Thursday, November 20, 2014

It's Been A While...

I was out West visiting my darling grandson, my daughter and my family and friends all last week.  While I was gone, I took the opportunity to take my Bernina in for her checkup and service.  Finally sat down last night and checked her out; she purred along much like Bella, who was so happy to have me back sewing in the her basement!  I had started Snowflake 6 of Joanne's Snowalong before I left.  I finished it last night.

Version 1 of Snowflake 6
This is yet another background colour, a Christmas-themed batik.  Love it.  Sorry about the dark area at the bottom...didn't see that when I took the picture. 

Brianne and Brady loved their snowflake cushions.  Brianne thought they looked great together on her black leather couch, but Brady said, nope, it was going in his room, with his Christmas quilt.

He LOVES quilts.  He slowly went through the first quarter of my American Patchwork & Quilting magazine that I'd taken with me, studying the pictures and making comments.  He really liked a particular Halloween quilt in that issue (I'm behind in my reading) and has asked me to make it for him!  All right then.  What Brady wants, Nana will do!

Brianne got a little bit of Christmas in her room as well:

This is All People Quilt's Roll It Up! pillowcase pattern, free on their website.  I've made it many times.  This fabric is from O'Susannah's Quilts and Gifts in Watkins Glen.  Hey!  I see they are having a viewing of the first episode of Season 5's Downton Abbey a month early!!  Can.  Not.  Wait.  for it to start, but I will have to wait until January 4.  Don't you just love this modern Christmas fabric?

I also made Brady a new pair of warm flannel pajama bottoms:

And I made my mum a warm short scarf to be worn under her winter coat, so her neck and chest will be extra-warm this winter.

I've made two using this pattern where you knit 2 together and then put your wool forward and knit 1.  It gives it the diagonal look and drape.  The yarn is from Joann's, a 70% acrylic, 30% wool (I thought it had some wool in it, Mum!) which is made in Turkey.  It is lovely and warm!  I know I will be wearing my scarf I made last year when I walk Rocco today.  We have had 4 days of gale-force winds, about 2" of snow and temperatures down in the 20s, brrr.  We are all Florida dreaming... 

This was Monday, Nov. 17. Some melted, more fell, so it looks about the same today

Rocco will be in his hoodie, that's for sure.
It says "Don't Bully My Breed" on his back.  Keeps his bare belly warm!

Naala is the only one who isn't bothered by the cold.  Thank goodness that we are on the west end of Lake Erie, so the Lake Effect Snow means that we got 2" whereas Buffalo got...well, a TON.  Yowzers.

Not too happy about wearing my hoodie, but I'll put up with it if it means I get a WALK!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas....

...inside my house, and I love it!  This is another of Joanne's Snowalong snowflakes, Version 1 of Snowflake 4, which I've turned into a cushion cover.
Nestled amongst the Nootka Cypress branches, so Christmasy!
Snuggled up together on our loveseat:

The quilt sandwich.  I quilted it with multi-coloured Sulky Sliver (like a ribbon) Metallic in the borders and a regular silver-coloured metallic on the snowflake.  (Note: those aren't typos: sliver as in flat, ribbon-style thread, and silver, as in colour!)

The silver reads a little dark in the pictures on the snowflake, but in person, it's quite sparkly!
The back shows the quilting a little better:

The holly leaves and berries is another design from Kathy Sandbach's Show Me How to Machine Quilt, a book I've referred to time and time again over the years.

I knew right away where I was going to take the outside picture, but I hadn't realized just how perfect a match Jude's Burning Bush (Euonymus alatus) would be!! 

We have one too, but hers is more spectacular.  Some of them around town are taller than I am, and 10 feet or more in circumference.  With the gale on the weekend, most of the big ones are pretty bare.

