Monday, February 29, 2016

OMG February Goal: Swoon Mini

Down to the wire but it is done and dusted.  I adore it.  This was a squirrel that distracted a few of us this past month when a random comment of loving Camille Roskelley's Swoon quilts and having them on our bucket list led to a small quilt along amongst friends.
New binding technique!!!! Over the MOON with this.  It's "Susie's Magic Binding" and can be found here on the blog and here on YouTube. Thank you Tish!
This is under the Ott lite because the sun set several hours ago...

Knowing I would not get it bound before the sun went down, I had to throw it on the ground to try to get some rays on it to show off the quilting:

I quilted all four blocks the same:  dot to dot that pretty much looks like 1/4" echoes in the diamonds, more dot to dot in the pentagon shapes (some of my favourite designs, Angela Walters of course), and then a swoopy arc design of my own just from point to point that makes kind of a funky star.  I did a ring of beads/pearls behind each centre star.

When I decided to echo 1/4" from the outside of each swoon, I made the decision to ignore the sashing.  I could see two squares on point were formed on the sashing lines and a central cross shape was formed in the very centre of the quilt.  So I decided to put swirls there, and got Tish's yes vote.  It was when I was quilting the centre swirls that I could see half cross shapes at noon, 3, 6 and 9 o'clock positions if you will, so I did swirls there as well.

I didn't know what I was going to do with the squares on point until I was quilting the swirls in the half cross shapes and it hit me: dot to dot and a string of pearls down the centre to tie the white space behind the stars with the white space between blocks!  Love!  Another example of a quilt talking to me.

I loved how Tish did her mashing down of background on the side edges.  As they say, "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" so I used her skinny cursive "L" mashing down between the swirl sections.
the back...outside
and under the Ott-Lite with binding done.
The backing was fabric I'd planned to use on the front in one Swoon block, but it was too large a scale

I was somewhat hampered in getting this done in a timely fashion by life in the form of a most lovely and memorable day and night spent with good friends from New York State.  We walked dogs for a little over 5 km (3 miles) had a delicious lunch at a new-to-us-but-we-will-definitely-return diner, Joseph's Diner in Nokomis, and then stock car races that night at DeSoto Raceway in Bradenton.  Yoga and more life stuff took up the majority of today, while last night I was hindered by Miss Bella of the Tournée du Chat Noir pose ON the top of my machine again...

Here are a few shots of the making of the Mini Swoon.
All the pieces cut and organized; this was the original stripe I'd thought to use for binding
I had a little bit of the binding fabric left from Tish's pillow, so I replaced the originally planned fabric that ended up as backing with it.  Very pleased with the result.
First block done--swoon!
Sewing these tiny pieces was a bit of a challenge.  The smallest ones were 1.5" squares; there are 65 pieces in each 8" finished block!
It didn't help when I got a bit cocky, not paying close attention, and started making HSTs with the 1.5" blocks instead of the 2" ones...Oh well, I now have an adorable 2" unfinished pinwheel that will perhaps become a pincushion!
to rip or not to rip...decided TO rip as the 1/16" off showed if you look closely at the line formed by the red and white contrasting fabrics
Another block done!
I will update this post tomorrow with an outside shot of the bound mini.
A little interference from the blinds and window panes, but I'll take it.

As I mentioned, I've quilted this month with a few friends, which was so much fun as we talked about where we were over the past four weeks, and cheered each other on.  Tish was a great motivator as she got hers done first.  Cindy was up against some insurmountable odds, but like the little train that could, she DID! Each one of our Swoon Minis is intricately quilted; no walking foot straight lines for us, no siree!  Make sure you check out their beauties too:  Tish's Swoon Mini and Cindy's Swoon Mini.

