Wednesday, December 18, 2013


My last post on this blog was almost three months ago!  As everyone can appreciate life kind of got away with me.  My husband and my mother contrived to send me off to Peru to partake in a two week whirlwind of adventure and absolute awesomeness.  
Machu Picchu Ruins
So without an entire paragraph of bragging, it was two of the best weeks of my life.

Also I have been working tirelessly trying to complete a massive attic renovation.  
This was the attic before the renovation when we first bought our house.  This attic spoke to my husband and I, we just knew we could turn it into something special for the kids.  We have been working on it for the past 6 months.  If you ever feel like reading about the never ending, built from nothing, drywall madness, renovation of my life feel free to head over to my other blog Renovation 800
Now back to business!  It is so hard being separated from my sewing studio.  I have been having some pretty serious withdrawals.  But that is over now and I'm back to the pure joy and creativity of coming up with bad names to call my machine or whatever project I'm working on.  

I ADORE the modern zig zag quilts I see plastered all around the net, they have just been calling my name lately, so I decided to give it a go.  

 I cut 10 inch squares of three different blues.  Then cut a matching number of 10 inch squares of white fabric.  Match a blue to a white and sewed along all four edges.
Mmmmm, beer and clam in the background.  *caution alcohol and accurate cutting do not always go hand in hand. 

 Next step was to take my ruler and cut corner to corner.  I'm not a huge stickler for super accurate piecing but I knew that it was going to be pretty obvious if I messed up with the points in the zig zag quilt, but still I decided not to square these blocks (smack self in head, probably was the beers fault).

It actually turned out pretty dang good.
 As you can see I added some bright yellow blocks to make the quilt more artistic and give it some pop (I actually ran out of blue blocks to make it the size I wanted).

One of the reasons I wanted to make this quilt was because I really wanted to try my hand at some 'modern quilting'.  So taking cues from some of the biggest and brightest names in modern quilting I have been doing nothing but quilting in my spare moments trying to get 'that' look.  I think its coming along nicely.

This is a project that is in the works on the projector right now...

This holiday season I made a whole bunch of these fun character touques.  But I forgot to take photos of them all.  So here are a couple I remembered.

Whew, boy I sure hope I keep up with this blog this winter.  That was a lot to get out.  I apologize for the quick and dirty post but I just had to get all that out.  I'm linking up with the wonderful Needle and Thread Network, a great place to check out some seriously talented fiber artists from Canada.  Please stay safe this holiday season and don't drink and drive. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Summer Is Gone?

Woe, woe, woe.... Where did summer go!?!  Seriously I'm pretty sure I missed that memo.  But since it's gone I suppose it's time to get back into the groove.  I wasn't expecting summer to take over my quilting life (because we all become an amazing artist/crazy person when we are in our studios, and it feels like an alter ego to me sometimes).  But it did.  Most of my time has been spent on the ridiculously overwhelming renovations we have been doing in our house (Renovation 800 Blog).  Yet as per any committed (hardcore) quilter I have carved my self out some time this summer and here is what I did (that lead up may prove to be a little anit-climatic):

 I've been working on drafting a Joesph's Coat pattern.  I searched and searched the web for a tutorial on this pattern but I only found one.  It's an old pattern but darn I've had quite a bit of trouble with this quilt.

I decided the best way to go about it was to make my own templates and do some practice blocks... Well, that was a good idea.
The bits and pieces

The abomination

 Well as you can imagine it was quite a disappointment.  I found a great forum where I was able to get some advice on the the assembly, but to be honest I've taken a step back for a bit.

My new toy is a projector my husband found in the basement at work.  He traded a guy a case of beer for it.

Here is a photo of my girls and a part of an upcoming project... cool eh!  Last but certainly not least I finally made myself one of those thread catcher deallys. 

Well a fairly uneventful summer in my studio.  But perhaps if I ever finish the drywall in the house I'm bound to get sewing again.  I'm going to link up with the lovely people over at the Needle and Thread Network.  I have been quietly reading all the posts over the summer, I absolutely love the work these people do.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Twisted Circles

Original Plan for Twisted Circles
Well it's been weeks since my last post and busy as I have been I have still been quilting.  Summer is such a busy busy time for life. Today is the last day of school (yeah no more early morning lunch making! [bet that comment will come back to bite me]).  Looming in the all to present future is the beginning of massive home renovations.  I could go into it \but I'd really rather pretend it isn't happening for the next 20 odd minutes it takes me to type this out).  

In the rather large part of my mind that is devoted to quilting thoughts (24/7) I have been trying to define my quilting style... I used to think I liked small quilts but I realize now I don't, I just couldn't get one to be the right size at the time.  I don't really like dense quilting because I like quilts to be snugly.  At the same time I'm not a huge fan of traditional quilts (although I do have serious respect for that piecing!).  I'm not a fan of the super artistic quilts either... I just find it all a bit messy.  I know we shouldn't try and define ourselves or back ourselves into a stereotypical art corner, but... I was bored of dishes.  I think this quilt defines my 'style' pretty well.  It's complicated, clean, big, modern (negative space), and complementary bright (to my eye :).  I don't know what that's called but it's a big enough corner for me.