Wish the golds in the Maple(?) Oak(?) in the background showed up better

The back:

I finally watched the entire Sharon Schamber binding video Judy of Quilt Paradigm raves about.  It's worth every minute.  I watched, well, mostly listened, as I finished hand-stitching the binding down this morning.  I was clearly taught well:  I do just about everything just as she does, except for glue-basting and stitch (I use an appliqué stitch as opposed to Sharon's ladder stitch, but I'm going to try that on my next binding).

An in-the-shade shot so the colours aren't as washed out as in the sun:

I opted for the red inner frame.  I had tried Christmas green at first, but it didn't 'speak' to me, and, although the white looked great for a pop, it was almost too much of a pop...and moreover, this pillow is going to a little boy who ADORES red...  A little boy who loved Jude's inukshuk:

Heading back downstairs to sew up a couple of other items I'll be taking with me on my trip out West next week! Linking up with Lee of Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesdays.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Snowflake Project

I had hoped to have two pillows for this post, but, ya, life jumped into my day.... AGAIN!

So this is Snowflake #4, version 4, of Joanne's Snowalong on her blog, Canuck Quilter.  I took the block and made it into a non-traditional colourway, yet still festive, cushion.

I first added a 1/2" finished white frame around the 9 1/2" block.  Then I added a 2 1/2" pink frame to make a 15" square.  Next, I made a quilt sandwich, layering a square of muslin with a square of batting, and topping it with the block.  The muslin will be on the inside of the cushion, so it won't show.  I quilted it using Sulky Holoshimmer I LOVE them.  Seriously.  I didn't realize how much I missed them, as I haven't tried them on the Avanté yet.  My Bernina loves them too, as long as I back off the top tension, and feed the spool à la toilet paper roll style, over my stand-alone thread holder and guide which I usually use for cones of thread, and from there into the machine.

I zipped outside last night to get some fast-fading light on it to show off some of the glitz.  I did all of the quilting with my walking foot except for the 4 corner snowflakes, which I FMQ-ed.  The snowflake is a design I love, and which I've used before, from Kathy Sandbach's first book.

Tried stuffing one edge between the bricks to hold it on the wall for more light...sort of...  I used an iridescent and a hot pink Holoshimmer.  Did I mention how much I love that thread?  Well, Sulky, period.  Not getting anything for saying that.  It's just a fact:  I love their threads.

Close-up of the corner FMQ snowflakes in sparkly hot pink thread:

For the pillow back, I cut two rectangles, 10.5" X 15".  I finished one 15" edge on each rectangle with a 1/2" seam.

Then I placed one of the now 10X15" rectangles wrong sides together, on top of the front quilt sandwich piece.

Add the second, still wrong side of pillow back to wrong side of quilt sandwich.  The seamed edges will overlap by about 5".

From this point, I pinned, and then stitched 1/4" around all 4 sides.  For the binding, I cut a piece of pink batik 2 1/4" wide that would go around the quilt pillow sandwich.  Machine-stitched it down from the front, turned it to the back of the pillow and hand-stitched it down.

I slipped in a 14" cushion form and voilà!  Christmas gift ready to be given!  I've written on the muslin inside the cushion cover, but I can't show that or I'll ruin a surprise...

Note that the elephant ears plants are not so happy anymore, after that 28-degree night and cold north gale-force winds on the weekend.  Here's one last outdoor shot close-up.  I'm really happy with this gift!

 Linking up with Anything Goes Mondays, guest host today is Helen of Till We Quilt Again!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Snowflake #4

I am late to the party this week, but better late than never!  Life has been full.  Just not of sewing.

I made two versions of snowflake #4.  The first is version 4.

I like the white triangles dancing around the centre star.  I also like the lacy doily effect the skinny rectangle makes betweent the star and the triangles.

Pink?!  Yup, another unusual background.  I have ideas for what these will grow up into.  I'd hoped to show you a finished project...

Here is snowflake #4 but done in version 1.  Can you believe it's the exact same pattern?!  I LOVE that.

I tried a busier background as opposed to a monochromatic one, and I do like the effect!  That snowflake floats on the background, doesn't it?

I am getting quite the collection...

