" when I pulled this first fabric bundle out, said fabric bundle which would have shown off Bella's blue eyes so well... I had to open it up, spread them out and pet them as they so deserved.
Water.  Nature. My favourite colour, and with purple--! Shiver! So perfect!
We got batting!! I have used Hobbs Batting a few times, most recently in my Mum's quilt, Forever Flowers, this very batting, 80/20, and I just loved it, and she even commented about the lightness but warmth at the same time.
We got another package of batting too!
This is new to me, not that it's 100% polyester batting, because I've used their Tuscany and it's to DIE for. I got my first Tuscany as a remnant at Alma Sue's Quilt Shop, leftover from the Amish ladies who love this batting for hand quilting. I machine-quilted two quilts now with it and it is wonderful. I'm anxious to try this Thermore out and let you know my findings!
A scarf? Just for me? My first publication of a quilt design used these three colours.😁

It goes perfect with my rain-resistant coat I was taking to Nashville! Like how did they know?!
I can't show you what's in there, but DROOL and exclaim and oh-my-gosh galore. You will see. Patience, grasshoppers. All in good time.
This said 'the sea' to me. Rayon?!! I want to make a blouse, a tank top, flowing, cool, like right now.  Bye.

Okay it'll keep. I did not know they could batik rayon but like duh, it's a natural fibre so okay! I put a piece of coral I found during a pre-sunrise beach walk last year here, and two hand-painted stones by a local artist who walks that beach each day and purposely tosses them in front of beachcombers to find. Don't you love that? On the flip side of her little paintings she writes an inspirational word and her initials. The seaweed-looking shell is one I found, painted, or rather, etched by Mother Nature. I hope I will inspire some of you with what I do with this luscious piece.
Gulp. 3 yards?!! I think sand, yes? On top is a pack of 5" strips.  I want to bite one; they look good enough to eat.
A bundle I undid, petted, loved, may have whispered sweet nothings to.... Upon hearing me, my neighbours will think I have gone completely barmy; they already giggle I'm sure at the weird woman who throws quilts in trees and on the lawn and on her driveway and over her fence and then photographs them...
NO!! Yessss!! But seriously! Like five spools AND a massive cone?! Prior to this cone I'd only been the proud owner of one cone of Aurifil. Now I have two, 2600 and now 2024.😍 And 6 more spools to add to my growing collection. Thank you Aurifil!

I'm not done though!
A beautiful package of 2.5 strips with coordinating yardage.
And...
this lickable 😋 pack of fat quarters which I'll be digging into this weekend to assuage my disappointment at no Nashville. I have a great little project to whip up and show you on February 13, Galentine's Day!

I am so glad that I got to photograph these beautiful, rich colours on a hot humid day here in southwest Florida, a perfect backdrop to them. My mind is whirling with possibilities. Maybe I will be turning them into some of my designs drawn for the 30 Quilt Designs Challenge! Talk about inspiration on Instagram! We are feeding off each other and encouraging each other and I am so happy to be a part of such a talented group!

Again, I am so happy that I am not dreaming and this has really happened. Stay tuned for some upcoming creativity!

Quick note that that pink in the last photo reminds me of the Postcard from Sweden quilt along happening here beginning Feb. 14. Notice I've made us a page under the Quilt Alongs tab at the top of my blog. It's not too late to snag a kit from Mad About Patchwork if you are in Canada, especially, because Katy is offering my readers free shipping on any order over $50 with the code MMMQAL, one per customer. If you are a US resident you can snag a kit from Stitch Stash Diva. Tayva is also offering free shipping within the US! I know I know, I'm living up to my 'The Enabler' new nickname!