Sunday, April 24, 2016

Dinosaurs and Elephants

Since our first grandson was born last June, my sewing room has seen the making of many baby-themed projects, including quilts for strollers, car seats and play, receiving blankets, burp cloths, and lots of bibs, both traditional and bandana. Nothing better than sending off a quilty treat to DGS!  That has also meant my stash has grown with a variety of baby-themed flannel, especially boy baby-themed flannels! So even though I said I was putting away my flannels for the year, the chilly weather has kept me inside playing with them. I wanted to make a crib quilt for the shop, the Artisans Collective Gift Shop. You can read about the shop HERE .  The shop opens in mid-June so I turned to the trusty free pattern of Star Bright, grabbed my "boy" flannels and this is the result.

This is the second time I have used this pattern and it won't be my last. The first was made for my grand-niece HERE. The quilt is made entirely from 6" squares, with a few HSTs thrown in the mix to make the star. Within a couple of days, I went from choosing the fabrics to taking pictures of the finished quilt. I used two different dinosaur prints and a funky elephant parade fabric for the star and binding, mixed with my solids of blue, grey and white.

The quilt finishes at 40" x 45" so fit on the dining room table pretty easily for the pinning.

I quilted it with rows of serpentine stitching spaced about 2.5" apart, from top to bottom.

Yesterday was sunny, so I took my outdoor/clothesline pictures then and finished sewing the binding on this morning. 

I wanted it to stand up to lots of washing so attached the binding by machine. 

I'm thrilled that I was able to finish this so quickly and enjoyed making it so much.  Now to get back to a work in progress, like my blue school house quilt. I still have about 20 of the scrappy Irish chain blocks to make to use as the alternate blocks so I better get going!

It's a great day for quilting!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

First Ever Maritime Modern Quilt Guild Retreat

What a great time! Quilters from all over Nova Scotia met in Truro on the weekend for the first ever Maritime Modern Quilt Guild Retreat at the Holiday Inn and I was lucky enough to be there with them!

Although I only stayed one night, I had lots of time to reconnect with old friends, meet lots of new ones, and do lots of sewing. The guild has a Face Book page HERE and a very active Face Book page for members so it was wonderful to meet everyone in person after corresponding through the FB page. It was so nice to spend time there with my blog friend Linda, of Scrapmaster,  a fellow member of the Nova Scotia Quilt Bloggers Quartet! I'm on the right.

There were 26 participants and 19 of us participated in a swag bag exchange. I decided to make zippered pouches for everyone, trying to use some of my more modern fabrics with a few extras tossed in. I had purchased a gazillion zippers a few years ago and they came in handy for this project. I used a free pattern I found HERE and adapted the size to make the bag narrower and long enough to hold a chocolate bar and some goodies. 

The retreat room was perfect with plenty of space, a table for everyone, lots of outlets, and natural light. All the swap bags were on a table in one corner and they were waiting patiently to be filled...and filled they were. This is what mine looked like. 

Love the label! Inside was everything you could imagine from a group of talented, creative and generous gals. There were handcrafted pouches, home made delectable treats, candies and chocolate galore, and lots of sewing treats including thread, buttons, needles, and measuring tapes.  Here are just a few of the goodies:

For the retreat, I had brought three projects to work on and used my Sew-Ezi table to set up my old Janome workhorse!

The first project is called Quilt Bars. It is a free pattern by Tammy Silvers for Camelot Fabrics that you can find HERE. I had about half the fabrics already in my stash and bought a tad more to put it together.

I made two of the giant blocks before retreat and finished the quilt top by Saturday morning. The size is 48" x 60" so I will tackle the quilting on my own.

Project # 2 is called Bright Heart Wedges. Again, I chose my brightest fabrics, bought the Fons and Porter Large Wedge Ruler, and had all my wedges cut and ready to sew for retreat day.

A few hours later, I had assembled a few rows. 

There will be white sashing between the rows and I'm going to extend the rows a little wider and go without a border, thanks to friend Linda of Scrapmaster for her brilliant suggestion! Here is a picture of the original pattern designed by Tony Jacobson.

At that point in the retreat, it was Power Hour! This was an hour, for those participating, that was dedicated to making our blocks for the IWK Charity quilts. You can read more about it HERE. I had brought a tote filled with the precut units and by the end of the hour had sewn 13 blocks together. Adding these to my batch from home, I now have 26 blocks of the 80 block quilt done, the suggested size of a twin quilt. I have several months to work on this so I'm sure I will have a complete top by the Fall. At some point in time, I may arrange the blocks so there is some structure to it, but right now, this is just a bunch of the random blocks.

After the hour, it was back to the wedges and then I slipped away to visit my family for the rest of the weekend.

Thank you ever so much to the Maritime Modern Quilt Guild executive and organizing committee for hosting the "First Ever MMQG Retreat". It was a time filled with friends and fabric, and so many perks, like the three free mystery projects. Although I didn't participate that day, I hope to do them down the road. Who would not want to make this adorable schooner!

The organizers had arranged for multiple draw prizes from a huge group of sponsors. I wasn't lucky enough to win any of the draw prizes, but all participants received coupons for discounts from the Canadian shops Dinkydoo Fabrics and Notions and Fabric Spark. 
All in all, a wonderful time and I am hoping to stay for the full weekend next year! 

Thought you might like to see the list of sponsors, all Canadian.

