Thursday, April 10, 2014

March craftiness

I've been so busy coordinating content for the VMQG blog, I've been once again neglecting my personal blog. There might also be some guilt (and therefore blog posting procrastination) around not making a lot of progress on my Library Project selections. Heh.

I seriously think I might have a case of crafter's ADD, because ... oooh, shiny new thing/book/cool idea on instagram/blog post/guild challenge.

The VMQG has started doing book reviews, which I'm organizing.  We've gotten some really fabulous books from both Martingale and Stash, and we have about a dozen guild members on the review team.

I'm reviewing this really cute book called Kitchen Stitches, which is a curated collection of patterns for things like placemats, table runners, tea cozies, pot holders, and more.   My review will be posted to the VMQG blog in the next few weeks, but first I want to finish off a project set from the book.  I completely fell in love with the "Circle Blooms" tea cozy and placemat set designed by Amy Struckmeyer.  She blogs at form*work.

The set uses a reverse applique method, which is something I've never done before and, if I'm honest, the thought of any applique at all makes me nervous.  The tea cozy was too perfect not to attempt, though, and the instructions were so fabulous that it not only came out perfectly, but was completely stress free!  I made mine out of some very fine black corduroy, and I put an extra layer of batting in to help keep my morning tea hot. I also added about an inch of width so it would accommodate my pot.

Amy's tea cozy from Kitchen Stitches

My version

I still need to finish up the matching placemats and then the review of the book will be posted here and on the VMQG blog.

The VMQG also had a chance to participate in the Riley Blake Basics fabric challenge.  Each member of our guild received a fat-eighth of 6 lovely Riley Blake fabrics, with the instructions to make a quilted item.  Usually I'm pretty good about working on challenges far in advance of the completion deadline, but this one... I started 2 days before it was due.

I'd been wanting to try a wonky log-cabin technique using a shape other than a square or rectangle, and this seemed like a perfect group of fabrics to use for that.  I added in some matching solids I had in my stash and quickly stitched up a 22" block.  

You can never have too many cushions on your couch, so after the block was done, I made a quilt sandwich and then pondered how to quilt it.

"I know," I thought.  "Seeing as this is due at the guild meeting the day after tomorrow, I'll quilt this thing in the most time-consuming method possible! A complicated pattern of nesting lines 1/4" apart!" Great idea, brain.  Once I'd visualized this quilting idea, there was no way for me to quilt it any other way.  A couple late nights followed.

Tah Dah!
It did get done, though. In time for the meeting too.

Looks great on my couch and R told me a bunch of times how much she likes it.
Ok this blog post is getting epically long, which I guess is what happens when you don't update for a month.  

Quick wrap up on 2 more finishes.  My very sweet Aunt and Uncle did something amazing for me this past month that really helped out in a tight situation.  As did my mom, and she's already been thanked profusely and there may be a surprise for her in the future as well. :)

I stitched up this cutie-pie "home sweet home" cross stitch for them and mailed it off.  Here's a link to andwabisabi's etsy page for the pattern, if any of you are interested. My Aunt and Uncle loved it and have it sitting right on their coffee table. 

My friends (and former Paper Moon band-mates) had a beautiful baby girl named Sadie a couple weeks ago.  New baby = baby quilt, right?

This was made from a Riley Blake layer cake I skived off my mom (she offered!) some left over Kona Snow jelly roll strips and a bit of fabric from my stash.  The pattern is from the Moda Bake shop and is from Cynthia Lammon of Hyacinth Quilt Design.

Lastly, my girl has definitely inherited the crafting gene from me and her grandma.  She asked for and got her very own sewing machine this past Christmas (A Janome MyStyle), which she is thrilled with. She had a quilting lesson from grandma a few weeks ago during spring break.

R has a small bedroom with a tall ceiling, so she has one of those nifty loft beds where you can put a desk underneath.  She had a small desk under there that was really only big enough for her laptop. BUT! We were at Ikea this past weekend and they had the shelf and desk attachments for her bed on sale for $20.  $20!  Done and done.  She now has a lovely huge workspace and is thrilled that she has a place where she can leave her sewing machine permanently set up.  Just like mom, she says. <3

Until next time, which hopefully won't be a month from now.  *shiftyeyes*


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y Night!

Had a bit of free time this weekend so mom and I scooted quickly down to Joanne's in Bellingham.  I have decided that "Basket Case" (the Boo Davis skull quilt) will be done with a PLAID background.  I know.  Genius.

I looked at the homespun and the colours all seemed really muted so I wandered over to the plaid shirting and found an amazing selection of really fabulous plaid flannel shirting.  My selections are below; I picked lots of brightly coloured plaids because, hey, go big or go home, right?

Plaid-y goodness.

I also got some grey herringbone that will be the backing and the binding, also slightly flannel-ish.  This quilt is going to be so snuggly.

