Friday, 27 November 2015

Fun Little Finish

I have a fun little finish to share with you today!  This is my third finish for the 4th quarter finish along hosted by Adrienne of On the Windy Side.  My original post is here.

     This is one version of the row by row kit that Hyggelight Fabrics  was selling in the summer.   The other versions were blue and yellow ducks, and I think sharks. I couldn't resist the cute whales and the vibrant purple and green fabrics.  Look it even matches my slippers.

     The kit made for a cute little kid's runner and went together really quickly.  Here's a close up.

     I decided to use the runner for free motion quilting practise.  I sewed waves on the whale fabric and kind of pebbles or bubbles on the bubble fabric.  Because I'm still pretty new with fmq I tend to use thread that blends in a bit to the background.  That was a mistake on the bubble fabric.  It made it really hard for me to see what I was doing.  I guess I'll have to be braver and use slightly more contrasting thread next time.

     Here's a picture of the back so you can see my fmq.  I couldn't believe how long it took to make those bubbles.  I was concentrating on trying to keep my stitch length consistent and I think I did a reasonable job.  It's the best I've done so far.   I had no one in mind when I bought the kit but as I was sewing it together I decided to give it to my coworker Amy for her daughter who is about 5.  I hope they find a use for it.

 We'll I'm off to check out the other finishes at TGIFF which is hosted this week by Jan at Quilting Among the Groves and at Finish it Up Friday hosted by Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Workshop with Cheryl Arkison

     Way back in June my friend Wendy and I managed to get the last two spots in a workshop on Value,taught by Cheryl Arkison.  The workshop was hosted by Hyggeligt Fabrics in Saint Mary's Ontario. What would have been our first choice Improv with Intent was filled but we were still excited because we had heard from friends that Cheryl is an awesome instructor. The workshop was a couple of Fridays ago but I've only had time to gather my thoughts and photos in the last week.

     We were instructed to bring at least 30 different fabrics, larger than 6 1/2 inches to the workshop, making sure we included lights mediums and darks. It was suggested that scrappy was best.  I was quite busy in the time period leading up to the workshop so in preparation I went through my scrap bins and pulled out everything that I could cut a 6 1/2" square from.  I then added a few fat quarters of lights and darks from my stash to round things out.  My fabrics were a real mish mash containing everything from kids brights to dark traditionals.

     The workshop was wonderful.  Although Wendy and I both felt we knew a fair bit about value, there was still lots more that we could learn.  To start Cheryl had us divide our fabrics into lights mediums and darks , then take a photo and switch it to black and white. Although I had heard of this technique I always do best when someone actually has me do something, especially if it involves machinery or technology.  Here is a photo of my fabrics taken on Wendy's tablet.  Unfortunately I don't have the photo in colour for comparison.

     You can see that I did a fairly good job of dividing up the fabrics and you can also see that some of the fabrics in the light pile are a bit more in the medium range than light.  Wendy's fabrics were more problematic as they were all large patterns with a mixture of colours.  Her light fabrics were pretty much all mediums when you saw them through the black and white filter. Which was a bit of a surprise.

     We learned from Cheryl that you can still get contrast in a quilt using similar valued fabrics by finding other differences like scale of design and the differences between warm and cool colours. 

     After pairing up our fabrics with contrasting fabrics and making several 1/2 square triangle blocks we headed to the  design walls to try out her instructions.  Here's what I came up with.

           When I first put my blocks up I hated them, but then I started grouping the fabrics into bands of warm colours and cool colours and I started to like it.  I'm glad that I brought a mixture of styles of fabric because I think it helped me learn a lot more about value and contrast due to the fact that  I couldn't rely on the  pretty fabrics to make the quilt. I'm pleased with the overall design of the quilt and  I think that with a little bit of tweaking this could make a pretty nice comfort quilt.  It's on the back burner for now.

     Here's a shot of Wendy's beautiful arrangement.  As you can see the value variations are much more subtle and these blocks were far more difficult to arrange.  Cheryl did an amazing job of helping Wendy to see the differences in the fabrics and how they could be arranged to showcase those differences.