Located in Nova Scotia:
Bridgewater, Dartmouth, Halifax, Greenwood, New Glasgow, and Truro

Avonport, NS

Elmsdale, NS

Halifax, NS

Canadian Sponsors

It's a great day for quilting!

Friday, April 8, 2016

The Last of the Flannels

OK, even though the weather is still not guaranteed to be warm these days, I am ready to put away my flannel fabric stash 'till next year.  My goal this week was to sandwich my flannel quilt that you saw HERE and "ger 'er done", so I did! 

I am always surprised how little time it actually takes me to quilt a cuddle quilt and this one was no exception. A couple of shifts at the machine and the quilt was ready for binding. I had an "aha" moment when I was attaching the binding. Usually I wrap the binding around my vintage spool and put the spool in an empty waste can on the floor. As I sew the binding on, the binding unravels from the spool in the can. This day I decided to put the spool with my binding right on my cone spool holder. Worked like a charm!

I used a stitch in the ditch design as I didn't want to cover those pretty flower patches, and it left the quilt soft and cuddly on both sides, especially with the flannel backing.

I took this picture a couple of days ago and you can still see a few small mounds of snow in the background. I think today's rain has probably taken them away for good.

The pinwheels were dancing in the wind that day. It was too cold to sit on the swing, but soon, very soon, I hope to be able to sit out there without a flannel quilt to keep me warm!

For the next few days, I will focus on getting my projects ready for the retreat next weekend. I am heading away for the first ever Maritime Modern Quilt Guild Retreat taking place in Truro, Nova Scotia. It is a full weekend retreat, but I am only staying the one night as I have some family plans to follow in Moncton. There will be 26 participants at the retreat, with 19 of us participating in filling swag bags for our fellow quilters.  Needless to say, I played around with lots of fabrics in the last few weeks but I'm much too secretive to show my goodies until after the retreat.

I have three quilt projects to go with me, all cut and ready to sew, sew, sew. I know I am bringing way too much, but I sure don't want to run out of things to do!  On Saturday afternoon, we will have a Power Hour of sewing blocks for the 2016 charity quilts which are being made for the IWK Children's Hospital in Halifax, NS. The guild has a goal to make twin-sized quilts for teenagers. We are using a very basic pattern, the Square in a Square, with a finished block size of 9". I have been pulling my brightest and boldest fabrics from my stash and have a pretty good start.

Always lots happening in my sewing room. Hope you are having fun in yours. It's a great day for quilting!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Houses,Scraps, Stars, and More

The weather has finally started to warm up a little, but I still think it's a great day to stay inside and play in my sewing room. I am all over the place with my projects. My sewing room is a spare bedroom and the bed has quickly become covered with piles of projects. It may look messy to the non-quilter's eye, but to me, each pile is like a new toy, a treasure to play with. 

One pile is of blue and white houses under construction. I sent 25 of my favorite blue fabrics from my stash  to my friend, Kaaren, of The Painted Quilt,  Kaaren generously donated her time, efforts, and her fusibles to cut my houses out with her Accuquilt Go! die. The houses arrived home safely and I have been pressing them into place on the background fabrics. The blanket stitch embroidery will wait for another play day. Here are about half of them. The blocks will finish at 10" square.

I went online to get some inspiration for my house quilt and decided to use a single Irish chain block as the alternate block. I put together just a few to see what it would look like.

I love scrappy quilts, so will vary the cream backgrounds and the Irish chain blues. This quilt may take me quite awhile to finish, especially since I put away this pile of blocks yesterday and picked up another!  

In mid-April, I will be attending the 1st ever retreat of the Maritime Modern Quilt Guild, being held in Truro, NS. I am so excited to be able to play with fabrics alongside these gals!  I have three projects cut and ready to take with me. One project resulted in some left over 2.5" squares that were fairly bright. I started off by sewing a bunch into nine-patches.

Then I added a few more blocks to make a 14" block with 7 rows.  I had seen a quilt awhile back on Rita's  Red Pepper Quilts blog called the Irish Chain Scrap Buster and used it for my inspiration. The quilt has two blocks, a scrappy Block 1:

and a scrappy Block 2 with a structured centre using whites, greys, and blacks.

Now you'll have to use your imagination to see beyond these two blocks...

as that is all I finished and then it was off to another pile of projects.

The biggest pile is the bunch of 6" finished stars I'm making in Darlene's A Needle Pulling Thread Quilt Shop's 52 Week Star Challenge which started in the first week of January. I am so inspired by Darlene's blocks and her "stick-to-it-ness!" I am using reproduction prints following the guidelines that Barbara Brackman posted last year in her Stars in a Time Warp quiltalong. I just finished block 13 so here are a few of the latest stars from the pile. The first block was made using foulards, small prints on the diagonal, the second using indigo blues, and the third using printed plaids. 

I have several more piles including my 6.5" blocks for the Splendid Sampler free Quiltalong. Twice a week, instructions for the blocks are posted, with some bonus blocks thrown in for good measure. I am not making them all, just picking and choosing the ones I want. At the end of the year, I will sure have a lot of 6.5" blocks to play with! There is a great Facebook page where you can see everyone's creations HERE. 

My last block, in hardly any way, resembles Block 11 of the Splendid Sampler. They have a wonderful block that was designed with lots of embroidery resembling a crocheted doily but I'm choosing to use only pieced blocks and couldn't resist playing with this schooner fabric. 

So you have seen just a tad of what's going on in my sewing room. Today, I may leave it all and sandwich a quilt!  Fun to do whatever I want. It's a great day for quilting!