27 Feb 2013

Spring Update...

I know I'm really pushing Spring lately, but I can't help it.  I am trying to be optimistic!

The weather was horrible yesterday.  And the wind was horrendous, blowing the snow off the fields and making a mess of the roads.  Then came the sleet.  And then, when the kids were sent to bed, and it was my turn at the computer.... I was making great progress on some catch up.... When the power went out.

Amazingly, the school was not closed today and I had no misgivings this morning as I drove them down the lane to meet the bus!

Sew here's the update....


This is the quilt my friend Linda made for Victoria's Quilts.  She is not a free motion quilter and her long arm companion has some health issues right now, so she asked if I could help her out.


I am not much of a free motion quilter myself, but she can play the organ at our church without getting nervous, whereas, I am a wreck.  So, was looking for help in deciding on a design for this manly quilt.  Did not want to do flowers or loopy, curvy things for this.  Karin kindly offered a suggestion in the comments from my last post.  She thought zippling, by +Leah Day, would be perfect for these large square blocks.


 I thought zippling would be perfect too!  Unfortunately, I did not have what it takes to zipple at a moments notice, sew I went with Leah's Cave Points instead.  Still sharp and masculine, but sew much easier to accomplish in the tight squeeze offered by my little Janome, and with my limited free motion skills.  Not sure if skills is the right word... But ineptness sounds a bit show-off-ish.


Ahhh... Now I am back to some spring colours, spring flowers, light and bright!  No more pressure!


And spring must be coming soon, because there was finally enough light coming through my little window, to provide an unusual event to occur!  A photo with accurate colours and it is hardly even blurry at all!

How is your Wednesday coming along?  Following +Marelize Ries' lead and am linking up with WIP Wednesdays@Freshly Pieced
Looking forward to continuing the quilting this afternoon... Bee right back!

25 Feb 2013

Spring is just around the corner!

Won't be long now... The flowers have bloomed!  But there still seems to Bee something missing???


The big finish will have to wait... I've been sidetracked, but gladly!

First thing after the kids got on the bus for school this morning, I dutifully did the dishes.
Then I made it to the fabric sale - feeling all guilt free!

Following the purchase of some new, luscious fabric.... I went to see my friend Linda at her workplace.
She has been a volunteer quilter for Victoria's Quilts for some time now and introduced me to helping make quilts for them too.

Linda gave me some more white tone on tone so I can finish my first quilt top, as I posted before.
And she asked if I could quilt this one for her, shown below....


Linda did a super job with the design and construction of this quilt.  It's a manly one!  I love the ducks on the flannel backing!



I already quilted around the sashing, but now am thinking - What to do for in the large squares?  Any ideas for an easy free-motion design that would suit this wonderful quilt?  Sure would appreciate any suggestions!

Liebster Award fun!





I had heard about this award... 

Seen it posted on many of the blogs I have visited... 

Wondered what it would feel like to be nominated for the Liebster Award... 

Wondered what Liebster meant!

And now, I have the answer to all these questions, and sew many more!
I did some research...


Why me?  This award is presented to smaller blogs as a form of recognition and support.  "Smaller blog" is defined as a blog that was started within the past 6 months and/or has fewer than 200 followers.
What is Liebster?  Liebster means "dearest" or "favourite" in German.

How do I feel to be nominated?  It's been a transitional feeling.... At first I was surprised.  Then honoured.  Then intimidated with the great responsibility!  But now I feel excited to participate in this fun filled event!

Apparently, there are many versions of what is expected as a recipient of this award, but I am glad to be a part of this version because it involves sew much more fun stuff to do!


You are not obligated to participate, but if you choose to accept this mission, here are your objectives:

  • Let the person that nominated you know you are willing to participate by commenting on their blog
  • Create a blog post, in which, you thank them for the nomination and link back to their blog
  • In your blog post, also include 11 random facts about yourself
  • Answer the 11 questions posed to you
  • Present the award to 11 other small blogs, posing 11 new questions for them to answer
  • And post the award on your blog (I found 4 sample Liebster Awards online and included them in this post so you would have a choice of which style you like best!)
To begin with...
I want to send out a GREAT BIG 'Thank You!' to +Elita Sharpe of Busy Needle Quilting, for nominating me for this award.  I humbly accept and will thoroughly carry out the responsibility this honour entails!