Quilt Stats:
Pattern:  Swoon Mini #170 by Camille Roskelley
Size: 19.5" square
Fabric: Paradiso by Kate Spain scrap, Pillow and Maxfield for Michael Miller, Modern Background Essentials by Brigitte Heitland for Zen Chic for Moda, Modern Crush by Anna Maria Horner for Free Spirit, and a tone on tone polka dot red I do not know the name of from my Parisville Weave quilt, and the corner stones or posts are scraps, an old fabric
Batting: Pellon Nature's Touch 100% cotton
Quilted: on my Bernina
Threads: pieced with Essential thread from Connecting Threads (no affiliation but I love this thread!); quilted with Essential thread in white, Sulky rayon 40 wt in royal blue, and Sulky Cotton 30 wt in red.

Linking up with OMG at Red Letter Quilts with 3 hours left! And with Let's Bee Social (it's been a while) at Sew Fresh Quilts.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Fabric Club Installment #2: Avant Garde

Linking up with Molli Sparkles for Sunday Stash #167 which is over at Raspberry Spool this week.  I mentioned in my last post there may be an intervention needed as far as fabric acquirement goes, but I made it clear that that could not happen until after this weekend.  Craftsy is having a Winter Clearance with an extra 20% off and oh, I was there...and might be going back yet before it ends...

But this is about a collection by Art Gallery Fabrics designer Katarina Roccella...

Laid these out just so, and a quilt idea started to form
...a collection I drooled over and entered all the giveaways I could on the hop during January.  The colours are more vibrant than I envisioned.  It's the kind of fabric that I want to open my mouth WIDE and take a big ol' chomp out of it and digest it so my skin erupts in these beautiful images.  Although I didn't win, I kind of did, because it was my fabric club shipment this month!!!  You never know what collection you are going to receive, so I was especially overjoyed!

I'm on the hunt for some more of this text and butterflies print
One of the quotes on the fabric: "What a magnificent destiny for the arts is that of exercising a positive power over society, a true priestly function and of marching in the van i.e. vanguard of all the intellectual faculties."

I love that.  Jasmine of Quilt Kisses said to me about this time last year when I was feeling pretty down about horrific events in this country, in my own country and around the world, that she makes quilts to add some beauty to the world.  That is what art does, among a myriad of other things.  Seeing some of the ingenious projects that talented bloggers created with this fabric lifts my spirits.

Such unusual and eye-catching designs, no?
You can read about the ideas and meanings that inspired this collection on Katarina's blog, Like Flowers and Butterflies.

A couple of my favourite projects from the hop were Kathleen's quilt and those of Sari and her friend Nicole at Sariditty Handmade.

I also picked up a couple things from Fat Quarter Shop this week. Wow, like Craftsy, they have fast delivery too!!
I have never had any of these mini charms packs, and getting them at an unreal price on a Flash Sale deal was a treat.  Of course this last yard and a third of Winterfall by Lecien at a clearance price jumped into the package at no extra shipping charge, so how could I refuse?

Happy Sunday sewing and perhaps perusing of fabric deals at these shops! I am an affiliate for Craftsy, but no affiliation with Fat Quarter Shop, just a firm supporter.  :-)

Friday, February 26, 2016

We All Love Deals

I do especially.  I love saving money.  I love getting new fabric.  Happy dance when those three come together!  However, I am thinking it may be time to do an intervention on me...  Well, maybe after this weekend.  Craftsy is having a huge Winter Clearance Sale on their project kits and supplies.  So good, (an extra 20% off existing clearance prices!!) that I am interrupting my WIP, which I'd hoped to have finished for today but fabric shopping has put a dent in my sewing time! Drat. ;-)

Swoon Mini
This is my OMG (One Monthly Goal) if you didn't recall, so I am under the gun to get it done in time.  However.

As my friend Pat pointed out, I am being an enabler.  As a bona fide enablee (that is a term, I am sure, lol) I feel it is my duty and my privilege to invite others to join me in my pursuit of fabric.  Bahaha.   This week in my life:
JoAnn's (no affiliation) had a 60% off coupon, which I took advantage of yesterday on Warm 'n White batting.  Happy dance!!  Fat Quarter Shop (again, no affiliation) had a terrific deal on one of their 24-Hour Flash Sales this past week.  Pink Castle Fabrics Monthly Club (my Christmas present from MacGyver, no affiliation) sent the second of my 3-month installments and I whooped for joy when I opened my bundle of Avant Garde!!!!  See? I spread my love around.  This weekend, however, my love (read moola) is headed full tilt boogie over to Craftsy.

