Monday, April 7, 2014

Neighbourhoods in the Making

Seems like it is all about neighbourhoods in my sewing corner. Last year I started a quilt designed by Kathy Schmitz called A CottageYear. It's a great name for this quilt, since each block's embroidered cottage features a different month and it seems to have taken me a year to make it! The quilt top is now a finish and it is off to the LAQ.



The weather didn't cooperate at all for taking pictures outside last week...snow, snow, and more snow. I am afraid to say it aloud,but the snow seems to be melting today, thank goodness. 

Shopper/Quilter Mary gifted me with a wonderful ladder at Christmas for displaying my quilty projects, so I put it in use for an indoor pic of A Cottage Year.




This quilt was one of those quilts that was a joy to make from start to finish. I loved each and every stitchery. In fact, each one brings back fond memories of travelling West for our daughter's wedding last summer...a perfect take-along project to work on while sitting on their front deck enjoying our flavored coffees and the sunrise over their new neighbourhood.

So back to the present. This is how the quilt came together this week. I started by framing my centre blocks with the black and tan leaf print in the Little Gatherings line that I had in my stash.



I chose my reds and creams also from my stash, starting with this group, adding and deleting as I went along.



Then I cut the strips for the log cabin blocks. In fact, I cut some extra so I could audition a few, deciding to use the reds that read like solids, and the cream prints that were more cream than red.






I love making log cabin blocks...there is nothing easier, so they came together very quickly.



And I love cornerstones and sashing...



There is nothing better than seeing the quilt grow...



It will be a delight to see the finished quilt when it is returned to me, all quilted and cozy from the longarmer.

In other neighbourhood news,  my Country Homecomings has grown as well since since I first posted about my start HERE. As of today the twelve homespun houses have been connected, windows and doors machine appliqued, and the borders attached.



Although I had originally purchased a homespun for the borders, I decided to use a cozy flannel instead that was in my stash. The flannel reads more like a solid and I think it will let the applique shine, and of course, make the quilt more cuddly. I have combined the use of homespuns, flannels, and regular quilter's cotton in the past and have never been disappointed!  

The appliqued border will be made up of vines, stars and berries. I chose another cuddly flannel for the gold checked stars, used my Steam a Seam, and cut them out ready to go using my Star die for my Go! Baby cutter. The vine fabric is ready to cut into strips and I'll use a bias tape maker to make the vines. 



The berries will be cut using a variety of red homespuns. I have an Olfa Rotary circle cutter that does an awesome job so I'll use that to cut the berries, and again will adhere the fabric first to the fusible web so the berries will be ready to press in place and machine embroider.

I'm a little long winded today...just catching up after a week suffering with a cold that knows no end. I have been down for the count and am finally seeing the other side. The good news is that I have had no arm issues this week, probably because my arm hasn't been busy sewing, quilting, or computering! I did find out that my wrist issue is actually related to the onset of arthritis. Why do I feel too young to be this old? 

I'll be taking a break from computers and blogland for awhile. Lots of resting, relaxing, and family time planned. See you later in May...and the snow better be gone by then!

Thanks for coming by. It's always a great day for quilting...

Monday, March 31, 2014

You Had Me At Merlot

My DD is celebrating a birthday this week so I filled a box of goodies last week and mailed it out to her. Everything arrived safely in time for her big day, so I thought I would show you a couple of items I made for her. 

I had purchased a pack of wine-themed fat quarters awhile back. The fabric is called "You Had Me at Merlot" by Daphne B. at Wilmington Prints. I thought it was an awesome pack of FQs and I wanted to use it for someone special! 





Do you notice anything about the tote?  It's the same tote, but it has two different sides. Both sides are made using the wine themed fabrics featuring everything wine-related including pictures of glasses of wine, corkscrews, wine labels, and some wine text! 

I machine quilted the background fabrics with a cross hatch design...





and found a beautiful pale yellow toile for the lining.




I think every tote should have a zippered pocket because it is too easy to lose things, or is that just me? Anyway, I made a little zippered pocket, added a label, and sewed it to the lining.





I have two sets of labels...one set says "The Cuddle Quilter" and one set says "Love and Hugs from Lesley. " Looks like I need another set that says "Love from Mom!"



I reinforced the straps to make them extra sturdy. The tote has three outside pockets on each side and a reinforced bottom. A perfect size for DD to take with her when shopping or visiting!






Want to makeone yourself? The Shopper's Fancy Tote pattern, designed by Jo-Lydia's Attic, is available free at the Connecting Threads web site HERE.  Designer Jo-Lydia, has several more beautiful patterns that you can purchase as a PDF file HERE.

