Finally, a quilt for the cabin: Garden Party by Blackbird Designs

I finished this quilt just in time to give it a good test drive during a short camping trip to Jasper National Park last

It’s so much fun having a quilt to photograph when you’re camping!

Columbia Ice Fields, Jasper National Park
Columbia Ice Fields, Jasper National Park

This particular project was a “Shop your Stash” challenge quilt hosted by the Good Time Quilters, one of the guilds I belong to.

Snaring River, Jasper National Park
Snaring River, Jasper National Park

We paid for the pattern, sight unseen last fall, then had the rest of the year to make something using the pattern as inspiration. The only caveat? You had to shop your stash. And did I ever!

sept-2016-017The pattern is Garden Party by Blackbird Designs. It’s a combination of piecing and applique, with little 3-D flower centers.

And, because I always try to learn something new with every project, I decided this quilt was a good opportunity to try out the quilt as you go method.  This allowed me to use up a whole lot of those small pieces of batting that are too big to throw away (because batting is so damned expensive!) but too small to back anything larger than a place mat. I’m not 100% sold on the method, but at least I’ve tried it. 🙂

sept-2016-012

The backing is made up of miscellaneous bits and pieces of green & brown fabrics. What I’d call my ugly fabrics.

img_0985

Including this interesting piece:

sept-2016-020

Mr. C. actually likes the back better than the front.  I guess there’s no accounting for taste, lol.

sept-2016-019

It’s quilted free-motion style on my little Janome 2030 in what’s called the stipple pattern .

Folks, this was my very first attempt ever (ever!) doing free-motion quilting, and I’m pretty darned proud of myself. I didn’t quilt inside the flowers…as a result, they’ve puffed up a bit. I like the effect.

sept-2016-009

And you know what? It’s 100% made from my stash. I didn’t buy a single new thing to make this quilt. 🙂 This makes my thrifty heart do a happy dance!

sept-2016-010

It’s destiny is to live at our cabin at Fox Lake, in the Yukon, where I plan to spend chilly visits snuggled up in front of the fire for years to come. If you come visit, I’ll share a quilt corner with you.  But you might have to fight Mr. C. for it…

Mr. C. doing his sworn duty to uphold Nita's quilts
Mr. C. doing his sworn duty to uphold Nita’s quilts

A spring-time disappearing 9-patch

001

I wanted to make a quilt for my aunt, who has always been a very special person in my life. But time passes and things don’t get done and you know how it goes. (sigh)

017

So one day last spring I was sorting my sewing room and I came upon an unfinished quilt top. It’s one I started way back when. Before I had (mostly) mastered the art of matching corners, lol.

003

I’m not sure why I put it away and didn’t finish it. I think maybe I felt (at the time) that the colours were too bright, or maybe I didn’t like using grey for the background neutral. I really have no idea.

quilt2

Anyway, it was spring when I pulled it out and all the spring flowers were in full bloom. I carried it out and took some pictures with the tulips. And oh my gosh…the quilt just sang!

quilt4

Suddenly, every spring colour just jumped out at me, and I realized that every single colour was in the quilt. It screamed Spring!

026

That’s one of the things I love about Kate Spain’s fabrics. She really captures the colours in nature.  🙂

020I looked at the grey background and thought of the soft spring rain that comes and melts all the snow, and makes the flowers bloom.

onion

And I thought to myself, this quilt belongs to my aunt, whose favourite season just happens to be spring.

FullSizeRender-1

Mine, too!

021

This is a lap-sized quilt made from the Cuzco collection by Kate Spain. The backing is cream flannel and it was hand quilted in a clam shell pattern. I didn’t wash and dry it before I sent it, but when she does, it will shrink a wee bit and pull around the stitches, creating that wonderful crinkly look that makes a quilt so soft and snuggly.

002

 

Tyler’s Quilt: Indomitable Spirit

Warning – this post has lots of pictures!

I have a quilt finish to show off today! This is the quilt I recently made for my second-youngest nephew, Tyler.

017

A quilt is never finished until it has had its official photo shoot, and this quilt had two photography sessions! First, we took it on a beautiful nature walk to Margaret Falls. This was the perfect place to photograph this quilt.

019

Look at how the shapes in the landscape compliment the shapes in the quilt. It makes my little quilt-photographers heart sing!

035

The second photo shoot was just up the road. I really wanted to have the quilt photographed with horses (don’t ask me why, I really have no idea. Well…maybe because my nephew lives in Montana. And you know, Montana…horses…)

061

Sadly, the horses weren’t as interested in the quilt as I thought they should be. Actually, they were afraid of it. Big piece of fabric – boo, scary!

056

Happily, two girls came riding by and consented to help.
064So I did get a shot of the quilt with a horse after all.

066

And of course who could resist this shot? Love, love, love the long view down the valley.

071

Every quilt has a story. Including this quilt. Keep reading, here it comes.

011

Tyler turned 18 last week and is graduating from high school this year.

014

While I am happy that I finished the quilt in time for his birthday and graduation, I actually was inspired to make him this quilt because I wanted to honour his accomplishments in in Taekwondo.

045

This young man has two black belts and is working on his third. I am so proud because I know how much focus and dedication and practice that goes into mastering a craft at any age.

028

Each of the coloured blocks represents one of the belts he had to master. The quilt is backed with simple white cotton to represent the outfit the practitioner wears.

037

I chose the wonky cross-hatch block for this quilt because the shapes of the lines reminded me of the shapes drawn in the air and the shapes that the body makes when doing martial arts.

013

…and also because it’s just a fun and funky pattern that is uber-suitable for a young man of 18.

075

I named the quilt Indomitable Spirit, which is one of the tenets in the Taekwondo code. I don’t think I could have chosen a better name.

