As Spring is starting to truly get going here, I’m posting some wintery photos from our recent cottage weekend. A lovely tradition of getting away for a long weekend with friends, dogs and sewing machines was started a few years ago. It happens twice a year and is something I look forward to immensely.
The focus is sewing. We wake up early in the morning and get on our sewing machines, some of us sleep in because we were sewing until 3am in the morning. Having several days in a row to focus on projects means that stuff gets done! Huge quilts get quilted, binding is stitched, problems are solved and a thousand blocks are pieced. In between all that, there are amazing homemade meals and snacks, walks with dogs and afternoon naps. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t get better than this.
Just four months til the Summer Cottage Weekend!
All the Winter Cottage Weekend photos are here.
It was about this time last year that I started my Feather Bed quilt. The quilt top has been done for a little while now. I still need to finish off the back and decide if I’m going to quilt this one. I want to catch up on photographing my quilts in progress, so I took the quilt top with me last week when Maisy and I went down to the Humber River for our Monday adventure.
When we got down to the river that day, the entire park was filled with huge ice chunks that had started to melt over the weekend, cracked and then been pushed down downstream and eventually pushed over the sides of the river bed and across the fields. This has already happened a couple times this winter, but not to this extreme! I’ve never seen anything like it, but it made the perfect backdrop for these photos! These photos were actually taken on the river and you can see how thick the ice is.
I love this quilt top. I had a lot of fun making most of it at our 2013 winter cottage weekend. Both Jacqueline and Katherine let me raid their scraps and stash to add to the fabric I had chosen and to me those additions truly make the quilt top shine. I got the majority of the blocks done over this one weekend, but in the end, I had decided I needed to make the quilt top bigger and add a few more blocks.
The pattern for this quilt top is a free pdf download from Anna Maria Horner! I definitely recommend it. There is one piece of advice that I’d give, that I didn’t catch on to until I was through a lot of the sewing. There is a better way to sew & cut your strips for the plumes that is much more efficient! Luckily, Meredith at Olivia Jane wrote a great tutorial on the method.
I love seeing other versions of this pattern. I was originally inspired to make this pattern when I saw Lalu’s version. I love it on the grey background. Julie made a blue version with the Liberty Stiles collection which is really wonderful, too!
After months and months of working on this project, it’s great to finally be able to post photos of this community quilt made for Debbie’s baby. Sunday was Debbie’s last day of work and it seemed like the perfect time to throw her a little surprise baby shower to celebrate.
The beauty of a community quilt is the incredible personality it reflects. Not only of the person who sews the block, but the person the blocks are intended for. When I look at this quilt, I truly see this.
The parameters we set out for the quilt used this fabric as our colour inspiration along with a required finished size of 9″. Somehow with just those two guidelines, we ended up with this magical patchwork.
A quilt is always filled with love, but when it is worked on by so many people it vibrates that love so strongly. We can’t wait to meet your baby, Debbie!
All the quilt photos from this project can be found here.
Economy block by Karyn
Economy block by Karyn
Hummingbird block by Katrina
Maple block by Jacqueline
Maple block by Jacqueline
Star block with Hexagon centre by Johanna
HST block by Ayalah
Improv block by Ayalah
Feather block by Angelune
Postage Stamp block by Angelune
Improv block by Suzanne
Improv block by Katherine
Improv block by Katherine
Improv block by Elisa
Improv block by Lauren
Improv block by Lauren
Star block by Nadia
Star within a Star block by Carolanne
Cathedral Windows block by Alexis
Porthole block by Maria
Improv bloc by Carolina
Improv block by Rosalyn
Improv block by Jerisse
I bought myself an iPad about a month ago and the first thing I knew I needed was a case of some sort. I researched all kinds of hard cases but in the end I really couldn’t resist making one. I decided to try Shabby Chick’s tutorial which was very easy to follow. It would have been even easier if I hadn’t made it patchwork, but I’m really happy I took the extra time to do some improv piecing for this. There are some scraps from both my Swoon quilt & my Feather Bed quilt, along with a pretty pink Liberty scrap from Amanda in this case. Instead of batting, I used canvas inside for protection. On the inside I added a small patch pocket that I keep a little cloth to clean the screen with. I also decided to do snaps instead of velcro on the tab.