Yesterday on one of my visits to another blogger's entry into the Bloggers' Quilt Festival (voting started today, so hop on over there and check them all out; there's some stunning quilts; I love thinking about all the sewing machines whirring across the world each day creating such beauty to live on past the creators) where was I?  Oh yes, I saw that another quilter has a cat supervisor/cheerleader/boss/approver-of-all-components-of-constructing-a-quilt/expert!  Clearly, as I've alluded to before, there is a superb system of cat memos that circulate beyond our mere humans' comprehension.  My jaw dropped when I saw some of the EXACT same poses and actions that her cat does in her sewing room.  And didn't Bella comply within a couple of hours, reminding me of her most-significant input into every single quilt and every single aspect of its construction:

This CRACKS me up.  Think she loves the extra crackle of that freezer paper!
 She didn't grab for anything, not once, just gazed at the pieces emerging out the back of the machine!

The one below was 10 days ago.  She would have happily perched there for some time, had I not shooed her off after the picture was taken.  I know I took one of her in the condo last winter, doing the exact same thing...

If you're wondering about the quilt in the background, it was a pattern I bought many years ago and made about 3 years ago in memory of and tribute to, the very best (cover Bella's ears) cat who has been in my life, my darling Raffi, who lived to be 17.5 years old.  She was pure black, even to her eyebrows and whiskers.  Can you see her wings?

Linking up with Snowalong for week 5!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Bloggers' Quilt Festival Entry #2

Well, jeez Louise, I do have another entry for the festival.

It's Watercolour Steps, and I'm entering her into the Scrappy Category in Amy's Fall Edition of the festival.  You can read more about the quilt here.

Took this picture this morning so it's an outside full shot, not in the sun, but sorry, no "hu-mon", as my friend Jude says, to do the honours of holding it up, so I had to make do with what I had, which was the outside clock Joe and Jude designed and Joe made.

Interesting how when you revisit a quilt, you see new things.  My first entry for the Fall festival has a "first" in it:  the first use of a straight-edge blue ruler, the same that Angela Walters uses (I saw it in one of her Craftsy classes, asked her what it was and she told me, such a cool feature on Craftsy to be able to ask your instructor questions, AND get them answered pretty quickly).  So I bought one, as I couldn't figure out how I would ever get good enough to stitch straight lines on my longarm!  This one gave me lots of practice.

This lap quilt also has a "first":  my first experience pattern-testing for another blogger-friend.  I really enjoyed the experience!

It is Star Steps, by Joanne of Canuck Quilter.  This pattern, and several other designs of hers, are available in her Craftsy store.  She designed a baby quilt, so when I tested the pattern, I thought I'd get my Laura Boehnke on (American Patchwork & Quilting readers get that) and give it a different feel.  So I went with adult feel (no surprise there) but kept the gradations of colour idea, and took them to florals, wondering if I really did have a variety of florals that would read one particular colour...and I did! Here you can see a pink row, a green row and a purple row.

Straight lines in the pale rails, double line in one, single in the alternate ones

Front, back, binding, and border fabric all visible

Hard to tell, but I did a loopy flower in the floral areas, and feathers in the borders

The back:
I did a Dot to Dot Angela Walters-style in the star

So this, my friends, is why quilters NEED a large and accommodating stash!  That's my theory and I'm sticking to it.

Hop on over to the festivities at Amy's Creative Side and check out, as they say, all the eye candy.  Love these shows where you can "chill" in your pjs, cup of java in hand, and study quilts to your heart's content.

Speaking of hopping, look who hopped onto our front porch yesterday:
By my husband's foot, size 10!
Papa Praying Mantis.  I did not know they changed it a Fall thing?  Or a camouflage thing?  Or a different species?  The others I've seen were all brilliant green.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Bloggers' Quilt Festival - Fall Entry #1

I might have two.  I nearly had none, but Judy of Quilt Paradigm reminded me of this fresh breath of summer quilt I made (summer lost now!) and I thought, well, why not.  Just as I say when I teach yoga, "Thank you for coming; without you there would be no class,"  without quilts entered, there would be no festival.