The quilt pictured is a commissioned quilt my cousin asked me to make for his girlfriend.  He told me to make it pink and awesome.  I changed my mind a million times but finally decided to complicate my original plan by adding the curved going up and down.  Also I couldn't do the whole quilt in pink, it needed some umph, so I fell back on good ol' lime green.   

I decided to keep the quilting simple and do echoing circles around the circles. I'll post photos of the completed project when I find some time to finish the binding.  It was hard keeping the circles circular and evenly spaced, but I'm happy with how it turned out. 

I moved!  Well I moved some of my stuff into the studio!!! If you haven't been following along with my battle through renovations (or from the ground up to be more accurate) than you can check it out at the renovation blog Renovation 800, but to sum it up... it was hard but here we are. 

It's messy and incomplete but we MUST move on to other things. 

On a side note I have been crocheting a bit too and seeing some progress in my skills (mostly pattern reading hahaha).  This little unicorn has a video tutorial by the mind behind Yarn Yard.  You can find the video HERE.  There is also a link to the written pattern Here.

I'll be gone again for a while so expect no new posts from me.  I'm going home to BC for a couple weeks to visit the family.  

I'm linking up the the needle and thread network where all the cool kids hang out.

Thursday, May 30, 2013


Well I've been sewing in the living room of our 800 square foot home for the past 8 months.  I've been hauling my 'stash' (such as it is) around in boxes/bags and working out of them for the past year and a half.  Every thing is a mess! Everyone is tired of the constant hum of the my sewing machine, one room is a little tight for all 4 of us to be doing a different activity (thank goodness winter is over).  So my children informed me that it was time for them to sew, since it was raining anyway and I was being too loud for them to do anything else in the house (fair enough).  This excited me at first until they didn't get bored and my sewing area has been looking like this for the past 3 days.

Hahaha, look at the petal on the box!
The kids are having a ball and making some progress on their quilts.  The plan was just to make a quick little quilt for their special toys but it has snowballed into a full out quilt project.  I'm planning on teaching some youth classes once my studio is finally finished (Renovation Blog), so the kids are being my little tester monkeys (arn't they always).
Payton's block (6 years old) 9" square
Jordan's block (7 years old) 9" square

Anyhow I'll keep the updates coming and see what we end up with here.  They are both bound and determined to free motion the quilts when the time comes... I don't know if I'm ready for the frustration of this particular challenge.

With kids, renovations, damn bloody annoying personalty filled cats, and husband aside.  I have been making progress on my own projects.  I have been drafting (with help from my best friend Andi) and constructing a couple of patterns.  I'm not ready to reveal anything yet but I'm pretty proud of the free motion quilting I did on this one.  The pattern if from Angela Walters book "Free-Motion Quilting"  I really enjoyed the designs and instructions outlined in the book.  It has inspired me to try some different ideas and more open concept designs.

Back of quilt
Front of quilt

As I mentioned in the beginning of this post and seems to be a running theme throughout my blog, I'm cramped!  It's so frustrating trying to work on projects in this area.  I have recently taken up crochet because I can't actually work on my planned projects because they are just too big (literally, the fabric I want to use is bigger than the living room).  Sometimes I wish I had taken up crochet as a primary art.  It is so small and cheap compared to quilting.  Obviously it's too late for me because I'm way to far gone with my love of quilting to turn back now, but boy o' boy I'll think that one through in the next life.  My string art is most definitely something that isn't coming easy for me.  I mean it's like learning a different language in short form before you even know the language!  Geeze it took forever for me to work it all out!  I suppose it should have been easier but I don't even have a cell phone never mind text or understand any of the short hand.  Hmmmm, as I type this it's becoming more and more apparent that I'm making excuses...  Anyhow I think I have a handle on it now.

Well that is all with the fiber art stuff.  On a side note the garden I decided not to plant this year because I'm way to busy just got some peas, parsley and beans added to it.  *smack self in head*

I'm linking up to the Needle and Thread Network.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Finished Product

I've been so crazy busy with dry-walling and painting my studio.  I highly recommend checking out my progress on the studio (that's quilting related right?).  Renovation 800: The Colour of Insanity.

But otherwise I have finally finished this Zodiac Star quilt for my special little niece who I have yet to meet.  She has pretty blue eyes and I think this quilt will suit her just right.

Anyone who caught previous posts would perhaps remember the ins and outs of the construction process I used so I'll keep my description simple.

I cut out the parallelograms using my Go Baby, and built the star around the center blocks (because I wanted to have a single block of fabric to work with).  It ended up being a fairly simple process which you can find a tutorial for HERE.  I'm planning to use a bunch of trapunto in an upcoming project so I decided to test the process on this quilt.  I used Leah Day's trapunto tutorial and proceeded to quilt tiny little pebbles (also a test run).  My pebbling after 12 9x9 blocks around fairly complicated motifs is much improved.

