Sunday, May 20, 2018

Hands2Help

Today is the final day to show your quilts for Sarah's Confessions of a Fabric Addict Hands2Help charity quilt drive.

I have one of my two almost ready (just needs binding) to be dropped off for Syrian refugees coming to Canada, who are making a new home in the Windsor area.

the back


As you may recall, Brady spent the Mother's Day weekend with us, all by himself. Bittersweet, because of what was happening back in Alberta...  He was about as willing a quilt holder as his grandpa!


My other quilt will once again be going to the Windsor Sexual Assault Centre, specified for a child. I also plan to make a top for Victoria's Quilts Canada. These will happen once I am back home. I have had to make an unexpected and heartbreaking trip out to Alberta because of the sudden passing of my mum, who loved my blog, was so proud of me, and loved my quilts. She loved quilts, period, but especially cherished mine. How I will miss forwarding her blog posts, and photos, Instagram posts, etc, of some of my readers and some of those I follow that I know she would love. Here are two of the big ones I made her (there are multiple smaller ones) and the two she requested I make a couple of years ago, for her brother and sister-in-law, who she now joins in the afterlife. There we are, a proud new nana (me) and nanny (her) of 1-day-old Brady.

Linking up
Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Monday, May 14, 2018

Week 4 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop

Welcome to week four of the New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop where we introduce quilt bloggers who are new to Quilting BlogLand. My hive named themselves In Stitches.
Carrie of Carrie Bee Creates made our button. That's one of her own quilts!

We hope you had a great week 3, and that you enjoy this last week of the hop!  This week Tracy at It's a T-Sweet Day, Joni of For the Love of Thread, and Sandy of Gray Barn Designs, are introducing themselves to you. I hope you can find some time to visit and leave them some comment love. Thank you so much to everyone who has been along on all four weeks of this hop! You will find Week 3 winners on last week's post.

Once again there is a terrific giveaway with lots of awesome prizes from our very generous sponsors.

I hope you will also have time to hop over to my co-hosts' blogs, Beth @ Cooking Up Quilts, Tish @ Tish N Wonderland, and Jen @ Dizzy Quilter where you will find links to the bloggers in their hives who are also posting today.

All you need to do for all the new bloggers posting today is leave a comment and then come back here to enter the giveaway for some truly wonderful prizes.


We are so very grateful to our 18 very generous sponsors for this year's hop:


                                                
The giveaway is the same on all four of the co-hosts' blogs, so you only need to enter once. The giveaway will run from May 14 12:00 am to May 19 at 12:00 am EST. Winners will be announced on Sunday, May 20, notified by email and posted to the Rafflecopter widget below.

Have fun!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, May 11, 2018

Hands 2 Help Check In

I haven't written much about my Hands2Help quilts, but trust me, they are in production, both of them. I wanted to do a quick post to show you the flimsy of the first one.

Here's how it evolved:
Last year Preeti of Sew Preeti Quilts won a $25 gift certificate to Sew Sisters Quilt Shop (big sale this weekend, no affiliation, just enabling, as per usual). Well Preeti gave the gc to me because she said the postage would take the majority of it. I said well, I'd put it toward some Canada fabric that I wanted to use for a Syrian refugee quilt as one of my 2017 H2H charities. She approved! So I spent it and then some ha, and got a bunch of Canada fabric. However, the quilt didn't get made last year; I made the originally planned one for refugees.

So this year is the year. I just hadn't decided what pattern to do, and was letting it percolate, and getting a few ideas.... Then came the Humboldt bus crash tragedy. I made a half dozen blocks for the call for quilts. That pattern was it!
I played with arrangement: all the same orientation, or twist and turn?
Not only are mine and Preeti's fabrics in here, but also there is the Canadian cities fabric my brother sent me, leftovers from a jacket he had made for a Canada 150th Sesquicentennial thing at work. You will also see more Canada fabric he sent me which I'm using for the backing, in my finish post. Or maybe it will be an added pic or two to this one as it's about to be loaded onto Avril my longarm.

I settled upon alternating every other block and sewed up the twelve blocks in no time at all, entirely pieced on Tillie my little '51 Featherweight. It's her turn right now to work; Billie, my little '47 girl, is resting, but wanting to come out to play and keep in gear, nice and oiled and smooth too!
Oops, I see I have it upside down there; I aimed to have the big blocks of text fabric all one way.
Here is a funny outtake that I wish you could see 'live' in the Photos app, typical of often windy days here by Lake Erie.