I love how this case turned out ALOT. Sometimes it’s the little things and the simple things that you end up loving so much.
The iPad was something I treated myself to as a pre-reward for working so hard on the workroom’s new website. For the last few months, I’ve been taking and editing photographs, organizing content and putting everything in place. The website just launched last week and I couldn’t be happier with how it all turned out. The stunning design is by Andrew Cloutier, who designs all the workroom’s graphic elements.
This website has been a dream of mine for so many years. I really wanted to have everything that the workroom embodies represented for all our local friends, but also our friends from far away. I am very excited that we now have a full web store that will include just about everything we sell in the store. This includes fabric!!! The shop is up and running, but we are adding new items to it every day. You may notice a couple of the store categories are empty right now. It will take us a little bit longer to be fully up to date, so keep checking back. I hope you’ll take some time to explore the site, there is so much to see!
We had the pleasure of having the lovely Cheryl Arkison visit the workroom to teach a couple classes a month ago. What a fun, but too short two days we had with her. Cheryl is one of the co-authors of the book, Sunday Morning Quilts, which is all about how to organize and use your scrap fabric. The book is wonderful and filled with so many great ideas and projects to use up those precious scraps of fabric. I am a scrap fabric hoarder, so this book totally validates my behaviour. (and makes me feel good about it!)
The first class Cheryl taught was the Quilted Storage Box. I LOVE this project!! You use your scrap fabric to make improv patchwork boxes that are colour coded to hold and organize all your scraps. I want to make a hundred of these! We started by making a large improv block that Cheryl calls ‘slabs’. The slab is then cut up and used to make the sides and bottom of the box. The design is pretty brilliant. I loved getting to line up all the boxes at the end of the class together to see them as a group. In my dream world, I have a craft room at home and the shelves are lined with these colourful boxes. I can’t wait for a free afternoon so I can whip up some more of these.
On Monday morning, we gathered together for Cheryl’s second class Colour Value. I know that colour is something that most people struggle with when choosing for their patchwork, so this class was really useful to help pinpoint some good tips and tricks to recognize and use colour value to your advantage. I used a charm pack from the collection Twenty-Three to make my HSTs (half square triangles). It was particularly interesting because when I laid out all the squares, the colour from the collection appears to have very little contrast, so I was a bit concerned that I wouldn’t be able to achieve any visible colour value difference within my blocks. Paying attention to even small differences in colour value created a pretty nice result in my final piece. I still need to sew all the HSTs together, but I kept them organized in the layout from class.
Cheryl is such a great teacher, I’m already hoping to convince her she needs to return to the workroom for more classes! In the meantime, you can take a class with her on Craftsy or pick up a copy of Sunday Morning Quilts. Cheryl’s new book will be coming out this summer and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy!!
p.s. Cheryl wrote a really nice post about her experience teaching at the workroom here.
Here’s my second completed quilt top of the year (of 12). I’ve been wanting to try out some of the rulers from Creative Grids and got my hands on this one, Triangle Squared. Right away, I could see how wonderful these rulers are. Once I had decided on the height of my triangles, I just cut out strips of fabric (1/2″ taller than my finished triangle height) and was able to quickly cut out all my pieces. There was pretty much no waste and my cutting was very accurate. Did I say that it was quick to cut out? It really was! That alone makes me love this ruler. That top notch, in the tip of the triangle, ends being very useful when pairing your triangles together for piecing. The ruler also has a subtle texture on the bottom that prevents it from slipping around.
I randomly pieced the triangles together in pairs and then laid out all the pairs to determine a final layout. All the pairs were pieced into rows and then the rows were sewn together. I made good use of my Best Press Starch for this project to keep everything nice and flat. I was able to cut and piece this top together within the same day. I love quick projects like this!
If I was to do something similar to this in the future, I might be more deliberate with my fabric placement. I can see how you can create some wonderful secondary patterns by playing with the colour value. I just basted this quilt top the other night, so I’ll be working to finish it off in the next few weeks!
I have a new strategy when making a quilt – make one block first. So many quilt projects start off with hours or days of cutting out pieces. By the time you start sewing, you’re exhausted by the whole thing and maybe you don’t like how the fabrics look together or maybe you can figure out a more efficient way to cut or piece the blocks by doing a test block to start.