11 random pieces of me:
1- Am a self confessed fabric junkie
2- Have my motorcycle license but haven’t ridden since becoming a mama
3- Used to listen to the Steve Miller Band... now I listen to the Glen Miller Band
4- Am a Christian, of the Lutheran faith, and am a Sunday school teacher
5- Am trying to grow old gracefully... but I tend to be more grateful than graceful
6- Have lived on both the east and the west coasts of Canada and many places all over Ontario
7- Used to really enjoy researching family and church history before I got hooked on quilting
8- Hate beer – Love coffee
9- Jack Russell terriers are my favourite dogs
10- Thumb my nose at the ‘Quilt Police’
11- Have not been able to use purple in any of my quilting projects to date

These are my answers to Elita’s questions (with pictures where appropriate):

   What would we be surprised to find in your closet? Jeans that still fit me.  Since reaching age 40 six years ago, I seem to have gained some of my pregnancy weight back.  Sew I love to wear pajamas and t-shirts around the house!  I think it’s appropriate to wear sleepwear while creating quilts... Kind of go together rather nicely, don’t they?

 
     Do you have a favourite beverage while quilting?
I love my coffee, but rarely drink it while quilting.  I like my coffee hot, sew it ends up getting to cold when I am getting busy with Janome.


    What is the one item you would never part with? (quilty or otherwise)  My sanity!  I am holding onto that last meager scrap until the end!


   Do you have a favourite brand of thread?
G├╝termann seams to be my thread of choice.... Mostly because, when it comes to quality thread that is readily available to me here, there is no other choice. 

  Do you have a morning and/or evening routine?
I like to get up about an hour before the kids do to catching up on email and read the new blog posts made by my favorite bloggers.  This is when I get a good coffee fix in.  Once the kids have retired for the evening, I have to quit quilting.  My daughter’s room is next to the quilting hallway, sew I come back out to do some more cyber surfing.  Or fall asleep watching Duck Dynasty...

 

    What is your best quilty memory?
Designing my first quilt, Krazy Katz, for my daughter, Erin.  This project set me on the quilting journey that is now my life and that fills my dreams.
What is your favourite music to listen to while quilting? 
I don’t listen to the radio.  But I do like to listen to the soundtrack for movies that are playing on the Turner Classic Movie channel on the t.v. in the living room.




 


    What is your next project going to be?
A full size quilt... That’s all I have in mind sew far.  I have been making baby quilts lately and am itching to design a large project again.





    What is the farthest you have ever travelled for a quilting event?
Not far enough.  I don’t even know if this counts, but we have a small local fair that the kids and I have been attending and participating in since their first years of attending school.  I entered a few quilted items this past fall and did really well.... But then again, I got first for my Krazy Katz when there were only three entries!  It would be a dream to go on a get-away quilting event somewhere .... Anywhere!





    Are you a hands-on or lecture-style learner?
Hands-on... Mostly hands-on-line.  I have learned a lot from searching through Google.  Thank you to all the online quilters out there who have shared their tutorials, pictures, experiences, joys and frustrations!



  If you could do anything, have any occupation, what would it be? (Note: pictures not appropriate)
Hey, I already did everything else!  I love what I'm doing right now.  Quilting!



Now, these are the questions to be answered (with pics please!) by those listed below...


1 What/who inspired you to start quilting?
2 If you were able to change one thing about your quilting area, what would it be?
3 What are your favourite quilting books/magazines?
4 If you could time travel, where would you like to go?
5 What comes to mind when you think of the term ‘Quilt Police’?
6 Do you listen to music, watch t.v., daydream or think only of the task at hand while quilting?
7 Which colour do you use the most in your quilts and which colour do you rarely or never use?
8 Where in the world are you?  Where have you been?
9 If you could give up any one household chore, what would you choose?
10 If you could no longer buy fabric online or at any fabric shops ever again, what would you do?
11 How old were you when you first used a needle and thread, either by hand or machine?


The following is a list of those who I would like to recognize.  I cheated and chose 13!  I enjoy reading the latest posts from these wonderful bloggers while I'm having my morning coffee.  Their blogs are a mix of fun, interesting, informative, touching, inspiring posts.  I hope you'll want to join them, as we all live out our quilt-filled, online lives together!

Kelly @ Where's My Seam Ripper?

A very pretty lady @ Quilt Link

Marj @ Eclectic Quilter

Liz @ Liz’s Love Things

Mallorie @ Everyday Quilter

Barbara @ wont-to-be-quilter

Mel (a contributor) @ Sugar Bowl Crafts

Sally @ Salamanda’s Paper Aventure

Elaine and Les @ We Quilt

Sherry @ Quilts, Fabric, Thread Tales

Lani @ Simply Fresh Vintage



Ashley @ Wasn’t Quilt in a Day

Marelize @ Stitch by Stitch
http://marelize-ries.blogspot.ca/

23 Feb 2013

Spring is in the Air...

