Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The QAYG Guild Bag: Tutorial

Our guild participated in the Madrona Road Challenge.

The rules were we could add more of the same line or solids.  And we preferred that whatever it was be quilted.

I needed a bag to take all my guild stuff to and from meetings in so the idea of using Madrona Road for it made sense to me. To make sure I kept it within the "rules", I made it quilt-as-you-go-style, which actually lent a lot of support to the sides and bottom.  Works for me!  The pocket design was inspired by that fabulous herringbone print.

It's got two exterior pockets, an inside zippered pocket, a large notebook or tablet pocket, and a divided pocket for little things and pens. There's plenty of room for my binder, clipboard and various supplies.  It's been working really well so far and keeps my all my guild stuff in one place. Handy!

I didn't follow a pattern - just a sketch I did quickly before I started. I've posted a tutorial  for the bag on the Saskatoon Modern Quilt Guild page, if you'd like to check it out!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Up and Running (Stitch)

Well, I'm excited.

We have the website for the Saskatoon Modern Quilt Guild up and running, we have a Flickr group, internet buttons, a mailing list, real live members, and, let's face it, a lot of fun!

My lovely co-chair, Jaclyn of JaclynQuilts, (the Statler to my Waldorf, the macaroni to my cheese) and I are hoping to blog regularly to keep members and potential members informed about what we're up to and have some general quilty goodness, so from time to time, I'll be over there. We're also hoping to get our membership involved in blogging on the site as well.

Basically, we're official and that feels really good.

Like 'bite of cheesecake', good.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Visit Your LQS Day: Periwinkle Quilting

(I know.  Three posts in the same week - I'm as stunned as you are!  But today is important...) 

I can't go to my local quilt shop today.

So I went yesterday. :-)

It's no secret that I love it there. They know me by name and I get a chorus of "Hi, Carly"s when I walk in; it feels a little like my Cheers.

When Periwinkle Quilting opened, years ago, I was drawn like a moth to wool, or a quilter to cotton.  I hadn't even made many quilts in my life.  I didn't know yet that I was a quilter.  But I was driving down the street, saw the sign and made a bee-line for the store. (Moths, bees, I'm mixing my insect metaphors here...)  A shop just for quilting?  Here?  It was exactly what I never knew I'd always dreamed about...

Once through the doors, I was exposed to a whole new world.  It was the first time I'd seen non-traditional patterns, and fabrics specifically made for quilting.  And en masse, in beautiful colour-sorted sections and entire fabric lines designed to work together.  Overwhelmed? Indeed! But pleasantly so.  I think it's fair to say that without Periwinkle, I might not have discovered the wealth of the quilting community.  (Not to mention that it was Michelle at Periwinkle who started the ball rolling on the Saskatoon Modern Quilt Guild...!)

The staff is incredible there - always ready to help you pick a project or find the right fabric.  They love Show&Tell and have smiled through my many chatty ramblings as I meander.  Everyone is so friendly and it's fun to exchange tips and ideas; I consider the shop a place to recharge my creative batteries and my positive energy.

However, I don't think I've ever gotten out of there with less than a fat quarter...

Periwinkle Quilting
105-2105 8th Street
Saskatoon, SK
(306) 933-3072

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Wanted: A Clever Post Title

So if you think of one, let me know. :-)

The tree came down last weekend and my desk returned to its place in the corner, but along the other window this time, which has freed up some space.  I'm still in the process of getting organized but I'm getting there. Given that this new setup has led to long, uninterrupted stretches of sewing, I have taken full advantage.

My nephew's 2nd birthday was on the 5th and while I did give him a bunch of Hot Wheels, I hadn't finished the other half of his gift until this past Wednesday:  the bag to put them in.
See my oops? :-)

I found the paper-piecing patterns on Fandom In Stitches - totally free - and then I framed the results with a lovely little traffic print, lined it with the leftover solid from Seester's quilt and added two ribbons to act as drawstrings. It finished about 12x15".  He was thrilled. "Oh!  MAY-turr...!"  Happy boy, happy auntie.

The other advantages of gaining back the workspace is that I was able to cross off a goal by organizing my scraps.  I went from this... this...