I might not be on top of responses to comments this next little bit, so I hope (well I know) you'll forgive me. Brady will be 'in the house' in a few hours! I made him some new pj shorts as he's grown right out of his Frozen ones I made him a couple of years ago.
They turned out great! Sure hope they fit him okay but I made size 12 hoping they'll be baggy, as pjs should be. This is some of the fabric I bought off my friend who is de-stashing.

Speaking of her fabric, here are two pics of some more of it, 'Woodland' by Natalie Lymer of Cinderberry Stitches for Lecien Fabrics.

Please shoot me an email ephdra(at) gmail (dot) com if you are interested in buying any of this. It has been pre-washed, but is from a non-smoking home. $4/yard, minimum half yard cut. Postage extra!

A quick note:💥💝🎉🎊Starting today, this weekend is a free Watchathon at Craftsy (no code necessary) that I know I'll be partaking in... well, I hope to, here and there, especially when MacGyver and Brady are pounding away in the new garage that is now complete, well, inside it they'll be putting up drywall...
All done but finishing off the inside!
Linking up with the last check-in at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Oh, and one more thing: this is the final day for Week 3 of the New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop. Go here for the links to the blogger in my hive and the co-hosts, and the giveaway. Winners will be announced on Sunday.



Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Popstar

Better late than never, right? Here we go...again! This is one of my goals on my Q2 FAL list.


April's challenge was to create a new, modern version of a vintage quilt or quilt block. I love stars; it's no secret they are my favourite block along with the schoolhouse one. So I knew I wanted to do something with stars. The gorgeous rich batiks were provided to me by Island Batik, the threads by Aurifil and the batting by Hobbs. I just love working with these fibres!
I chose to work with the Island Strips and coordinating yardage of Alpine Jingle that I was sent.

Why the delay? I knew I was going to work with these fabrics at the beginning of April. Well, a few things altered the supposedly smooth course of April: a quilt along that rather exploded in a lovely way, Postcard from Sweden, a rather major life happening, an upcoming magazine publication (eeeee!) with a rather tight deadline, and then a rather waffling brain in the design department. However, all the waffling means I do now have four new designs, all starry ones, just so you know...

I settled on this one, with a little input from my good friends, Tish and Judy. Not Punch and Judy, although sometimes it feels that zany when we get texting or emailing, FaceTiming or Skyping back and forth! LOL
There's the settled-upon design, not in the settled-upon colours, because I realized I couldn't do it as planned, two red stars and two green ones, when I only had gold and green for background...the green stars would be lost and that just wouldn't do! So all four stars became red, with the large star being gold. And yes, it's yet another shadow quilt, super-imposed images I do love thee! Thees...them...whatever.

The challenge was to make a 36" minimum quilt, and so I'd planned that each graph paper square would be 3". Great plan, 48" finished quilt. Only problem? Island Strips. It's their name for a jelly roll, so they are 2.5".... No red Alpine Jingle yardage. All right, well we have 32" here, guess I can add a border. This is why these are challenges, right?

But I need 2.5" not finished HSTs. How does one do that when one starts with a 2.5" strip? 'Oh ye of little faith,' and no knowledge of the wondrous Pam & Nicky Lintott books.... or rulers that do this magically with the little dog ears, no, I don't like that term, with the little points cut off, that's better. I made a template because I couldn't find the one I'd previously made, in the previous house... (I've since found it, after the graph paper drawing became a flimsy, yup.)

All I did was sew two 3" squares together on the diagonal, cut apart, press, trim to 2.5" then press them flat again, RST so I had my perfectly trimmed 2.5" triangle. Off to the races! (After I picked out my four red strips of course.
I love making No Waste flying geese, which is how I determined I would construct the star points, both blown apart (windblown? deconstructed?) ones and attached. I counted up how many I needed and what background they need to fly upon, and I knew I'd have to get a wee bit creative with my HST placements, as you see in the above in action shot! I didn't have to reverse sew much at all, just a little to keep me humble and honest. I also realized I didn't have any red yardage of Alpine Jingle to make the 4" finished star centres...what to do? Make a 4-patch, all four identical, one each of the four reds! I love a good challenge.