Life on the farm: Saturday morning.  First thing - even before coffee - got a request for help from my hubby.  Can I come outside and help?

We have a humble operation, with only 50 acres and tractors and equipment that are older than I am.  Now, you can call the tractor an antique, but I prefer to be referred to as a classic!  So, the loader tractor with the bucket and bale prong on front is our summer tractor.  And it is not summer right now.  This requires the big tractor to be used to tow the loader tractor, using a big logging chain, to get the summer tractor going.  Most of the time we end up going all the way down our driveway and halfway down the mile and a quarter before the loader will sputter and smoke, signalling it's awakening, but it was milder out today and it started within 5 feet.  Things appeared to be going our way!

Not so....  The husband gets a large square bale of straw loaded onto the bale prong... and then sits and spins in the icy, sloppy snow trying to back it up and bring it in to the barn.  Get out the logging chain again and pull him free.  No problem.

But he needs to back into the cattle yard to put the straw bale into the barn, so he tries repeatedly to turn the tractor around... Sets the bale down and takes a run at it... spears it again with the prong and lifts while in motion.... Prong goes up through bale and breaks the strings holding the bale together.  Straw bale explodes all over the driveway.  And sew does the husband...

I take this as my cue to go for that coffee I missed.  Husband comes back to the house, rants, raves and goes on about having had enough (again) and we go back out.  Forked all the straw over the gate and then re-forked it into the barn.  Cows happy.  Husband apologizes.  Me happy.

Now to do it all again with a large round bale of hay for the feeder...  This part went much more smoothly and did not require towing, forking or freaking out.


Thankfully, I did make some small progress on the Spring Time baby quilt after all the fun outside. I made a final decision on the flowers - what colours, shape, applique method - to use.  These decisions were harder to make than I expected.  But I am satisfied and have three of thirteen blooming!

Meanwhile, I was also busy finishing up a few details on patterns and now have them for sale in my Craftsy pattern store.  And I even sold one today!  Yeah!  Thanks Barbara!

Will get pictures up here by Monday, hopefully, of the completely completed quilt top in full bloom.
There is, however, a 40% off sale at our local Spinrite Factory Outlet.  This is really a yarn outlet, but they do have a small corner crammed with fabric and it is enough to keep my stash mostly satisfied.  Of course I will have to wait until after that shopping trip to work on the quilt.  Fabric shopping always seems be the number one priority over most other things... Including the dishes - which are staring me down right now.  I'm ignoring them - as usual.  I promise I will get them done... tomorrow.

What takes priority when you are working on a quilt?  Housework first or after a finish?  Using up your stash or shopping for more?

22 Feb 2013

Progress on Spring Themed baby quilt

The seeds have sprouted!  Spreading green across the spring coloured background....


 Front and back views... I love this pressing seams open!  Sorry the back view is sew fuzzy.... Again.

What colour do you think the flowers will be?

21 Feb 2013

Spring time baby quilt

Well, all the snow days the kids have had off school must be really getting to me.... Because I designed another baby quilt and this one has a spring theme and spring colours!

After working on writing up a pattern for the Krazy Katz quilt, I just about got a headache from all that thinking.  It's not easy to explain how to do something without actually talking to someone or being able to show them, like it would be face to face.

So I was happy (and relieved!) to be able to sit down with Janome and some graph paper and do a little doodling.  And then to get out some happy coloured fabric...  That's one thing I love about those see through plastic totes I have lined up on the shelves above my desk!  They were calling me....

Soon after deciding on a plan, I was lining up some 3.5" squares and seeing what looked good to me.


I asked my daughter, Erin what she thought of this layout.  She told me I should remove the bottom rows and the one on the right.  She obviously thought this layout looked unbalanced.  And she was looking for symmetry.

I may be a bit unbalanced, because I can see that although this layout is not symmetrical, it does have balance.  It's just offset.

Before beginning the assembly, there were a few minor changes made... and I planted some seeds.  Can you picture the flowers that are ready to spring up?  Can you see the dappled sunlight?  More to come!

20 Feb 2013

Krazy Katz Pattern finished!

There has been some interest in my Krazy Katz quilt and this has prompted me to take the a bigger plunge in the pattern making!  I dug out my old notes and drawings, worked really hard, kept busy at the computer in spite of ANOTHER snow day with no school for the kids.... ( honestly, this is getting ridiculous! Not that my son, Russell minds...)

But I finished tonight and uploaded the Krazy Katz to my Craftsy store.  And, you know, I am even considering making this one again!  I just love it.  I wonder what it would look like with natural coloured cats?  Or rainbow coloured books???

What colours do you think would look good?


18 Feb 2013

Monday? Already!!!

