Sunday, 23 July 2017

stashing and stitching

I have had some happy mail recently, some necessary or just because and a couple of nice surprises!

First up I needed to get some more Liberty bias tape for my Green Tea and Sweet Beans quilt borders from The Weaver's Mill. The top two prints just fell into the basket.

clockwise from top left: Liberty tana lawn Tatum D and Jungle ALiberty bias tape and a selection of scraps that came with the order (love that!)

Next Spoonflower had their buy one, get one free fat quarter deal - so I did, twice. I really enjoy searching through all the designs, there are so many great artists/graphic designers/print makers. It's like pinterest to me, very inspiring! While browsing I came across Sally Harmon, boris_thumbkin, Sally's designs are really cool, very graphic style with interesting colours and shapes. I was especially taken by how different cultures and styles find their way into her designs. I was feeling the retro vibe in the prints I chose by her and I have an idea of what I will be using them for. In contrast is a grid paper print by Lorrie Cranor, lorrietweet, which I got just because it's simple and awesome.

clockwise from top left: Peach Deco Motosu Moon Flower Stripe by boris_thumbkin; quarter-inch-grid by lorrietweet; Baby Checkerboard by boris_thumbkin and Ukrainian Pinwheels by boris_thumbkin.

I usually buy on Kona Cotton but this time I went for the poplin. Other people have seemed to like it so I will see how it washes and compare. It does feel lovely, though it still has that printed stiffness. I will let you know how I get on with it.

After trying a Q-Snap frame at the retreat - thanks Hannah! - I had to get one. It's so simple to use, collapses down and is really comfortable too.

I was lucky enough to win this adorable needle minder recently from Cloud Craft's giveaway on instagram. I love Mollie's designs and this is so pretty with a good magnet back too! Also sweeties ❤

And in case you haven't seen...

How amazing is this?! Fat Quarter Shop are giving away a totally gorgeous "Hello Lovely" Cotton + Steel Bernina 350 SE. For full details and to enter to win CLICK HERE.
Open internationally, ends July 25, 2017 at midnight CST.
Good luck!


Saturday, 15 July 2017

2017 Finish-A-Long ~ Meet the Global Host Team ~ Izzy

Hi - I'm Izzy from Dizzy Quilts and it's my turn to tell you a little about myself!

I'm a mother, step-mother and foster mother to six children, grand-mother to one gorgeous little girl and wife to my soul mate. During the day, I manage a team of e-Learning designers/developers at a global financial company.

All of this keeps me pretty busy, but I've always made time to be crafty - when I was a little girl, my mom taught me how to knit and I made all my teddy bears knitted sweaters!

During my teenage years, I was a little too busy with school (and with boys!) to craft, but a few years later, when I had my first child, I started sewing.  I made some baby clothes and I made curtains mostly. I even took a sewing class to learn how to make garments for myself, but I never got the hang of that - nothing ever really fit right.

About 9 years ago, I walked into JoAnn's to get fabric for new curtains and spotted the cutest little quilt kits. I bought one, put it together and haven't looked back since! I was completely and totally hooked.

The first few quilts I made were very traditional - lots of small pieces, small florals, etc. I really had no clue what I was doing, but learned so much with the making of these quilts.

A lap size log cabin quilt made for my step-mom

I started making these quilts for pretty much everyone in my family.  And pretty soon, every bed in the house had a quilt on it.

Quilt I made for my sister-in-law - this is Bronx testing it.

I even made quilts as curtains!!
Around 2010, I discovered quilt blogs and the online quilting community.  That literally changed my quilting life!!  I started my own blog, met some amazing people and a couple of years later, found the Montreal Modern Quilt Guild.

Through the members of this guild, I learned about modern quilting and I fell in love with quilting all over again.

I started making modern quilts and building a stash of really colourful fabrics and solid neutrals.

When I first started quilting, my least favourite part of the whole thing was the actual quilting. My sewing machine was pretty small and wrestling with a big quilt in that tiny little space was painful and I very often ended up with puckers on the back of my quilts.  And then I changed two things: my sewing machine and my basting method.

I purchased my Juki TL-2010Q. It is literally a dream to quilt with. Lots of room to the right of the needle and super consistent, fast stitching.

I also learned how to board baste my quilts - which has saved my knees, my back and to a certain extent, my sanity!  :-)

And now quilting is actually my favourite part. I look forward to finishing a top just so I can get to the quilting. My dream is to some day own a long-arm machine, but I would need to get a much bigger house before that could happen!

Last year, I became the Vice-President of the Montreal MQG and that has been a lot of fun. The group is growing and we have such amazing people and quilters.  Each meeting is a great source of inspiration and I'm learning so much.

When I was approached to become a FAL host last year, I was so flattered and so happy. I love hosting these link-ups - so much inspiration and so much talent every quarter.