I might have already loaded a few items into my cart.

Below you see some of the great bundles I've bought in the fairly recent past on Craftsy.  These often work out to $1-2-ish per fat quarter Canadian dollars.  I figure $7-8/yard CA is pretty awesome; $5-6US about the same.
The top two are both Windham Fabrics bundles, and the bottom is Robert Kaufman
You may recall the ten 1-yard cuts bundle I bought and made into a lap quilt using a 2.5" strip off each fabric plus some Kona Snow:
You can read more about this quilt and other Craftsy goodies here

There are excellent deals such as these and more to be had, quilt kits and totes among them.  Take a look:

Many of us quilters also do other hand work.  I knit.  Here is just one of the kits on sale:
Linea shawl
I haven't had a knitting project on the go in some time, so I'll be snagging something that's for sure.  You all know by now how much I love and have talked about Craftsy, from before I was an affiliate even.  This post does contain affiliate links, so I do get some commission on any purchases made through them. As always, thank you in advance. :-)

Once I'm done placing my order, and if I can just keep Bella off my Swoon mini,

as well as from running from one end of the house to nearly the other trailing the thread I'm using to quilt it, I may just accomplish my One Monthly Goal.  There are a few of us in on this Swoon Mini quilt along; you can check out Tish's finish here.

Linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

And the Winners Are...

We heard from Melissa of Craftsy this morning. Drum roll please!  Congratulations to the following three lucky winners:
A free class of her choice:  tahoe34523559

A free class of her choice:   dmac5958

The winner of the fantabulous grand prize, all this yummy loot:  bmichelbr8489760

What's that? You'd like to get your hands on some of those rich colours from Boundless? Click the photo or click here.  They're on for 20% off right now.

Again, thank you to those of you who read the reviews, who popped over to Craftsy and took advantage of the half-price classes available, and most of all thank you to our fabulous group of 10 bloggers who agreed to write review posts for the first hop that Julie and I hosted.  I've included a link to their home page, so you can see what they're up to since the hop. Talent abounds below:
Judy at Quilt Paradigm
Helen at Midget Gem Quilts
Cindy at Stitchin At Home
Vicki at Vicki's Crafts and Quilting
Zenia at A Quilted Passion
Jayne at Twiggy and Opal
Tish at Tish's Adventures in Wonderland
Anja at Anja Quilts
Beth at Cooking Up Quilts
Preeti at Sew Preeti Quilts
It was a great time, and I know I myself learned a few new things!  If you missed anything or everything, but want to read some great reviews of classes, fabrics and patterns, click the heart on my sidebar and you will be taken to the schedule where you can visit each blog.  Personal endorsement of a product speaks volumes, right?

Now, speaking of Boundless solids, and fabulous fabrics, I spied this delicious collection, Home Sweet Home, on the weekend (and no! I actually did not buy it):

I thought, what is it about this fabric that really grabs me?  Realizing it might be the colour range, I decided to plug in the picture to Palette Builder 2.1

These are the matching Moda Bella Solids.  Wow, who'd've thunk it, right? Don't think I'd have put those together if I'd been starting from scratch.  But I do like them!  There is a nice range from very light to fairly dark.

Here are the Robert Kaufman Kona matches:

Just another fun thing to play with.  Because, you know, you're probably like me, with tons of free time to play on the computer.  And tons of money to go right on out and buy a chunk of each of these colours, right?