Well, I see that it is once again time for +Marelize Ries's Linky Party at her Stitch by Stitch blog.  Wow!  That was a fast week!

As of my last post on Tuesday, I have worked on the quilt for Victoria Quilts, but I need some more white to finish.  Sew I have put that off to the side for now.

In that post, I mentioned that I had entered the four applique blocks that I made for the Soft Kitty baby quilt to my new Pattern Store on Craftsy.



 


Since then, I have since also added all the blocks that I made for the Puppy Love baby quilt.   And I have sold my first one!!!   This little guy's goin' down under!
Sew happy about that... it's got me all encouraged to make another pattern...  









For the last four days, I have been working on making a quilt pattern for my first quilt, Krazy Katz.


This pattern is a lot more in depth than a single block, and the applique pieces are so large, but I am plugging away at it and have it almost completed!

And I haven't even been neglecting my chores.... Kept the counter clean and did my dishes regularly. (Not my strong suit), did the laundry, fed everyone, and slept a bit this past week too!  Life is good!

12 Feb 2013

It's official! I am now a Independent Designer...

I spent the whole day today working on adding my Soft Kitty applique blocks into pattern form, converting them to PDF, and uploading them to my new Pattern Store on Craftsy.

Sew... I did not get one stitch in today!  But it is the first day in what seems like a long while since the kids have made it to school.  And therefore, the first chance I have had to spend time uninterrupted on the computer.

If you have a moment, pop on over to my shop and check it out!  I would love to get some feedback....

11 Feb 2013

Sew Fresh Quilt - Soft Kitty baby girl quilt finished!

Not another day off school!!!!!!  Yes... It happened again.  I am so missing my Mondays at home alone with Janome.  But, on the bright side, I did have some help getting the dishes done.  Again.  And, although I did not get much time on the computer, I did get to finish the last details on the Soft Kitty quilt.

Here is a progress picture.  Trying to see what layout looked best.  The one kitten looks as though he is trying to hang on, so as not to fall off the desk!



I am so delighted with how this finished quilt looks.  I love the colours!  And am so glad that I made all the kittens in brown and white.  They really stand out against the pink background.



I used the same binding and method that was used on the Puppy Love quilt.


I am always disappointed in my pictures though.  Ireally need to get a decent camera and some kind of lighting set up.  My daughter is getting tired of me 'borrowing' her ipod... I am tired of it too!  I'll have to find a spot to put a large piece of Styrofoam...  It certainly won't fit anywhere in my quilting hallway!


I free motion quilted around each of the cats and the butterfly.  And did a groovy flower inside each of the medium sized blocks.  The backing is flannel and has all these crazy colourful cats!


Sew now that this quilt is done.... I started working on the Victoria's quilt this afternoon.  Designed something to suit the fabric I was supplied with...  Let you know when it's done!

10 Feb 2013

Free Quilt Pattern

Today after church, I was approached by a member of my congregation who is also a quilter.  She noticed my Sew Fresh Quilts page on facebook, was wondering if I would be interested in doing some volunteer quilting for Victoria's Quilts.  Of course I told her I would love to, and since she had brought some bags of fabric along, I am now looking forward to this being my next project.


I've been making great progress on the Soft Kitty baby girl quilt and am almost finished the quilting.  Should be able to get some pictures up here tomorrow!

It was on January 20th that I started a Sew Fresh Quilts facebook page.  And am pleased to have gotten some interest from other quilters.  Yesterday I posted a message offering a free pattern. I am looking for a few volunteers to try one of the two patterns that I have written up, and then to give me some feedback.

Honestly, I have never bought a quilt pattern.  I have seen a few patterns in magazines and books that I have borrowed from the local library.  But I don't know what is normally included in a pattern.  I wonder if most of them only provide the instructions for making the top.  Or if people would love to have more information than that.  I've heard of the dreaded "Quilt as Desired" and thought maybe most quilt pattern purchasers would prefer to have the instructions to complete the quilt right from start to finish.  Maybe with some different options.

So I am offering the first ten people who are interested in a free pattern to leave a comment at the end of this blog post.  I can then reply to your comment by emailing you back with the pattern in PDF form, being an attachment.  All I ask is that you at least read the pattern and instructions, and even if you don't end up making the quilt, email me back and let me know what you think.  Is there too much information in the pattern?  Is there a mistake or something missing?  Is there anything that is not explained properly?  And any other questions or comments will be greatly appreciated.

These are the two quilt patterns that I have available:

Enchantment pinwheel quilt which is in a twin size - 60" x 80"

Fall Leaves quilt which is couch size - 60" x 72"  but could easily be enlarged to twin.