Thanks for reading and if you have questions, please leave a comment!  :-)


Saturday, 8 July 2017

△ Spectrum qst quilt △ & mini quilts △

I designed and made this quilt using two charm packs of Spectrum by V & Co. for a demonstration on Sewing Quarter.

 It was so fun playing with the colours and layout and I love the graphic look of the quilt.

To make the blocks I sewed two four patch blocks, put them right sides together, sewed 1/4" around all the edges and then cut diagonally both ways. It is far simpler than making lots of triangles! You can watch the demo here.

Continuing the triangle theme, I made a Floating Triangles mini, using the pattern by Katy Jones in Fat Quarterly Shape Workshop for Quilters. Mine is a smaller version but it's a great technique!

I think this would look amazing as a full sized quilt! Katy's quilt in the book was quilted in a grid and I completely loved it so I did the same.

Black and white prints are so striking! I want to incorporate more into my own projects. You can see the demo for this mini quilt here.

Finally I made another fun mini. This one was adapted from the pattern by Nicole Vos van Avezathe in the book Fat Quarters: Small Fabrics, 50 Big Ideas by Amanda Carestio. Nicole's original pattern was English Paper Pieced and appliqued on a pillowcase, but for this demonstration I wanted to do some quilting and a different hexie technique so I made a mini quilt. I used Nicole's cross stitch pattern from the book for the lettering and the gorgeous Flowerbox Sublime Stitching floss, which matches perfectly with the Olive's Flower Market prints (I used a charm pack).

I didn't epp these hexies, I used a paper hexagon template to press the edges of the fabric over but then removed the paper. So with the seams pressed to the back I used a glue pen to position the hexies on the background fabric. Then I chose a decorative stitch to sew between the hexies, sewing them together and appliqueing them at the same time! This is a technique that Pat Bravo demonstrated at an Art Gallery Fabrics event I went to a few years ago. 
note for the future -  on my Elna mode 1 #47, stitch width 5, length 2.

Once the appliqué was done I made a quilt sandwich, with backing fabric and wadding. And top stitched around the hexies. So I'm quilting all the hexies! 
Below you can see the loopy swirls which are also quilting, another decorative stitch - mode 2 #30 width 9, length 2.5. 
You can watch the demo here - it makes a lot more sense when you see it being done :)

My littlest fell in love with this one so I might have to make another!

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

⌘ A Piece of Me Pouch pattern release ⌘

At the beginning of the year I made these curved bottom padded zip pouches (born out of forgetting to measure twice and cut once while making my Everything in It's Place Bag). Not wanting this gorgeous fabric and my quilting to go to waste, I decided to use as much of the panel as I could and I ended up with two zip bags that I love! I tried a different way of attaching the zips (the lace one isn't so neat, I wouldn't suggest it for this) and I have finally written up a pattern so you can make your own.

The A Piece of Me pouch idea came to be after finding it makes such a difference for me to use things that make me smile and that mean something. I had the idea of embroidering this lyric onto a pouch, in remembrance of a friend. When I see the words, I sing the song and have great memories. 

I encourage you to do the same, whether it be for yourself or for a gift; make it personal in some way, positive and meaningful 💖 

I taught the A Piece of Me pouch at the Simply Sew'In retreat and the class all made gorgeous versions! Click here to read more and see details.

Adding the zip is really straightforward, there are tips in the pattern to keep it neat and the bias binding is a perfect finish. 

The embroidery is optional and the pouch is brilliant either way! You can do some simple quilting or go to town with free motion quilting, you can make a patchwork piece for the outer panel or keep it plain. A Piece of Me pouch comes together quickly and it's up to you to add the details! The finished size of the pouch is approximately 10.5" x 7".

To celebrate the launch of the A Piece of Me pouch pattern I am offering 15% off for the next 48 hours! The discount has already been applied to the price so there is no code necessary.* Click the link below or visit my Etsy shop to purchase the A Piece of Me pouch pattern. The PDF pattern is instantly downloadable after you complete your purchase.

Buy Now

Thank you all so much for your support and encouragement! Add #apieceofmepouch if you share on social media, I would love to see what you make!

* Pattern discount ends 7th July 2017. EU customers please note that VAT will automatically be added to your order during checkout, to comply with European Union VAT law.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Simply Sew'In 🌷 green tea and sweet beans quilt progress

I had the most amazing, inspiring, relaxing, fun weekend at the Simply Sew'In retreat. Thank you to Justine and Lisa from Simply Solids for inviting me to teach and for organising such a brilliant weekend! 