Speaking of money...with working part-time now, I like to save wherever I can, and I'm willing to wait for a sale.  There is going to be a good 'un at Craftsy this coming weekend: Winter Clearance.  There will be an extra 20% off clearance.  That just gives me a shiver of excitement typing that!  Might be a good time now to peruse their wares, calculate the savings, make a list of potential scores (you know how I love my lists)...

and ignore your Year of the Stash manifesto, ha ha!
Please note that there are affiliate links in this post and if you click through to Craftsy on them and make a purchase, I do receive a small commission.  Thank you for your support.  :-)

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Sunday Stash and A Quilt Show

The Year of the Stash?   Well, not this weekend... I went to the Disconnected Piecers Quilt Guild show on Saturday.  It was pretty good.  The merchant mall was decent too.  I might have shown a little love to one shop in particular, and of course, I had to visit my LQS, Expert Sewing Center, on the way home from the show so they didn't feel left out.  Take a look at what came home with me.

I seem to have a new love affair with Moda's Grunge after buying two pieces of it for nephew #2, Aidan's quilt, Triangle Tranpsarency.
Their fabric was 30% off for show-goers who had a coupon :-) because they'd taken their machines to the show, not fabric.  In the rich orange Grunge I got for Aidan's quilt, there is a slight "scratch" of purple.  Thus, I think a purple binding will look fabulous.  However, in case it maybe doesn't, or if I want the quilt to read more masculine, I picked up a half yard of the grey.  Be prepared, right?  When I was buying the oranges for Aidan's quilt, the owner showed me what she had just put on the shelf that day, "Black Tie Affair".  It preyed on my mind these past few weeks.  Half a yard came home. Another repeat purchase is Zen Chic's Modern Background Essentials, a good white to have on hand.

Laid it down in the spot where her cushion went last year...immediate approval
This is from a home-based quilt shop.  She had lots of bolts for $5.50/yard, with the rest $7-9/yard.  These were $5.50/yard.  When I saw the kitties, I had to have a half yard to make Miss Bella her "pouffé" that I left behind.  When I also got a yard of the grey cut, the owner told me it is part of the same line, along with the red, which some of the kitties are wearing as their knitted sweaters, so of course I got a little bit--I'll have to work in some 4-patches or a cat head or something, right?

Speaking of animals and grey, just look at this masterpiece that was at the show!  The guild had a challenge to use only grey as the background fabric in a quilt.  This took first place.  It was about 20" high.

There are even elephants quilted into the fabric here and there, eyes from a Sarasota designer and artificial eyelashes that a human would wear.

How's this for threadplay?!  Eric Drexler's work was the Special Exhibit.  He uses Sulky threads, so I was pretty interested to see his work.  Oh my!  (that's his thread-painted dragon hanging up)
A Recycled Challenge. Eric used 25-year-old Sulky thread...makes me smile, as I have some that is close to 15 years old and still stitches out beautifully.

When I got home, the mail lady had delivered a package from Craftsy!
Of course she has to investigate and approve all new fabric
I had never heard of the 6" strip that Preeti reviewed.  I decided to get one.
20 strips @ 6" = 120" works out to CA$10.07 or US$6.77 per yard; that's a good buy no matter which way you slice it!
Can't wait to use these rich vibrant colours.

Last chance!!
If you haven't entered the Craftsy giveaway, then please do not wait a moment longer:  click here.  Three great prizes are up for grabs.  If you haven't checked out all the stops on the Craftsy blog hop that Julie and I hosted from Feb. 10-15, click the heart on my sidebar and you will be taken to the schedule.  Until the end of today only, all classes reviewed in the hop are discounted 50% or more simply by buying them through the blogger who reviewed the class.  Not only classes were reviewed; there is great information and evaluation of patterns, fabric deals, and tools (the iron Jayne reviewed is back in stock!) on the 12 blogs in the hop. Some sweet opportunities for sure!

The winners will be announced here at mmm! quilts and on Julie's blog, Pink Doxies, tomorrow.