So, if you are interested, please leave a comment, letting me know which pattern you would like to try, and I will get back to you promptly.  Happy quilting!

8 Feb 2013

Soft Kitty quilt blocks

Well, we have more snow!  And the kids are home again today...  And the dishes need done again, too...

But I am not letting any of that bother me.  Making progress on the baby girl - Soft Kitty - quilt.  Have the Kitty blocks done and am now in need of more Wonder Under, as I am down to one sandwich bag full of small scrappy bits!




After making the baby boy - Puppy Love quilt, I decided that I liked the look of all brown and white for the animals, so these cats have no black.  I did really love that little Scottie dog though!

I went through my fabric stash yesterday and made choices for the remaining blocks.  The Kitty blocks finish at 9".  The remaining blocks are 6" and 3", laid out in the same fashion as the Puppy Love quilt.  And I am planning on using the same binding and binding method.

Hope to get some progress made on assembling the top this afternoon.... As I contemplate the next baby quilt... A nature theme?

There is one other applique block not shown.  It is the object of the kitties' attention.  Can you guess what has their eye?

6 Feb 2013

Baby Boy - Puppy Love - Completed quilt

I am sew pleased with the finished Puppy Love quilt!


































This project was my first for a few things. One is that it is the first quilt I have ever made using this batting - a combination poly/cotton.  It is fluffier than cotton, but nicer to work with than polyester.  And it's cuddly!


Another first was that I used a flannel backing. And I love it. It's so soft!


The third first for me was using this great tutorial for adding a binding with flange.  It is completely sewn by machine.  And is the first one I have tried that I was thoroughly pleased with in the end.  This method does leave a seam on the back, but I used the same white thread in the bobbin that I used to quilt and piece the whole quilt.

Here is a close up of the quilting.  This was also the first quilt I have made by pressing the seams open.  And I am certainly glad I tried it.  I had no trouble getting the seams to line up.  Pinning them was not so bad.  The open seams forced me out of my 'quilt in the ditch' comfort zone.  I've always admired the quilting by +Rita Hodge on her patchwork quilts.  The different block sizes in this design mean that my seams do not run all the way across the quilt and so this method of quilting also allowed me to turn around and come back out.  No tied off and hidden ends!


I asked my son, Russell, which puppy was his favorite.  He liked the brown one in the top right corner, but I love the little Scottie.


Another label by Spoonflower used.  I ladder stitched the top and left side by hand and sewed the right and bottom side on with the binding, which is applied first to the back and then wrapped to the front.  I like the way the wonky dog bones quilting is stitched right through the label!

I am so revved up about this little quilt.  And can't wait until tomorrow.... when I start choosing fabrics for a girl's version using this design... in a kitten theme.

And then maybe a forest friends one.  Or farm animals.  Because I'd also like to do a gender neutral quilt.  

This is exactly why I am glad to have found a method of machine binding that I am happy with.  I have all these ideas piling up and can't wait to get at the next one!

Do you think about your next quilting project before you even finish with the one you're on? 

4 Feb 2013

Baby Boy Quilt - Puppy Love - Top finished!

Just a real quick post today....  Finished assembling the top!  Me Sew happy!
The kids will be home soon, and I have flannel in the dryer in prep for tomorrow's quilt layering, basting and quilting to be done on this...

I apologize for the crappy picture... I have to figure out a better way to get pics in the house to turn out decent....

3 Feb 2013

Baby Boy Quilt - Puppy Love - Progress

It is hard to get anything done on the weekends... But I managed!

Last week was a short week for the kids.  They had Monday off due to weather.  Thursday was a P.A. day, which they also had off.  And Friday was another day off due to inclement weather.  The hubby also had one of those days off because of the snow.  We live out in the country and these gravel roads are always the last to be ploughed.  The skies are still dumping snow on us now, but we'll see what tomorrow brings!

Meanwhile, I have kept up with the dishes and began the actually cutting and sewing for my latest project that I mentioned on January 31st - the Sew Fresh Quilt called Puppy Love.

Here are the puppy blocks and the object of their attention - a ball.  I scanned and cropped them.







The puppy blocks still need to be cut to 9" square and the ball block to 6".  And all the other blocks for the quilt - 6" and 3" blocks - have been cut and arranged and are ready to go for tomorrow!

Joined another linky party at Marcia's Crafty Sewing & Quilting blog.  I am linky party crazy lately.  This stuff is all new to me, but I like going to parties that you can attend without leaving the farm!

What are you (looking forward to) working on this week?  Check out Marelize's blog - Stitch by Stitch and join in her Anything Goes Quilt-n'-Sew linky party to share.  Hope to see you there!