059

Indomitable Spirit measures 50 x 74 inches and is hand quilted. I quilted it free-hand, without a frame and without marking. The first time I’ve ever done either.

058

My stitches are what I prefer to call “organic,” (meaning they’re uneven, being the first time I tried quilting that way). I like to try something new whenever I can, and I wanted to try free hand quilting. So it was a bit of a learning curve for me. Appropriate, too, since this quilt honours accomplishment, which requires taking a first step and giving it your best.

081

Nothing you accomplish in life comes without practice, right? Like a black belt. Like learning to hand quilt free-style.

090

Congratulations, Tyler – your spirit is truly indomitable.

088

Live long and prosper!

074

The Friendship Garden Quilt

Warning: this post is photo intensive!

036Let me introduce you to The Friendship Garden Quilt!

017 It comes by its name honestly, because it started out life as a bee block!

018I am part of a Flickr group quilting bee with 5 other ladies. We call ourselves We Bee Canadian. We each make 2 blocks for the month’s Queen Bee.

031When it was my month to pick a block (a couple of years ago!), I asked everyone to please make me two bow tie blocks using garden-themed fabric.

008Because we were all pretty much beginners, nobody’s 1/4″ seams were very good and the blocks didn’t square up very well. There were an awful lot of mismatched seams.

007Then I had an idea!

025I decided to cover some of the wonky seams with English paper pieced rosettes. Perfect! Before you knew it, I had hand-appliqued a flower in every single blank square, wonky or not!

033Because a garden should be an absolute riot of colour, don’t you agree?

011I used a bed sheet on the back. I think it would qualify as a vintage sheet. I remember having sheets like this on my bed in the 70s.

027The quilt is hand quilted in circles.

034I don’t think I’ll try to do hand quilting through a bed sheet again. I actually bent needles and had to use pliers to pull the needle through the layers. Ouch!

035Mr. C. did a marvelous job behind the scenes, don’t you think?

022I used black for the binding to set off the colours. Oh, how I love this quilt! It is so cheerful and bright and sunny! A bit of summer in the depths of winter.

010I hope it will be as loved in its new home as it is in mine 🙂

029These photos were taken at the sweet little Notch Hill Community Hall and Church on the only sunny day in January.

041
Linking up with the binding blitz at Julie Quilts and Lets Bee Social at SewFreshQuilts.

Ring Toss: a quilt for Beckham

Last month a young family that I know lost their home to fire.

051

Beckham and his big sister lost everything they own.

040

So I got busy making quilts.

045

This one is for Beckham, who is an energetic toddler. I used Thomas the Tank Engine fabric because what two-year-old boy doesn’t love Thomas? And woah! Thomas the Tank Engine backing, too! What’s not to love?

052

The pattern is called Ring Toss, from the book Quilt it with Love: the Project Linus Story. I hand quilted it using the Big Stitch method with yellow-gold Perle cotton. The center of each ring is hand-tied with embroidery floss.

047

I’m making a quilt for Beckham’s big sister, too. I’ll post it as soon as it’s finished, so stay tuned!

038

 

Overdoing it

The creative quilting bug hit hard on Monday and didn’t let go until yesterday afternoon. I worked almost non-stop on an idea for a lap quilt, and as a result I have completely wrecked myself! I don’t believe it! Both hands, wrists, forearms and my shoulders are weak as babies today and man oh man, do they ever ache! I’m afraid I’m going to be on the sewing sidelines for a while!

So….what in the world was so important? Two design roll of Free Spirit’s Wrenly by Valori Wells!

I had a great idea to make wonky log cabin blocks:

006

And then I had the idea to make a couple of wonky houses and wonky hearts:

005

And then I thought: how about sewing all the strips in a design roll together end to end…then find the center & cut in half and sew those two long strips together…then find the center & repeat & repeat & repeat?

016

Oh, argh!   Now I have two little tiny quilts and some miscellaneous blocks  when what I really want is one comfy size lap quilt for snuggling under with a good book!

Hummm…..how about I cut up the strip quilt and use it as a border around the wonky log cabin blocks with some grey sashing in between?

Since I’m showing what I’ve been up to, I’ll just go ahead and empty out my on-going projects baskets and show you what else is on the go, eh? (these two baskets live in the living room where they valiantly try to contain everything I am currently working on. The rest of my WIPs live in the closet, away from prying eyes.)

017

This is a garden-themed bow-tie quilt that I’ve been working on for more than a year.

010

I decided that it wasn’t busy enough, so I’m sewing hexie flowers into the blank spaces. What was I thinking???

013

And then Moda Bakeshop hosted a trifle dish-themed quilt sew along, and I just had to join in because I adore trifle – it’s my favourite dessert next to strawberry shortcake. Just calling the quilt a “trifle dish quilt” guaranteed my participation, lol!

004

This is as far as I have gotten. There are 4 more rows to go.  I’m using up my little collection of 1930s reproduction prints.

003

Also in the on-going projects basket is my Grandmother’s Flower Garden, which hasn’t progressed one inch since I posted this update here:

014

And last but not least, today I am wearing another skirt that I sewed. I didn’t use a pattern…I just bought some stretchy material and measured around my waist, subtracted a couple of inches and sewed it into a tube. I hemmed the bottom with a zigzag stitch (and it made this really pretty lettuce leaf edge for some reason but I love it). I turned the waist over twice and then sewed a narrow seam around the top edge to hold it down. Voila! A skirt!

008

Congratulations, you made it to the end of the post!

I am tired of talking about sewing. I think the next few posts will be non-sewing related, eh? Good.

Now I am going to go and have a cup of tea and piece of home-made sourdough toast (from bread that I made yesterday) because my wrists ache just from typing all this. Come over and join me if you can spare a minute!