Linking up with Molli Sparkles... who is stateside, so Sunday Stash is at Ms Midge.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Pibbles Pillows and Planners

Tish and I met in QBL last summer when we were both a part of the New Bloggers Blog Hop.  I recognized an immediate kindred spirit in her during a multi-email conversation about our fur boys, (aka pibbles, pitties, and officially, pitbulls).  She has two, and I have one.  Sealing the friendship was that we were also each owned by an all-things-quilting cat inspector/cheerleader.
Tish's Oliver and my Bella

Cementing our friendship was a love of FMQ, books, and both traditional and modern quilts.  When she told me she had been asked to construct a quilt for the play, "Quilters", a play that I'd been to years ago with my mum and sister at our Fringe Theatre Festival, I knew this was a friendship that was more than a "surface" online connection.  We shared so many loves.
Heart pillow pibble

Out of a very disappointing incident at the end of last year came two happy occurrences for us at the beginning of this year.  After the New Bloggers Hop was over, we were each given the opportunity to take part in a New Quilt Block hop sponsored by Fabri-Quilt.  Both Tish and I jumped at the chance.

3D Pinwheel Parade by Sandra and Watermelon Taffy by Tish
Funny, until I put them side by side, I did not realize we each had pinwheels in our block!  We were told that Stephanie of Late Night Quilter was doing a Quilter's Planner, and she would be choosing blocks from this hop to include each week in the planner.  We could be published!  A short while after the hop we each got an email letting us know that our blocks had been chosen.  Eeep!  Pretty exciting.

I elected not to order a planner.  Don't get me wrong; I thought it a great idea, I loved my teacher planner from my teaching days, and I lo-o-o-ve organization.  I have a calendar on the laptop that is synced with my phone, a calendar in the kitchen where we write all our goings-on.  I have pretty notepads where I make checklists of what I have to do on a given day or within a certain timeframe, as that keeps me (somewhat) focused and I get to check things off as I complete them. Love that!  I'm also the nerdy type that hangs on to some of these former checklists and looks back with a sigh of contentment that I did get through all those things that may have seemed a bit daunting at the time.  Life stuff and quilt stuff.  However, I am no longer working full-time.  In all honesty, I would rather spend the $35 on fabric and keep my current system.

And then.

The sad occurrence.

Tish ordered a planner.  Why is that sad?  Well, she got it in its lovely bubble-wrap packaging, opened it, and of course, flipped through to find her block.  Nada.  Okay, must've missed it.  Went through slowly, week by week.  Nope. No Watermelon Taffy.  What the H?  Obviously she was quite disappointed, as well as rather embarrassed since she'd proclaimed her publication on her blog and now....  Ouch.  How to handle this?  She talked to me and I encouraged her to contact Stephanie, asking what had happened.  She thought about it; being the sweet person she is, she didn't want to appear whiny.  Eventually she did write to Stephanie.  Apparently there'd been a mix-up of some kind, and much apologizing on Stephanie's behalf ensued.  And?  Stephanie made it right. :-)  She offered to refund Tish's money for the planner.


Tish elected not to have her money reimbursed, but wanted to send me a planner, because she knew what a nerd I am about being organized, and she knew I would love one.  She asked Stephanie if Stephanie would send a planner to someone of Tish's choosing.  Stephanie said no problem.  Tish then asked me if she could send me a planner.  I was gobsmacked, a British expression which I love:  bowled over to the point where one's mouth drops open.  Gobsmacked that someone who I have never met could be so kind and thoughtful.  Could turn a disappointment for herself into an act of generosity to someone else.  I still get a lump in my throat just writing that.

And so it was.

When we arrived in Florida, there was a lovely package waiting for me: my very own planner!  I LOVE it.  Sidenote: so does Bella if you look back at the first photo!

No more bits of pretty notepaper to look back on: I can easily look back at any given week and see what I had on my list and what I accomplished.  There isn't a day goes by where I do not use or refer to it.

I knew immediately that I was going to make something for Tish to thank her.  It took a little while for the idea to simmer, let the temperature rise a little more until, like taffy, it got to the "pulling" stage. ;-) Get it?