As we're in line to get fabric cut, my mom turns to me and says, "It's going to look like the Bay City Rollers."  And then I remembered how much my young teenage self loved that Scottish power-pop band.  Look at this album cover!  It's a quilt!

It's a quilt adorned with cute 70s boys with fashion mullets!
I have a couple other things to get to first before I start Basket Case but I'm really excited to make it.

Don't leave until you watch this video!


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

I can't get "Basket Case" out of my mind.

I'm totally working on "Fast Forward".  Really.  See?

And I'm loving it and can't wait for it to be done and on my bed.

But I keep thinking about "Basket Case" and trying to figure out what colour I'm going to make the background.  The hot pink/red on the original in Boo's book is pretty fabulous but I'm SO not a pink person.  But then again... maybe I should embrace it?

I've found some pretty awesome finishes of this quilt on Flickr too.

A red one by Ann Read.

A purple one by Whitney Taylor.  Radiant Orchid is the Pantone colour of the year for 2014. Food for thought.

Of course I LOVE this blue one by Viv... but it would be a safe choice for me.

Black and grey by sami.sees.quilts -- awesome and suitably gothic.

Totally open to suggestions....


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Library Party QAL choices

Oh boy.  I know I'm a day late posting my Library Project QAL choices but blahblahsinglemomblahblahworkblahblahchoresblah.  Anyhow.  The kidlet is at her 3 hour theatre class this morning learning how to become a cast member on Glee 2021 and so I finally have some moments to post my choices for this year long quilt along!

1.  "Fast Forward" by Jaybird Quilts

Embarrassingly, I've had this pattern and special ruler for well over 2 years, as well as fabric to make it with. I purchased the pattern and ruler on a long ago trip to LA and it's been sitting in my to-do pile forever.  Sigh. This will absolutely be the first one I make.  I've actually started cutting already so I hope to have this one done soon!

(The orange background in all these photos is my crazy coffee table!)

2.  "So What" from Brave New Quilts by Kathreen Ricketson

This book.  This book is full of amazingness.  I could honestly make just about anything in here; everything is unique and edgy and wonderful.  I was originally thinking about taking on the totally punk looking "Break the Rules" but I'm trying to be realistic about what I can ACTUALLY get done in the next year.

So my choice is going to be the more bite-sized "So What".  I think I can even take a few nibbles out of my stash to complete this one!

3.  "Across the Quad" by Jennifer Mathis in Modern Quilts from the Blogging Universe

My mom (also a quilter) got me this book for Christmas and I love a lot of the quilts in it as well.

I've also made an agreement with myself to use up some of the pre-cuts I seem to hoard and never use.  So my choice is this charm-square friendly pattern, combined with the 2 charm packs of Oh Deer that I've had laying around for about 8 months.  I'm not sure what the background colour is going to be yet.  This looks relatively simple so hopefully it will be a fast finish.

4. "Flying Rainbow" by Amanda Sasikirana in Pillow Pop

Also a Christmas present from my mom, this book is FULL of super cute pillows.

I'm going to make this fun flying geese pillow, although I don't think I'll be making it with a white background. That's just a baaaaaad idea with an 8 year old in the house.

5.  "Basket Case" from Date to Be Square by Boo Davis

This is a book I have actually made things from. I've already made Hootenanny (the cover quilt), as well as the Bright Lights, Patchwork City pillow and the I'm A Weiner! baby quilt.  I LOVE Boo's designs.  I popped down to Seattle about a year ago to see some of her quilts on display -- I met her and she's just a lovely person.  At the time she was working on some more of her trademark skull designs as well as a Grim Reaper quilt that I BEGGED her to sell as a PDF pattern from her website.  It was the coolest.

Yep, so skull-y goodness is on the to-do list.  My mom will hate this one.  :P

Wish me luck! This is a LOT of quilts for me to get done in 12 months!


Monday, December 30, 2013

I'm Joining the Library Project Quilt Along!

Hands up who got new quilting books for Christmas?  Me me me!

My amazing mom gave me these two fabulous looking books.

Both of them are filled with totally amazing projects from people in the Modern Quilt blogging world, like HappyZombie, QuiltDad, FreshlyPieced, CluckCluckSew, SpottedStones, BettyCrockerAss, OneShabbyChick and sooooo many more.  

I also bought myself a book before Christmas....

I'm completely in LOVE with the quilts in this book.  IN LOVE.  

But I'm also guilty of buying quilt books and then almost never making anything out of them.  So I've decided to take the plunge and join the Library Project Quilt Along started by Adrienne over at Chezzetcook Modern Quilts.  

The challenge is to go through your library of quilt books, pick at least 4 projects, and make them over the next year.  There will be a monthly linky party on the 3rd Friday of every month on Adrienne's blog.

I'm not a very prolific quilter -- 4 projects is going to be a challenge for me!

Will you join me?


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Cross Stitch ... my new crafting love.