After all that pebbling I just couldn't bring myself to continue quilting so densely on this baby quilt.  Plus if I didn't finish soon the baby was sure to be a toddler!  So I did some stitching in the ditch and left it at that.  I have been feeling bombarded with projects (mostly construction related) and decided to give machine sewing a binding a try for the first time... ugh!  Big mistake.  I thought I had done enough research, maybe I just rushed it I'm not sure but it sure didn't turn out the way I was hoping (although I'm thinking this is just another learning curve).  Thankfully I'm sure little Daylia won't mind in the least.

The back of the quilt is pretty cool, although my photography skills could obviously use a little work, hahaha.  I seriously didn't even notice my shadow until I was typing this post. 

Things I learned making this quilt:
1. Use spray starch on the 'Y' seams.
2. Use bigger and better batting for trapunto.
3. Stitch pebbles in a larger scale.
4. Do not bother to stitch pebbles or any other complicated design on a patterned fabric, you never see it! 
5. I need more practice at machine binding.  Or a better technique.  Or maybe just more practice. 

 I'm linking up with the most talented Canadian fiber artists, over at The Needle and Thread Network.  I have found time to read all the blogs and adventures (or misadventures) in fiber art.  I just haven't been able to comment.

Monday, April 15, 2013

For Your 80th. Birthday

I'm just going to jump right into it otherwise I'm libel to get a little wordy over this project.  Pictured here are blocks taken from a quilt that was given to my Great Grandmother on her 80th birthday.  My aunt removed the blocks from the quilt and sent them to me so I could put them back together in a new way for my Granny's 80th birthday.  The problem was apparent to me right away, when I remembered that my Granny's birthday was a mere 4 weeks away.  Now before I continue on I would like to mention that the time constraint and ensuing stress were essentially all my own creation.  

So I picked out some fabric and sashed the blocks as was originally requested.  I had decided that the shape of the blocks really lent themselves best to a bed runner than anything, plus who really needs a quilt like this?  Then I was struck with an epiphany so brilliant I blinded myself to the complexity and absolute sheer ridiculousness of tackling a project of this magnitude.  So admidst massive renovation projects, two kids and all their activities, and the endless calls of a busy life, I decide to make these...

So what?  Big deal it's not excessively complicated... That is if I were only making 18 identical blocks, but nooooo.  I chose to make 18 completely different blocks, 9 inches square with the same overall theme.  18 blocks for all my Granny's special people.  I was lucky enough to have acquired a book called 501 Rotary-Cut Quilt Blocks by Judy Hopkins.  This book made the whole thing possible giving different measurements for every usual block size.  To save on your having to read an essay on the difficulty I had with this project lets just say that every block I created was both a huge accomplishment and a crushing defeat as I still had 'x' amount to go.  In the end I did finish all the blocks.  

Just because I know someone is going to want to know what these blocks are called here are the names of the blocks the book gave me. Right to left.

Top row: Fireflies, An Original Design, The Chinese Block Quilt, Hovering Hawks, Sunshine, Summer Winds

Middle row: Grandmother's Favorite, Indian, Indian Plumes, Jacks Delight, Double X #4, Duck and Ducklings

Bottom row: Fox Paws, The Wedding Ring, Carol's Scrap Time Quilt, Cat's Cradle, Kansas Troubles, Winged Square

The names of all my aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephew were written using a printout of their names, a light box, and a permanent fabric pen.

So I'm not gonna lie, I love it!  I'm not really sure how big a bed runner should be but this one ended up being approximately 22" x 82".  The points are not perfect but damn near.

Can you recall the original blocks I was supposed to use?  Well I couldn't very well put that ugly (Orange? What was I thinking!) thing on the back of my new creation.  So the ONLY option obviously (roll eyes) was to tear apart the the old bits again (which are getting quite worn I might add).  I decided to only use the blocks pertaining directly to my Granny and send the rest off to her sister (my great aunt, only fair really).  So now I have six of these blocks to work into the overall design... ding ding ding! Corduroy and horses of course!  I cut the corduroy the right size used turned edge applique for the cream blocks (I'm down to 3 days at this point with quilting/binding/shipping still to go).  Just because I have no time left and I love to push the envelope I also added some pretty cool applique horses to the back.

I quilted the runner with a stipple (originally I was going to use cross hatching but I decided there was enough squares here so a stipple wouldn't come amiss).  Well that's all I'm going to type about this project.  Note to self, corduroy sucks to quilt.

The runner arrived on time (barely), and Granny's 80th was celebrated with a great salmon dinner by my aunt, family, friends, and surprise guests.
Granny and Granddad's Block
Wow it all seams so simple explaining it to you but honestly I antagonized endlessly over every decision.  I'm proud of what I did and I'm happy I gave it my all into the creation for my Granny and Granddad who have taught me more than I even know.