Besides, I didn't get my snowflake done yesterday for Joanne's linky in her Snowalong, so I have to post something as it's been a few days--!

So here is my first entry, Summer Breeze.

You can read about the quilt here and here.

It's Angela Walters' fabric, mainly from her Textures line with a couple from Legacy.  The white is Kona in snow.  The pattern is Off Track by Cluck Cluck Sew.

I used several of her quilting motifs and principles from her book as well as her Craftsy classes.  This was the first quilt where I used my blue ruler to quilt straight lines, and it was a learning experience.  Had a little accident, but all is good.

I did swirls in all the solid white areas.

It crinkled up wonderfully.  I love how the seams just disappeared once it was quilted.

It's a great lap quilt!  I'm entering it into the Modern Quilts Category.  Hop on over to Amy's Fall Bloggers' Quilt Festival for some amazing inspiration and to vote for your favourite one!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Watercolour Steps - A Friday Finish!

I finally can link up to TGIFF with this finish!  Lots of pics, minimal words (I think).  Sorry it's only out this afternoon, but I had A) menopausal melon issues, meaning I forgot to write the post last night, only remembered when I got into bed, and B) had computer issues, downloading iTunes to the iPad while plugged into the laptop to import the photos somehow made everything freeze, and had to go play pickleball, then do yoga...okay minimal words! You get the picture.  You WANT the pictures.. Here they are:

This one might make you a bit seasick; tried to get a funky angle...only thing funky is what it's doing to my stomach... but don't you love our mum?

This is Star Steps, a pattern by Joanne of Canuck Quilter, that I tested for her.  It was my first experience, and I thoroughly enjoyed both challenging myself to create something with a different feel than the original pattern, as well as carefully checking each step of the pattern.  Sidenote:  Joanne had one error, yep, one:  a typo.  After years and years of marking (aka grading) English papers, proofreading and editing and correcting French stories, paragraphs and tests, etc, this was a dream.  And look at my reward!

Crinkly yumminess...

Bella had to get her two furs' worth onto the quilt as it finished drying by being laid out flat.  The first time I wash my quilts, I put them in the dryer for 10-15 minutes and then finish drying them flat when they're damp so I can block them nice and square.  After that first wash, I just lay them out flat to dry.

Contortionist extraordinaire...

Here are a few more inside shots from yesterday:
Freshly bound

I did different straight line quilting in the pale zigzags: double in one, single in the other

I machined-stitched the binding down onto the back, faster, but I prefer the handstitched look.
This morning I took a few outside shots.  Interesting to note the difference between sunlight and shade, and, for that matter, inside fluorescent lighting, on the quilt with respect to colour.

Against the Russian sage, and the Paniculata Hydrangea trees
The back:
The 6-foot rule applies because of my tension issues...
I used up some leftovers here and pieced in another leftover tulip fabric piece as I didn't have quite enough of the floral.
Okay 3-foot rule

This shows the detail I did in the starburst, as well as gives an idea of the feathers
I sort of did Angela Walters' dot to dot method of quilting in the starburst to give it more angles and general burstiness.  I had fun with the feathers in the border too, well, fun if you don't count all the tension and thread issues.  Angela has a video on paisley feathers, which I tried, and loved, and she and others are adding little curlicues here and there, which I also did, loving it.  I LOVE quilting feathers.

Front shot of feathers, kind of showing the navy and dark purple YLI thread.  Love it.  Have to figure out what bobbin thread it will like... not prewound The Bottom Line
Folded up - the colours look great in this shot do they not?
Too bad I don't know how to, or if I can, rotate this to a diamond shape on the page... Again, the colours are richer in the shade, no?

Hanging at the door is my little witch hat quilt I made many moons ago.

Linking up with Izzy of Dizzy Quilts, who is hosting TGIFF this week.