In no time at all I had the design starting to take shape on a section of the design wall in the guest room:
My design wall is 8X8", four pieces of styrofoam board snugged up together with the gridded flannel wrapped around them. Once the sewing loft is renovated, this will move up there so I won't have to run up and down, although that's good for the body! The cedar chest you catch a glimpse of butts up against half of the wall, and that is the door I have to push to if I want to use the entire width, which I needed to, as two other quilts in progress, Plus Playtime and one of my Hands2Helps quilts, besides this one, were on it!

How did I hit upon this design? Well, I was playing with taking star blocks apart, rotating them and putting them back together, meh, not so much, and then thought to partially explode, or pop them apart, leaving one set of points attached, and then thought that I could float a few on a big star, and then what if I had one intact star in the centre... I think not having all four geese windblown is a bit of a surprise, and having a giant star in the centre, ergo lots of negative space, is one of the components of modern quilts. Also, lots of modern quilts do have just one big block as the entire quilt.
Finished flimsy
I added a 3" border to bring the quilt up to size, well a little over now, but that's okay! This green batik is particularly lovely and rich, going from lighter olive-tones to rich intense pines.

I did have a minor mishap before that photo:
The one red strip has green trees on (love!) and within the 4-patches, I wanted them all to be standing, not lying down, so the quilt has a definite right side up to it. Thus, I had to reorient this one. Somehow on the trip from the main level design wall to the sewing loft, it got turned around...

It stalled again for a good day and a half, probably more all told, while I thought about quilting. Emphasize the popped apart stars? Connect them? Do flow quilting (modern) in the gold? Do straight line quilting (modern)?

The green quilting is loosely based on the quilting on Quilting Land's version Jellied Lone Star. I like the look of 2-3 lines together, then a 1/2 - 3/4" gap, so I went with that. I also like quilting designs that appear to weave under the piecing, like I did in my Rainbow Kitty Rows.

So, armed with Aurifil thread, perfect colours:
and a couple of my trusty quilty teachers for more inspiration:
I set to work.
This feathered spiral design of Angela's went in the four corners.
Lines radiating out, something I wanted to do right from the get-go, but then I did a feathered vine through the central 'v', ignoring the windblown star.

I really thought it would be so cool to do largish pebbles in the large gold star...but I was already late with this quilt, and we all know pebbles take a while... I also knew I wanted to do two or three ghost stars in that gold. Tish said maybe swirls, and I nearly did, and then almost did large pebbles echoed 3-4 times, a design that both Angela and Christina have in those books! Finally, one of Christina's spoke to me, 'Lithe', the perfect combination of pebbles and lines!
The light angle here is a very true representation of the colours.

Even in real life it is extremely hard to see since the thread and the design blend into the dotted batik so well. I did a dot-to-dot design in the centre green star to emphasize the diamond shapes and fool the eye a bit.
Here's a ghost star closeup:
I echoed it, as well as the centre green star, three times.
You can see the Lithe motif that runs vertically in the gold large star. I tried this morning with the lower, early morning sun:
It's amazing how much warmer the gold is, isn't it? The echoes show up, but the lines with beads, not so much. Oh well.

The cedars provided a bit of a Christmassy feel to this Christmas quilt.
It even smelled all Christmassy as I was clothes-pegging the quilt in there!
I had enough, well not quite, as you see, of the gold to do the back:

I'd hoped to have a full 2" at the bottom but I guess I snugged the quilt up against the top rollers more than anticipated, so I just have an inch, almost half of which is covered with binding!

The label:
Here's a three-for: the label, 'Popstar', a closeup of the flanged binding, where I used the four reds, and my mmm! quilts label.
One last shot:

May's challenge is creating a pillow aka cushion, and I have a gazillion ideas in my head for it! Maybe I'll be early this time?? Thanks so much to Island Batik for this challenge; it feels so good to play within parameters like this, and fuel the creativity!

Quilt Stats:
Pattern: Original design by me
Size: 38.5"
Fabric: top: Alpine Jingle by Island Batik
Batting: Hobbs 80/20 cotton/polyester
Backing: Alpine Jingle by Island Batik
Quilted: on Avril, free-motion and ruler work
Threads:  pieced with Gütermann and Aurifil; quilted with Aurifil 100% cotton
Stitch Count: 81 557 stitches

Linking up:
Sew Fresh Quilts
Freemotion by the River
Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Crazy Mom Quilts
TGIFF at Summer Lee Quilts
Dizzy Quilts for the Q1 FAL

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Plus Playtime QAL: Cutting Tips

I've seen a fair amount of fabric flying around on blogs and on Instagram posts, and one or two finished tops already! I think this is wonderful, so that others see what some quilters have done, and it can help with decision-making, or perhaps convince others sitting on the fence to jump in with the rest of us.