Keeping with the domestic diva approach, I decided to add a personalized apron for DD in the birthday goodie box. To find a pattern, I googled and found a video tutorial by Jenny Doan of the Missouri Star Quilt Company. She shows us how to make an apron using a pair of tea towels. Off I went to our local grocery store, arriving home with a pair of coordinated tea towels that definitely made me think of Spring. I probably should have washed them first, because you know how tea towels like to shrink, but I wanted them to look new and fresh when they became an apron. Wash that apron with care, DD! 





I think it turned out pretty cute, so I plan on making more aprons in my future. I didn't want the letters to overpower the apron front, so I used a polka-dot fabric I found in my stash.

If you want to make an apron, here are Jenny's videos in two parts.






I also picked up a journal at our local department store, made a fabric cover for it, appliqued it with the letter A, and added it to the goodie box. I forgot to take a picture, but it is something I'd like to make again so next time I'll keep a camera ready!

It's a great day for quilting!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Darlene's Mystery a Finish

Remember that wonderful mystery quilt I started last year? Using scraps from my stash, the quilt began with a snowball centre and grew and grew and grew.  Quilt designer Darlene at Quilts by Darlene created this project for "Darlene's Mystery QAL" that I adored making, each and every step. 

Well, the quilt arrived home last week from longarm quilter, Alice, a friend of Kaaren of The Painted Quilt. Kaaren has shown us many quilts that have been beautifully quilted by Alice, so I knew my quilt would be wonderfully quilted with her special touch. After consulting with Alice, I decided to choose an edge to edge design that I think is the perfect pattern for my quilt. She did such a great job. Thank you, Alice!

I decided to bind the quilt with the same fabric I used for the backing. I cut the strips 2.25", added them end to end as needed, pressed them in half lengthwise and attached the binding. Because the quilt is so large (about 90" x 95"), and my sewing corner is so small, I brought my sewing machine to the dining room and spread my quilt out on the table to make it a little easier. And off I went...



I attached the binding to the front of the quilt and then I folded the strip over to the back. I then sewed again on the front using the "stitch in the ditch" to sew the binding in place. In the past, I have usually sewn my binding down by hand, but am now using the sewing machine to do this in order to reduce stress on my wrist. I'm very pleased with the result. The quilt might not win any ribbons with machine sewn binding, but it sure works for me!



Too cold and windy today to hang the quilt on the line, so I took a few pics in the spare room.






A few closeups of Alice's quilting...







Thank you, Darlene, for your free QAL. I love this quilt so much and am having lots of fun peeking at all those fabrics I used from my stash, some kind of new, and a lot not so new. I think they all work well together. 

Darlene has started a new blog for her new quilt shop, "A Needle Pulling Thread". She also posts pictures of her fabric, wools, notions and pattern arrivals in her shop through her Facebook page. She is only a phone call or an email away if you want to place an order. Ask me how I know... 

If you want to read more about my making of Darlene's Mystery quilt and see more pics of the process, just enter the words "Darlene's Mystery"  in the search bar on my sidebar. 


It's a great day for quilting!


Monday, March 17, 2014

A Jewel Box From Start to Finish

With the kind of winter we've had, playing with bright and colorful fabrics gives me just the kind of boost I need in my sewing corner. "Jewel Box" was just the project I needed to get away from the winter blues, or should I say blahs! 



I was inspired by a pattern I found on the cover of the December issue of Fons and Porter's Easy Quilts. 



I adapted the pattern by removing the sashing between the "jewels" and made a total of twelve blocks resulting in a perfect cuddle quilt, about 45"x 60".



I had lots of fun playing with the blocks. I wanted this quilt to smile, so I used fabrics that were bright and bold, florals, tone on tones, and some fun novelty prints. The great thing about making these blocks was the creation of surplus HSTs.



I gathered them up in sets of four and made almost two dozen pinwheel blocks. These are now being sewn into a baby quilt which I'll show you down the road.

Another thing that I loved about making this quilt was how quick it was to sew together. My background in the blocks is a bright white solid, so I used the same fabric for the sashing and made some cornerstones using one of the pink fabrics. I bordered the quilt with a fine black and white stripe which toned it down just a tad.  






Then it was off to the LAQ. Ange from Quilting on the Mira did her magic and before I could turn around, the quilt was back home, the binding and label attached, and it was ready for its photo op.










I used a pale pink batik for the backing  which shows the quilting so well! 





And yet another wintry windy day in the Strait!



Thanks for coming by to visit. 

It's a great day for sewing!