Monday, 5 August 2019

Global Village

Recently I was commissioned to make a table runner similiar 
to the one above, which I made as a class sample.
I didn't want to sell the sample,
so I started making houses with fabrics that would be special to the buyers.

Here is the finished table runner. It measures about 18 by 40 inches

I used a variety of greens for the trees, and text and novelty fabrics for the houses.
Above are a rainbow house, a love house, and a prayer house.

And a music house, an African hut, a peace and writing house, and a rose house.

Here are the two of them side by side.
The bottom one is my class sample, and I regretted that it was wider than width of fabric,
which necessitated piecing the back.
So I made the new one a bit narrower, since 40 inches is plenty long for a table runner.

I love making wonky houses and trees,
and I plan to teach another class on this in fall.
Let me know if you are local and would be interested in signing up.

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

The fabric of our lives

For months my house has been taken over by bits and pieces of men's shirts.
My cousin died in March, and at his funeral, his wife asked us to make a quilt from his dress shirts.
Turns out she found 55 coloured shirts, so the project grew from one quilt to at least four.

I volunteered to take the blue shirts, as well as a few orange ones,
to make quilts for his two sons, one still a teenager, and the other in his early twenties.
This project grew even further when we realized how much fabric is really in an XL size shirt.
My mother made two quilts from the aqua and black shirts in that closet,
my aunt figured out how to make two from the grey and lilac shirts,
and my cousin made a quilt from the pink and grey shirts, and gave me her scraps.

So that got us up to seven quilts, enough to give to the extended family.

Here's a couple of shots of them laid out on a table.
I made the blue and orange one.

I still had lots of scraps, but I'm finding this project emotionally exhausting,
so I handed a pile of cut squares to my mom and she finished another top.
That's eight now.

A photo of the quilted in label in the two blue quilts I made.

Since Sunday, I've been sewing sleeve plackets and yokes with labels and shirt hems
into a string quilt. I'm about 10 long seams from being completed.

This last project seems even more personal, since I'm using bits and pieces from the inside yoke
or the shirt tails that are usually tucked in.

Yesterday I found myself thinking of losing my own loved ones,
and how hard it would be to lose my husband in mid-life
and I had to stop sewing.

There's no moral here,
except I think fabric from clothing carries more weight than yardage off the bolt.
These shirt parts have been speaking to me in a personal way.

We plan to take beauty shots of all of the quilts before we present them.
They are all very different, and all very beautiful.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

String Quilts up for Auction

I'm headed east to see two quilts I worked on be auctioned off for charity
My small guild puts together a group quilt every year,
and we sent off two recent ones to this sale in New Hamburg, Ontario, Canada.

We made this Bright Strings in 2015-16 
Check the link in the online catalogue for more details.

We mad the log cabin last year and the catalogue link is here.

This year the sale has introduced online bidding, 
so you can place your bid here.

All proceeds from quilt sales benefit the relief work of Mennonite Central Committee.

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Revisiting a UFO and teaching improv

Sometimes quilts weigh on my mind,
like this unfinished log cabin I started in Jan. 2017.

I had a vision of blue starbursts in my head,
but I'm not happy with the contrast.
I used two jelly rolls with some additional fabrics,
and now I'm rethinking the whole project.
I have 36 14 inch blocks, so I may go with the furrow layout on the top.
The biggest obstacle for me is quilting it, since I don't usually machine quilt such large quilts.
And I'm quite hesitant to pay someone else to quilt it when I don't really like the quilt at all.

Recently I taught improv quilting at a local quilt shop.
This was my first real teaching gig, 
but I've been making quilts with improv techniques for more than a decade.
I was inspired early on by books by the late great Gwen Marston,
and by online sewalongs with Tonya Ricicci, who doesn't hang out in blogland anymore.

The piece with the green border is an improv village on a table runner.
I used lots of scraps and the same background fabric.

I showed my students how to make trees and a variety of houses
and they all did great.

I showed them some of my improv house quilts too.
The one at the left is from 2009, and uses log cabins and wonky houses in a variety of sizes.
The made the one at the right last year for a new baby.

Monday, 18 March 2019

New name, less traffic?

Occasionally I check my blog statistics on the design toggle,
and I've been seeing high traffic for my pieced letter and curved piecing tutorials. 
Stupidly I thought it was because of the content,
but really it was because of the name, which I'm not going to repeat here,
but I will let you buy a vowel.
The title of the letter making tutorial was Str*p Pieced letters
Now it is Shortcut Pieced letters
to prevent spambots from searching it out and thinking this is
an adult-content site.
I also changed the Curved Str*p Piecing tutorial to Curved Piecing.
I imagine anyone clicking on the links  wasn't interested in quilting..

I notice that several adult websites are driving traffic to my blog.
Anyone know how to prevent that?
Update: After changing the names, some of spambot traffic has found other places to land.

Friday, 8 March 2019

Blue stars nearly finished

I collected a bunch of blue friendship stars from friends
for a group quilt project.
The parameters were that the stars had to be blue, the backgrounds neutral,
and they had to spin the same way, and finish at 9 inches

I dispersed the solid stars among the rest of them,
and then offset them by 3 inches to make them dance.
It all went together quickly, and I had enough blue scraps to make the piano key border.

One friend donated three metres of indigo fabric for the backing.
I had a few stars left, so I pieced together the backing,
but not without some serious calculations.
And I have just enough yardage left to cut the binding.

Here's the finished back.
It doesn't look nearly as complicated as it was.
I love little pieces and I don't mind making 500 seams in the front,
but I'm grumpy about more than one seam in the back.
It's not quite a finish, except that I finished both the top and the backing this week,
so I'm claiming it.

Friday, 22 February 2019

15 Finishes for February

I spent the holiday weekend (Louis Riel Day in Manitoba)
making a dozen of these needle books
I used up scraps and sewing prints and little bits of patchwork
to make each one slightly different.

I use wool felt for the inside pages.
I love the saturation of colour in the wool.

I used to make them from selvage dots like the one at the left,
but now I make mini quilts. 
The one at the top used leftover blades from a Dresden project
on a Westminster Liberty Art fabric.
That one had flown off to QuiltCon as a gift for someone
before I got the picture of all 12 together.

I also said goodbye to this little guy,
who didn't mind sitting in the snow in his new track suit.
He is now fully clothed and has a new home.

I started this quilt at a retreat in January and finished it two weeks later.
It has a pink Eden print by Tula Pink on the back.

Here's the front, made from one and a half charm packs and hourglass blocks in two colours.
It is a really simple quilt with a great visual effect. 
The two grey colours make on point squares around the charm squares,
making the quilt look like it was set on point.

Here you can see the beginnings on my design wall.

I spent 45 minutes quilting this top which had sat in a drawer for two years.
I used a Warm and Natural batting and a micro fleece for the backing.
I'm donating it to an organization outfitting people affected by recent apartment building fires.
I figure there's some little kid out there that will have fun driving on these roads.

And my last finish:
A Valentine placemat for my mom, made from a set of charms with love and heart themes.

Here she is with it and her birthday roses.
She turned 82 on Valentine's Day.

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