...and finally this:
Ooooh, that's one fingerprint-y desktop...

Neat and tidy. Well... they're contained, anyway.  I would like to organize further but right now, they're sorted by size. Crumbs and short strips in the orange bin, everything else sorted in large ziplocs, etc, in the white laundry hamper.

The sort also allowed me to do something I swore I didn't have time for...

I drank the kool-aid.

For the record, I don't do instagram.  I wasn't exposed to this virus through instagram.

Nope, it was y'all.

Within a two week period, it seemed that almost every feed in my RSS reader was throwing Scrappy Trips at me.  I'm not generally a joiner in the "everyone's doing it" sense (I still haven't seen Titanic, and don't intend to) but they were so pretty! And EVERYWHERE.  It was a bombardment; I was hiding in my "I don't have time" bunker but being shelled within an inch of my quilting sanity.  I came out waving my white flag. Of scraps.  That was my one rule for myself:  I had to use only scraps for these blocks.  What will happen with the back and binding? Don't know.  But for now, I'm pleased (and sickeningly shocked) that I made 36 blocks without cutting into yardage.  That's a sizeable dent in the old scrap heap, eh?

And then there's my first ever bee block for the Simply Solids Bee.  Never done a bee before but it was on my quilting bucket list, so...  Lethargic Lass asked for asterisk blocks - and they were much more fun than I thought they'd be; the fabrics she sent were different than what I usually use, too, so that was very enjoyable!  I threw it in the mail last week so she should have it soon.

Believe it or not, I actually got MORE sewing than that done last week and I have the iron-steam burns to prove it. But why spend all my projects on one post...?  :-)

Have a stellar week!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Gifts, the Second

Aha!  A week has fled by and completely unbeknownst to me.

Well, almost.  I am, please hold your disbelief for a moment, yet again recovering from a cold. Say what??  Yes, that's three nasty colds in as many months.  Yes, I'm taking my vitamins, eating right, and getting enough sleep.  Yes, I'm aunt to a toddler who is building an immune system and a substitute teacher who gets the majority of her assignments covering for teachers who have been stricken by illness in various classrooms all over the city. I figure, by the end of 2013, I'll be immune to everything! Mwahaha! [Rubs hands together.] [With Purell.]

Anyways, I have stopped coughing intensely (sorry to the Saskatoon Modern Quilt Guild ladies who endured the very onset of my coughing during our meeting this weekend.... Yikes!) and can return to blogging without fear that a bronchial spasm will cause premature publication.

Here is second half of the gifts I made this Christmas.

A scarf for my dad using this pattern from The Purl Bee.  I splurged for the specified yarn and was very glad I did so - it's soft, knit beautifully! and is as warm as it looks.  It even held up to six different starts without separating into raggedly plies on me.  (The pattern isn't at all difficult but it took me a while to a) cast-on the correct number of stitches and b) read properly. Once I managed to do both those things at the same time, it was quick and smooth sailing.)  One thing to mention is that because the yarn is naturally hand-dyed, it turned my hands all sorts of black.  Luckily, it washed off easily but I made sure to soak the finished scarf in a vinegar bath before blocking to try and set the colour.  Dad has been warned not to wear it with a white shirt for the foreseeable future.  Luckily, he wears a lot of dark colours.

Mum requested a bag for taking on vacation. She wanted something that would hold a little bit of shopping and could double as a beach-taking bag - something that wouldn't show too much dirt.  She also was pretty specific about the pattern, too,  so I used Amy Butler's Birdie Sling.  I followed the instructions to the letter and took my time with it so I'm very happy with how it turned out.  However, I think I'm now addicted to the good-quality interfacing.  Yep, can't go back to the 99cent/yard crappy non-woven fusibles now...  Stupid Amy Butler, raising my expectations of everyday sewing notions! (Ok, I'm not really mad, but it does change my sewing budget.)

And since a certain auntie gave a certain nephew a train set, she also felt he should have a bag to put all his train pieces in.  I found a paper-piecing pattern on Etsy and then built the panels into a box bag using some fabric from my stash.  It was a last-minute project, but took the better part of a day since I had to take a simple idea and tweak it until it was no longer simple...  It's not the best sewing job but it has the choo-choos required and, perspective, the recipient is 2.  He's happy, I'm happy.