I met so many fabulous women, including my roomie Jenny - who I laughed and cried with, she's so lovely, honest and talented. I got to spend time with wonderful Trudi, we had good chats and hugs! I am so grateful to her for her wisdom and inspired by her strength and compassion. It all got very deep and these friendships and bonds are so precious to me. It was such a great atmosphere at the retreat and everyone could really be themselves. Like the hilarious Kay, who is so sweet and I felt like we were already friends! It was great meeting friends from Instagram and being able to 'real life' sew together for the #saturdaynightcraftalong!!
Every one there was lovely and of course so creative, I was blown away by all the gorgeous makes, secret swap gifts and projects in progress, check out #simplysewin2017 to see some of what was made and the shenanigans!

I taught a couple of sessions of embroidery, so those that wanted to could embroider a panel to be made into a pouch. I asked people to chose a phrase or lyric that had meaning for them, it was fun seeing what they came up with and hopefully they will smile at these words whenever they use the pouch:

Then I gave everyone the A Piece of Me pouch pattern and talked through the steps, letting them borrow Cher to round the corners. Here are some of the pouches, finished and in progress - though I think they were all finished by the time we left - you can see them here #apieceofmepouch!

I love the different ways they were quilted, the fabric combinations and the unique pouches! 

The pattern for A Piece of Me pouch will be released tomorrow and will be available from my Payhip shop or Etsy.

And here are the maker models themselves:

There was a delicious goodie bag from the retreat too, with lots of lovely fabric and useful notions! I also bought some cork (in the background) because I just want to sew with it, it looks so cool!

While I was there I of course did some sewing of my own! I finally managed to finishing hand piecing my Green Tea and Sweet Beans quilt - pattern by Jen Kingwell:

It was hard to photograph because it was windy, despite also being very sunny! Thanks to sweet Kelly for the helping hand I quickly took these :)

I did change some of the original applique blocks, I used English Paper Piecing to create different flowers for the three flower panels. 

I am also going off pattern with the borders too, opting for some curvy bias binding, using Liberty binding from The Weavers Mill:

The weekend really invigorated my love of sewing! I have another A Piece of Me Pouch planned already, dreamed up on the drive home. It may involve that cork.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

2017 Finish-A-Long • Quarter 3

It's time to link up your list of unfinished projects that you propose to finish in Quarter 3 of the FAL. I am looking forward to seeing what you are planning to be working on over the next quarter!

The FAL is hosted by a community of bloggers across the world. Our hosts are:
  • Sarah - Sew me - Northern Ireland
Social Media Director
For those of you who are new to the FAL, it is a place to find motivation and encouragement to complete those unfinished projects that are hanging about becoming UFOs. Every quarter you post a list of projects you hope to finish in the next three months, and then at the end of the quarter, you post a link from your blog, Flickr or Instagram of each successful finish from your original list.

Each finish is an entry for wonderful prizes from our sponsors. There is no penalty for not finishing a listed project, so feel free to make your list long or short, as you wish. The 2017 Schedule and Rules for the FAL are on my permanent FAL page, let me know if you have any questions.

Here are the fantastic and generous sponsors for Q3 of the FAL - you can see each of their prizes listed under their logo (think about visiting them and saying thank you):  

As you may recall from last year, there was a return of tutorial week at the end of each quarter, between the opening of the link for finishes and the day that link closes. Are you enjoying this? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below! This will take place each quarter. Each host works hard to put these together so I hope you are visiting their blogs to encourage them. If you have a tutorial that you would like to share, please let me or another host know.

It's time to round up those projects you want to finish over the next three months, take a photo of each one and make your list. Please ensure that you have at least started your projects - pulled fabric with a pattern is now considered a UFO, and remember it is only finished projects that will get you an entry toward the above listed prizes. So while we love to see your bee blocks, the "finish" is when they are a completed, usable project.

It is very helpful if you tag your list as #2017FALQ3yourname when posting on social media: Flickr, Facebook & Instagram. Using the same hashtag over the quarter when sharing progress or finishes before the link, helps the hosts find your original list quickly - especially when this is done over a 3 month period. IMPORTANT: Don't forget to link your finishes up when the quarter closes.

The 2017 Q3 link for your list of proposed finishes is now open below on my blog and on each of the hosting blogs. You need only link your list once, on one blog - and that link will show up on all of the blogs. If you are using Facebook, Flickr or Instagram, link a mosaic and put your list in the description. Katy of The Littlest Thistle has a great tutorial on how to link-up if you need it.

We also ask that you become part of the FAL community. Please check out the links of others - visit and comment on their lists. We all need encouragement to get those finishes done, so please share some of your own too. There is no naughty corner for those that haven't completed everything on their list, so you might as well link up everything and anything you are working on or plan to! If they don't get finished you can roll them over to the next link. Be brave and list them all!!

The Q3 proposed finish linky party will stay open until 11 pm EST, July 8, 2017- as we are global, you might want to check your time zone to determine your last possible time to link. Remember: you only need to link up on ONE hosting blog and it will automatically show up on all hosting blogs.