     The best part of the workshop was seeing how Cheryl helped everyone arrange their blocks.  She is incredibly talented at seeing the differences in value in fabrics and she has a really nice easy going teaching style to go with that strength.  I would highly recommend taking a class with Cheryl if the opportunity comes your way, and if an opportunity to take improv with intent comes my way again, I'm jumping on it.

    Cheryl  brought copies of her latest book "You Inspire Me To Quilt" along to the workshop.  Of course I had to purchase a copy which she very kindly signed for me.

     This lovely book contains several quilt patterns by well known designers.  What is unique about it is that each quilt was inspired by someone close to the designer (often their partner) and it gives details of how the quilt design came about.  If you, like me have aspirations to design your own quilts one day, you would probably find this book quite inspirational and interesting.  I'm linking up this post with Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts.  Have you had inspirational workshop experiences you would like to share?  I'd love to hear about them.

Monday, 23 November 2015

More on the Pick Up Sticks

     I'm very excited to share progress on the pick up sticks quilt.  This is a group project of the small modern group I belong to.  The blocks are really lively with their criss crossing bright colours.  Some of the group members dye their own fabric and those blocks are particularly lovely.

     I'm not sure how many different  members  blocks I have here.  There are 10 of us in the group.  Everyone made several blocks and handed them in to Cheryl who is making another version of the quilt without sashing.  I got the left over blocks and asked for a few more to be made.  The quilt needs one more row.  I'll be sashing it and bordering it in the lovely caribbean blue fabric that I've put up on the design wall  to give you the effect.

     Both quilts will be donated to the guild's comfort quilt program which you can read  about in the tab above.  I'm hoping to have this top pieced by the next Guild meeting, which is the second tuesday of December. Our group will be making a presentation at that meeting. For now I'm linking this post up to Main Crush Monday which is hosted by Beth at Cooking Up Quilts.  You can join me and see what other projects, quilters are excited about this week.  I'm also linking up to Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times.

     I keep forgetting to link up to Fibre of All Sorts for the monthly goals...but I'm on time for December so I'm going to link up finishing this quilt as my December goal.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

November Update

  This is my 101st blog post and there is a give away at the end of the post. Its also a post about quilt alongs.

      I know that people usually have a give away on the 100th post but I was scrambling to link up with the Dog Gone Cute link up, so I'm having it now.  I didn't quite finish my Dog Gone Cute quilt in time for the link up.  In case you don't know, the pattern was designed by Lorna of Sew Fresh Quilts and she hosted the quilt along and link up.  Heres a shot of my quilt to show the four corners of completed binding.  So now you know it's finished, and I'm very excited to share that I was one of the lucky quilters who won a prize! If you haven't seen it my completed quilt and you would like to read more about it and see more pictures you can go here.

               This is my second finish for the 4th quarter finish along, hosted by Adrienne at On The Windy Side.  My original post is here.

  Now that the Dog Gone Cute is finished, and I do mean finished, I have turned my attention back to the Midnight Mystery Quilt Along. This one is run by Cheryl of Meadow Mist Designs. I had fallen quite far behind but I did give the project a fair bit of attention on the weekend.  I've finished the courthouse steps blocks and I've done 24 of the square in a square blocks.  

     So I have 10 more square in a square blocks to sew, followed by a few 1/2 square triangles, and then I can start sewing things together.  Maybe I'll even catch up before the next instruction instalment.  

     These are not the first quilt alongs I've participated in.  In the past I joined a couple of block of the months which are both languishing in the UFO pile.  So getting the Dog Gone Cute Quilt almost finished by the link up was pretty good for me.  I'm pretty sure I'll get the Midnight Mystery finished as well.  Come to think of it I managed to get the other on line quilt along I participated in done as well.  It was the Giant Chevron Free Motion Quilt Along that was run by Jess of Elven Garden Quilts last year.

     So why do I manage to finish the on line quilt alongs when I'm rubbish at getting the non online groups done.  I don't think it's the lure of prizes, although winning one sure was sweet. No I think its got something to do with the link up.  Aiming for that link up seem to hold me to some kind of accountability.  That's a good thing.

     So  now it's time for my give away. In the spirit of sharing, which is so present in the online quilting community, I've put together this little grouping of fat quarters. If you would like  a chance to win them just leave me a comment.  Maybe you could tell me if you have ever participated in a quilt along.  Did you manage to finish  or did you fall behind and drop out.