So last week we saw the dive-right-in-dolphin Louise's flimsy, and this week here is eager Canadian beaver Anja's of Anja Quilts:


I just love the two greens she used in her background, genius!

Alright, cutting. By now you have looked through the pattern and seen that the construction of this quilt is a bit different: the quilt is one giant 9-patch (not so different at all), but the blocks are constructed in columns (ahhh, different). You cut various sizes of rectangles and squares.

Major tip #1: background and large plus

  • the background requires 8 strips @ 3.5" wide
  • the large plus in the background, aka the shadow plus, requires 9 strips @ 3.5" wide


Major tip #2 - background:
  • two strips will give you enough for your 3.5" squares for the background and two more for the 3.5X6.5" rectangles will give you 12; cut the 13th from the leftover strip from 3.5" squares
  • three strips will yield the correct number of 3.5X9.5" rectangles
  • one strips will yield the two 3.5X12.5" rectangles
Major tip #3 - large shadow plus:
  • two strips will give you enough for your 3.5" squares
  • four strips will give you your 3.5X6.5" rectangles
  • three strips will give you twelve 3.5X9.5" rectangles; cut the 13th from the leftover strip from the 3.5X6.5" rectangles 
For organizing purposes, you can just stack or you could use baggies to keep the pieces together. Easy!

Small plus blocks:
  • There are 28 in total.
  • 25 are full pluses, meaning one 3.5X9.5" rectangle and two 3.5" squares.
  •  Three are partial pluses, meaning one 3.5X9.5" rectangle and one 3.5" square.
  • You will find these partial pluses at the end of rows 1 and 3, and at the beginning of row 2. See below.

Here is my adult Plus Playtime quilt at the 9-block stage on the design wall. 

I'm allowing two weeks to cut out all your pieces. It seems like a hefty chunk of time, but Mother's Day happens on May 13 in the US and Canada...I think it was a month or two ago in the UK, no? Yes, a quick Google and it was March 11, the fourth Sunday in Lent. And looks like you Aussies and Kiwis celebrate it the same as us, on the second Sunday in May! I love learning all this stuff, and feeling connected.😍🌏🌎🌍😍 
Anyhow, May is a busy month everywhere: here in Canada we have the May long weekend, celebrating Victoria Day on May 21. It was a Bank Holiday in England and Ireland, Scotland too, I presume, on May 7, and Labour Day in Australia, and it's Memorial Day the last weekend in May in the US, so a busy month everywhere. Let me know, Jean, if there is a Bank Holiday in NZ in May; couldn't see any public holiday in May according to Google.

No linkup today, but please remember to tag me on Instagram @mmmquilts and also hashtag is #plusplaytimeqal if you feel like showing an and all progress!

Any questions, please either ask in the comments, or shoot me an email: ephdra (at) gmail (dot) com

If you haven't checked out the new bloggers for week 3 go here where you will find links to Linda in my hive who is posting, as well as the other co-hosts' blogs, and of course be sure to enter the giveaway on the Rafflecopter!

Monday, May 7, 2018

Week 3 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop

Welcome to week three of the New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop where we introduce quilt bloggers who are new to Quilting BlogLand. My hive named themselves In Stitches.
Carrie of Carrie Bee Creates made our button. That's one of her own quilts!

We hope you had a great week off from extra visiting, and are geared up for the last two weeks of the hop!  This week Linda at Cozy Quilts is introducing herself to you. I hope you can find some time to visit and leave her some comment love.

Once again there is a terrific giveaway with lots of awesome prizes from our very generous sponsors.

I hope you will also have time to hop over to my co-hosts' blogs, Beth @ Cooking Up Quilts, Tish @ Tish N Wonderland, and Jen @ Dizzy Quilter where you will find links to the bloggers in their hives who are also posting today.

All you need to do for all eight new bloggers posting today is leave a comment and then come back here to enter the giveaway for some truly wonderful prizes.