Oh cross-stitch.  Where have you been all my life?  It's my new obsession.  It completely feeds into my A-type personality and mathy-brain needs.  I've done so much stitching over the past year and I still have a number of projects either partially finished or planned for the future.

After seeing Holly show off a finished cross stitch at a VMQG meeting, I rushed out and bought a pattern from weelittlestitches -- The Big Bang Theory cast.  I stitched up Penny first and it was the most gratifying thing.   All the counting! Precision! Nerdy-ness!

The start of it all... Big Bang Theory cast by weelittlestitches
The BBT one was given to a friend.  Next I did Buffy.  Because I love Buffy.  And I wanted to make one for me. Look at that wee little Spike! And Xander's eye-patch! Even Buffy has Mr. Pointy in her hand.  I'm still pondering taking this out of the frame and captioning it "She saved the world. A lot."
Buffy The Vampire Slayer
One of my other favourite TV fandoms is Firefly.  As in "I can quote the dialog" kind of fandom.  This particular pattern I found for free online from a fellow Vancouverite Browncoat who blogs under the name cthulhucrochet.  It was a lot more challenging than the weelittlestitches patterns because it involved half-stitches as well as a ton of outline backstitch.  I adore how it turned out, especially the "Big Damn Heroes" text at the bottom.  

Little weeble versions of Firefly.  Jayne's hat just kills me.
For Riley's birthday last year, I combined 3 different weelittlestitches patterns to make this huge one of Harry Potter and Friends.  From left to right we have: Mad Eye Moody, Tonks, Lupin, Sirius, Hagrid, Hermione, Harry, Ron, Dumbledore, Ginny, Fred, George, Luna and Neville.

Harry Potter and friends -- weelittlestitches
Also from weelittlestitches, I did up the cast of Star Trek:TNG.  This one went to a friend but I'm definitely going to remake this one for myself as well.

Star Trek: TNG cast done for a friend.  

I also have experimented with plastic canvas ... I used some and did up this little 16 bit Yoshi (based on an image I googled).  Then I stuck an adhesive magnet to the band and wee Yoshi now lives on my fridge.

Yoshi fridge magnet.
Another free pattern, this one from Dorkstitch... this one is the 2 "standard issue nerds!" from British comedy The IT Crowd.  This also went to a friend who is a huge fan of the show.
Roy and Moss and the famous catch phrase from the IT Crowd.

The other great thing about cross-stitch? Compared to quilting, it's an EXTREMELY affordable hobby.  The embroidery floss and Aida cloth are both really affordable.  That and the speed at which I can make things results in this being a perfect craft for gift making!


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Lily Ashbury

Holy crap, everyone.  Could it be another blog post?

One thing that happened this year that I'm really excited about is some new work I've taken on.  For the past 6 months, I've been sewing samples, writing and editing patterns, and even doing a little design work for Lily Ashbury!  Lily Ashbury is the name of a Moda fabric line designed by the amazing Stephanie Carter, who works right here in Vancouver.  You can read the Lily Ashbury blog and find yourself some cool tutorials and projects.

I'm beyond thrilled to be her helper, and one of the perks of this job is getting to see the new fabric lines waaaaaaay before they hit the stores.  The most recent collection, called High Street, was released in May of this year.  The next one is called Folk Lore and I completely adore it; it's partially inspired by Mexican folk art prints.  I cannot wait to get started on projects.

With the High Street line, Stephanie asked me to write/edit the patterns and sew up samples for a sweet ruffle-pocket apron, a travel sewing kit, and an appliqué quilt.

Me modelling the Chelsea Apron in very terrible lighting.
The High Street quilt sample, nearly done (unbound).
Printed patterns! Exciting!
Patterns, Travel Sewing Kit sample, High Street Quilt sample,
 and fabrics on display at the Cloth Shop on Granville Island.
Stephanie and I also worked on some block designs for submission to a 100 quilt blocks magazine.  I don't think we've heard yet which block(s?) have been selected for publication but the three below are what we came up with.

The first two blocks are pieced, and the third is appliqué.  I must admit, I haven't done a ton of appliqué in the past but I think I'm managing it well.  The pieced blocks have an interesting secondary pattern when put together into a quilt top.

Coming soon will be a pattern for the Bon Voyage Cosmetics Tote. I pretty much designed this from the ground up -- with a number of samples made and a lot of feedback and tweaking from Stephanie, of course. The pattern has been submitted to Moda and I believe the final pattern sample will be made of the yet-unreleased Folk Lore line.  The image below shows the final prototype; it includes a pouch pocket on the exterior, a zip pocket on one side of the inside, and a set of 5 expandable pockets on the other side of the inside.  These expandable pockets are perfectly sized to hold your travel-sized bottles of shampoo, conditioner, bodywash, cream, etc.  There is plenty of additional interior space to hold other necessary toiletries or even a small zippy pouch full of makeup.

I wish I could give you a sneak peek of the Folk Lore line -- the colours and designs are so fabulous.  Perhaps soon!