     I'll keep the giveaway open for a few days or so and then I'll pick a number out of a hat. (Note:  I held the draw on Sunday and Anja's name was picked out of the hat, well bowl). There are no extra chances for following but I would appreciate it if you did. I'm not particularly computer savvy, so if you show up as a no reply blogger I'm sorry to say I'll have to  choose someone else.  I'm linking up with Let's Bee Social over at Lorna's blog.  

Monday, 9 November 2015

Close But No Cigar

     Well there is nothing like a linky party to keep you pushing along to the end.  I've been working like a demon to get the Dog Gone Cute quilt done...and I didn't quite do it.  As my dear departed father would have said "Close but no Cigar".
But I'm linking up anyhow with my almost finished Dog Gone Cute quilt.  Here she is.

     All completed except for sewing down the last two sides of of binding.  I took the photos at 7:30 am on my frosty back porch wearing my pj's and a sweat shirt.  If my neighbours don't already think I'm nuts I'm pretty sure this will do it.

     I know that my quilt looks quite a bit like the other quilts in the link up but here's the exciting part.  I made this quilt for my first grandchild who will be born in March!  My son and his wife told us they were expecting pretty much at the same time that Lorna released her pattern and started the quilt along.  They both love dog's so I knew that I had to make this for them.

     The pups are made of scraps and the background fabric is Kaufman's Quilters Linen that I had in my stash. If any of you saw this little orange pup before you can see that I performed dental surgery on her before completing the quilt.
I was aiming for gender neutral in the choice of fabrics and I now know that the baby is a boy.

     What I love about this pattern is that the pups are all slightly different and I when I was putting together I could imagine spending time with my grandson counting the puppies and looking for similarities and differences.  The backing fabric is What a World  by Jill McDonald of P&B textiles.  I managed to get yards and yards of this on sale about a year ago.  It's a great print for sparking imagination.

   The binding is Modern Home a Monaluna design.  I bought the last scrap which was just enough to bind the quilt. It's a great little print and I'm wishing I bought more of it when it was current.

    As time was running out before the link up I opted for the wavy line walking foot quilting that Lorna used on her sample. I like how it looks and I'm sure I'll be using this type of quilting on future comfort quilts.

       My puppies were the smaller size, and I put lot's of negative space around each of them.  The quilt finishes at a small lap size 45 inches by 57 inches.  I'm joining up to the linky party at Sew Fresh Quilts. and if you want to get in on the voting go here  Thanks Lorna it's been lots of fun!  

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Bee Day

     I'm a member of the Outreach Committee of my local guild. On Friday we held a quilt bee.  The Outreach Committee  organizes making the quilts that are donated to the personal violence unit at the local hospital.  Most of the quilts are given to sexual assault victims and are important in building trust and starting the healing process.  We also make memory quilts which are given to parents who have lost an infant.

     Throughout the year we hand out block kits at our meetings.  This year we also handed out kits to people as they renewed their membership.  The striking quilt top below was made from registration blocks and was designed by our committee chair Cheryl Cowan.  

     Also this year in addition to handing out block kits each month, we are printing instructions for the block in our guild newsletter so  quilters can make blocks from their stash.  The committee members are taking turns picking the blocks and getting permission if necessary to share the instructions with guild members. 
      I was the first committee member to share a block of the month.  I asked Tanya of Tanya Quilts in Colorado if we could use her Log Cabin Medallion block pattern.  We handed out block kits for one quilt top and encouraged members to make other blocks from their stash.  We received enough blocks to make three quilt tops!  Two were completed at the bee day and the third was taken home to be completed by our next meeting.  Here are pictures of the two completed at the bee.

     It was a very productive day.  We completed at least  4 additional tops.  Several memory quilts were finished, some quilts were quilted and backings and bindings were sewn together.  Several guild members also shared their tips for free motion quilting, machine maintenance, and sewing  binding.

     Bee day has always been one of my favourite activities of the guild it's a great way to get to know other members while working for a good cause.  How about you.  Do you attend bee days at your guild.  Do you work on donation quilts.  If you do where do you donate them? 

      I'm linking up with Lorna at Let's Bee Social, and just in case you were wondering I'll be sharing my puppy quilt sometime before the last link up day on November 9th.