We are so very grateful to our 18 very generous sponsors for this year's hop:


                                                
The giveaway is the same on all four of the co-hosts' blogs, so you only need to enter once. The giveaway will run from May 7 12:00 am to May 12 at 12:00 am EST. Winners will be announced on Sunday, May 13, notified by email and posted to the Rafflecopter widget below.

Have fun!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Throwback Thursday #5 Herbs Cushion Cover & OMG

When I decided upon just which pre-blogging quilt I would write about, I realized this post would serve as my TBT as well as my OMG! Heh? How can that be? Read on to find out. Guilty secrets, true confessions, baring my UFO soul for all to see...


That is the pillow as it lives, for the past oh, 9-10 years, on my bed amongst several others. All the others there are tout fini. All finished. They range in age from the candle-wicking one, made in 1984-ish, to the Meadow Dance aqua/white/black one made in September 2017.

I'd already embroidered one Crabapple Hill pattern, and fallen in love with her designs. I always, always had some kind of handwork with me, be it knitting or embroidery, and this was so portable. I need to get back in that habit. I think aging eyes 😩 that don't see up close very well anymore are part of the reason I don't embroider like I used to. Here it is on the freshly mowed, new, I-could-just-chomp-on-it spring grass, off the pillow form:


I love these soft feminine colours, both the fabrics and threads. The 9-patch that is the centre is comprised of nine different cream low-volume fabrics before low-volume was a 'thing'. There's a little of my hoarded precious Nancy Halvorsen ' True Friends' fabrics by Benartex...who knew all these years later, this company would be such a huge part of my quilting life. The main floral fabric is a piece I'd bought thinking of using it for a kaleidoscope background fabric, but it was just so perfect for this cushion cover, that I used it all up here. The pink single-fold binding is machine-stitched to the front and hand-stitched down to the back. It's a left over piece of Moda Marbles--(How do I remember things like that? Oh, but I do. However, where I set my phone down 15 minutes ago? No clue. MacGyver threatened today to fix some kind of idiot strings to it...) --Moda Marbles from my mum's 70th birthday quilt. Okay then. That tells me it would be about 11 years old then as my mum is 81. See the value of quilt labels? I'm ticked I didn't put one on this.

Here is the back:


And this brings me to the OMG part of this TBT.  I zoomed in for you:


The blanket stitch on the back envelope edge is about 1/3 done. I had a feeling at the time that I shouldn't put it onto a pillow form because I might never finish that edge, stitched with a strand of the soft green and one of the soft pink, nor would I put on the two buttons required to close the flap. Oh, and make the buttonholes. So there it has sat (But no one will know! Well now everyone does....) for the past 11 years. So it is not just an OMG it's also a UFO! I see this on a daily basis; I pick it off my bed and set it back on the bed each day, so I touch it twice a day(!!), and it just keeps waiting patiently, every once in awhile giving me the spectacles slipped down the nose, eye-piercing look over the tops of them, 'So uh, hello? Anytime... You could finish me properly...' So I would like to finish embroidering that edge and make the buttonholes, sew on the buttons and call it done! I hope to do this by the end of May.

You may think this is a rather cheesy UFO/OMG, like I've had a lot more ambitious ones, try last month's? Two!! Both of which I did not complete... So I'm keeping it simple, but it's also got a catch: I have NO clue where, well a vague idea, my embroidery threads are. They sat in the Storage Box for five months last year and because I knew this loft was going to be renovated, I haven't set all my sewing stuff up, just the stuff I really need and use daily, so embroidery threads? Nuh-uh. The other hard part of this UFO/OMG is finding buttons. Same reason as embroidery thread. But also, did I buy some for this project? Or must I go out and buy some? So you see, not as easy-peasy a goal as it first appears.

Wish me luck!

Let's see what pre-blogging quilts with their stories (I love love love the stories) you've got for us this month!

But first! Free shipping at Craftsy! Today only! May 3! US orders only (booo, but it helps to have a daughter who lives across the river in Michigan!) and one time use only per customer.
Code: 24HRFREESHIP

and...

Be sure to check out Craftsy's new platform, much like Netflix (can't wait until I get my TV set up in this loft) where you pay monthly or annually, and you can watch classes 24/7! Do remember though that it still works like it always did: if you prefer to buy individual classes, they are yours forever to watch and rewatch time and again!
FREE 7 Day Craftsy Unlimited Trial at Craftsy.com

Linking up
Elm Street Quilts
Tish N Wonderland