So that's the rest of my Christmas makes.  I have been doing some other sewing but that will come later.  I've rambled enough for one post!

Although..... if I squeak in one more ramble, I am overjoyed that the NHL lockout is finally over.  :D Seriously, I've been watching KHL highlights from Russia.  Still trying to decide how petulant a fan I'll be and for how long.  Mostly, I'm just scared that my beloved Leafs will trade for Luongo. If you've talked to me at all about hockey, then you already know that's my hockey nightmare....

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Shadow Blossoms and The Punisher

Happy New Year!  I hope you had a fantastic end to 2012 and are already having a spectacular 2013.  I am already tripping over my feet trying to keep up and I'm hoping that will have disappeared by February.  :-)  One of my goals for the year (subject for another post) is to get a little more organized with my time and start editing in various areas of my life.  I've already started with my bedroom closet; the great weeding of 2013 has begun!

I can FINALLY show you some of the things I made as gifts for Christmas. It'll take me a couple of posts but I'll start today with the big ones.  The photos are not stellar - due to a lack of quilt holder-uppers before the day and lack of sunlight and reasonable temperatures after, it's been difficult to get a good shot.  Indoors on a cloudy day.  Blergh!

Shadow Blossoms
I have already mentioned here that Seester requested a bed quilt to go in the bedroom she painstakingly redecorated this summer.  As I had already been planning to make her one for Christmas, I confessed my intentions, we discussed colours and fabrics, a loose idea of a design, and away I went.  Once fabric was purchased (mostly Bonnie&Camille Vintage and Ruby), I okayed it all with her but that's the last she saw of it until Christmas morning.

The quilting is a mix of meandering for the main and giant pebbles in the border.  I had started out with intentions of doing much more complicated free-motion work but was stymied by both my lack of FMQ skill and the sheer size of it.  It'll fit her queen-sized bed with plenty of pillow-tuck and drape space. Big quilt. HUGE!  (Did anyone else think Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman just now? Anyone? No?)

Alas, this was the best shot I could get of the back.

I'm happy with the way the design worked out - it's my own, right from scratch, and I'm working on a pattern for it.  I do wish the fabrics we'd agreed on had more contrast in value so that it looks more like shadows from stained glass but she loves it so I don't really care.  

She also got a set of matching pillow cases.  I used this tutorial. Very easy, French seams and all.

The Punisher
The gift I was most excited for this year is this one. If I didn't make him a quilt, he'd be the only member of my immediate family that didn't have one.  However, looking at him and his interests, "quilt" is not generally a word that would make the short list of gift ideas. My brother-in-law is a giant(!) and a giant fan of the comic book vigilante, The Punisher.  This skull is his symbol.  Inspired by Dan Rouse's (Piece and Press) totally amazing work, I decided to do it in reverse appliqué. Not wanting it to be boringly solid, I decided to piece random backgrounds (another post) so that the quilt would have a visual texture to it. I had no idea if it would actually work but I gathered up my fabrics, crossed my fingers and started cutting like a hairdresser with no concept of consequences...

The skull is quilted in random jagged lines - very sharp and pointy - while the black is meanders.  I also added a few black "cracks" in the skull.  It turned out exactly like I envisioned even though there were moments in the piecing of the backgrounds that I had serious doubts.  The blacks didn't seem black enough, the whites were going to be too beige, it was all going to be a huge mess...  But it wasn't!  Put black fabric next to white fabric and all is right again. And cutting away the appliqué left all these marvellous raggedy edges after washing.

He was completely excited when he opened it.  He stood to spread it out and get a better look, and referring to the super-impressionable and parrot-like toddler at his feet, said, "You have NO IDEA how much I wish I could swear right now!"  Ah, there's nothing like censored curse words of appreciation...! :-)

The back was pieced using leftovers from the top.  It's just over six feet high and five wide, not quite big enough to fit on a bed. On purpose.  Seester thanked me for that.  :-)  It will go in his man-cave and their newly finished basement for movie watching.

So that's round one!  Thanks for reading this rather long post with very sad excuses for photography. :-)  I'm off to get working on those goals... Did I mention I joined a bee?