As I mentioned in this post, since I made Gillian's Namaste Hug heart lap quilt, I have wanted to remake it in miniature.  I found out that Tish, like me, loves blue and pink combined, so this would be perfect.  The heart symbol as well, yes!
Final arrangement on the design wall
I cut into my coveted Angela Walters 'Drift' fabric for that fabulous blue square of curling feathers in the centre area of the heart.
Block sections pieced (there might be a tutorial in the future)

Quilting...I wanted a lace doily effect around the heart.
I used white Isacord for the FMQ in the Kona Snow areas.
 I made a happy mistake on the 1/4" quilting along the seams of the heart: I did the first one at 1/8".  Instead of ripping, I thought I'd continue the 1/8" and 1/4", alternating a Coats and Clark variegated blue cotton with Essential thread from Connecting Threads in Magenta.  I have fallen in love with this thread!  The price and the quality! No affiliation.
All finished quilting.  Of course there are feathers.  Corner hearts, matchstick quilting, and a rather cool, if I do say so myself, motif of my own design in the "v" of the heart.
Then I needed to get fabric for the back and binding.  Of course, I forgot the cushion cover at home, but I'm so glad I have a pretty good photographic colour memory!  I liked what I brought home! Paradiso by Kate Spain.


As I am wont to do, I threw the finished quilt, in this case, pillow, around our back yard... (not always a good idea as you are about to find out)
The afternoon sun shows off the quilting so well!
The back:

A closer look at that label:

and the photo I iMessaged to Tish that day:
Look just below the arrow!  My initials are FMQ-ed in the pillow somewhere too.
Happy lump in the throat at her end.

And then panic ensued at my end...there was DIRT on the pillow!  On the Kona Snow fabric of course! Nooooo.  And on the back as well!!

Nothing to do but wash it.  Carefully.
Phew!  It all came out.  And crinkled up quite nicely.
Yep, no dirt.  I have no ruler foot for my Bernina, so the lines were done with a walking foot in some places and FMQ in others.
Ready to send to Tish!
threads used-mmm!
You know the saying two wrongs don't make a right?  Well two RIGHTS came out of one wrong in this case.  And I could not be happier.  Both in the receiving and in the giving.

Quilt Stats:
Pattern: original design
Size: 22.5" square
Fabric: scraps, stash and purchased Paradiso by Kate Spain for Moda Fabrics
Batting: Pellon Nature's Touch 100% cotton scraps
Quilted: on my Bernina
Threads: pieced with Gütermann, quilted with Isacord 100% polyester #0015 in 40 wt, Essential from Connecting Threads 100% cotton Magenta 50 wt, and Coats and Clark 100% cotton in blue variegated 40 wt.

Remember, the hop continues until Sunday! What hop you may ask?  The Craftsy Sweetens Up My Quilting Life hop! Click the heart in my sidebar for the schedule, or here, if you missed some or all of the posts (no worries, we all take breaks from QBL, myself included).  Any class reviewed by a blogger is on sale for 50% off or more (one of the two Angela Walters classes I reviewed is 56% off), through that blogger's site.  Get the inside scoop on fabric purchases (some suh-WEET scores and tips), on tools for our trade, and on patterns, (ranging from free to $2-3, I kid you not).

HOWEVER I'm not done!  There is the giveaway still going on until Sunday!  Click here to enter.  That's it.  You could win a free class (TWO are being given away to 2 lucky people) or you could win THIS grand prize:
The grand prize is the kit to make this gorgeous Crown Jewels quilt by Amy Gibson.  AND Craftsy is also adding to that lovely prize with TWO sets of precuts above and beyond the kit requirements: Boundless Solids 10" squares and a 6" strip.  Gobsmacked everyone?!  I know I am!

One entry per person.  The winners will be announced on Monday, Feb. 21 here at mmm! quilts and at Pink Doxies.  What are you waiting for? You know you want this!

Linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Crazy Mom Quilts and TGIFF hosted this week by another of my QBL friends, Lisa of Sunlight in Winter Quilts.