Here’s the first block for my Oh My Stars! Quilt by Sheila. I’m using mostly all Lizzy House Constellations fabrics with a few other prints mixed in for good measure. Here’s my stack of fabrics.
My thoughts about this first block? LOVE IT. This quilt won’t be quickly finished, but I’m going to have fun sewing up stars in little batches.
I have never been compelled to base a quilt around a collection of fabric, until now. This collection needs it’s very own quilt. (I have been carrying around a custom iPhone case with the Constellation Fox for well over a year in anticipation of this fabric being released!) Of course the quilt needed to be filled with lots of stars. This is a match made in heaven.
Let’s not talk about the start date of this quilt. (November 2011). Let’s just focus on the fact that it is done and that I finally gave it to my brother for Christmas this year. Wait. But, then I took it back to add the label and just gave it back to him at Easter. Oh boy. But it’s DONE!
Despite the fact that this project has spanned over a year, it was really very quick to make. (If you don’t already have 10 quilts in progress, run a small business, etc etc)
It’s a little bit crazy, but I have 3 more gift quilts in my closet that are beyond overdue. Let’s take care of that this month, shall we?
Coincidentally, my brother told me he has been thinking of getting a hedgehog, so maybe the timing is actually perfect.
The Field Study Pattern is available here!
Just in time for Spring, I’ve completed my new Learning Curves Table Runner. While I’ve sewn lots of curves in garments with sleeves, patchwork curves can be a bit daunting. This is where quilt master, Johanna Masko, always comes in to save the day. Just filter a new technique, pattern or idea through Johanna and it will come out being more efficient, logical and quick. the workroom is spoiled by her ability to simplify all things patchwork – English Paper Piecing, Machine Paper Foundation Piecing, Cathedral Windows, Double Wedding Ring Quilt, etc, etc.
This table runner is a fun and fast project. With just twenty blocks, I was able to practice my curved piecing enough to feel confident. Following Johanna’s great insight and techniques, I finally understood what to adjust to get those curves pretty perfect.
I love how this quick project can give a new look to our dining room. Note to self : make more patchwork table runners.
Next up, Johanna’s take on the Lone Star quilt. Superstar Quilt class starts tomorrow!
The Wonky Cross is such a fun quilt to make. I started it last year just before Christmas and put the quilt top together in almost one day. I wanted to make a large lap sized quilt and I wanted to use up some of my purple stash that I’d been collecting for a purple quilt. I love every single one of the fabrics in this quilt and it makes me so happy to look at.
You can find a tutorial for this block done by Elizabeth Hartman here. I made my blocks to finish at 12″ square. The one thing that makes this quilt go nice and fast is to have a square ruler! I used the biggest square I had – 12.5″ square. To cut out my initial squares, I just layered 3-4 fat quarters and cut them all at once with the square ruler. Being able to cut out all your quilt pieces in about an hour seems like a miracle to me!
I also did a very simple quilt back. Just two fabrics. What took me the longest was the hand embroidered label. My new strategy for quilt labels is to embroider them onto the quilt back before I do the quilting. This way once the quilt is quilted and bound, it is totally done. (Unlike the two finished quilts I have in my closet that need labels so I can give them away) Hopefully my embroidery skills will improve, but I really love the circular shape that I tried out.
I’m building up my confidence with free motion quilting. The last quilt I did was a small baby quilt. This quilt is about 50″ x 50″. I am still only comfortable with the same square quilting pattern. Luckily, it works with this quilt pattern. I had to do the quilting in two different sessions and next time I’ll try to get through it in one. The second time I sat down to do it, my style and spacing had changed a bit and it took me a few minutes to warm up to remembering the mechanics of the pattern. This is something no one else will ever notice, but I just thought it was interesting to note.
I did end my quilting with a little heart. Eek! Little hidden details like that give me a special thrill.
If you need a quick, fun, low pressure, little precision quilt – this is it! Check out Jacqueline’s Pearl Bracelet Wonky Cross Quilt & Katherine’s Shades of Green Wonky Cross Quilt. Since I finished this quilt top in 2012, it doesn’t count towards my 12 quilt tops in 2013 goal, but I’ve got two quilts in progress to show you next.