I’ve known Alison aka Coriander Girl since I opened the workroom. She was the first friend I made at the shop. She took my very first Sewing Machine Essentials class. She kept me company over lots of lunches in those early quiet days. Soon after she opened the wildly successful flower shop, Coriander Girl. Now that we’re busy business ladies, we don’t lunch as often as we’d like, but we still make time for important catch up sessions (over scones with jam) and nights of guilty pleasures (The Bachelor!).
I was overjoyed to hear that she was having a baby many months ago. Even more so that it was going to be a girl! That gave me the green light to make her a pastel dream of a quilt. I decided to use the Fiesta Wall Quilt from Quilting Modern as my guide. The book sample is only 24″x24″, so I just doubled all the measurements and ended up with a quilt that was 50″x50″. I had so much fun choosing fabrics for this project. Using a palette of apricot, linen, white and aqua I went through our recent arrivals and my stash to pull these cheerful prints. Besides all the florals (of course), I also snuck in several different bunny prints that I knew Alison would love finding.
The quilt was fun to sew. I really recommend the pattern and really the whole book. I’m very inspired by the projects in Quilting Modern and have bookmarked a few more of them for future projects. I hope to make more improv style quilts this year, so this was the perfect start to that.
This project was also really fun to quilt. I decided to do a random straight line grid. I’ve fallen in love with the Clover Hera Marker and it makes straight line quilting so quick and easy. I love being able to mark my quilts without the use of tape or any kind of mark on the fabric. The Hera Marker simply makes a crease on the fabric that is very visible that you can sew over. No need to worry about your marks damaging your quilt or not washing away.
Alison’s baby shower was yesterday at her sweet church house in Frankford, Ontario. It was a beautiful day, filled with gorgeous flowers, handmade gifts, delicious food (tacos & trifle!), happy tears and a room full of ladies who love Alison. It was perfect.
More photos of Alison’s shower are posted here.
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.
Chunky Twinkle Yarn by Wenlan
This is the first knit project I’ve ever posted on here! I started this Maximus Cowl over two years ago at Sewing Summit. I made good progress while we were in Salt Lake City, I had so many great knitters (Amanda & Amanda) around me on that trip! Somehow when I came home, I tucked the project away and could never manage to muster the courage to pick it up again. I pulled it out again in January and was determined to finish it up, once and for all!
I don’t consider myself a knitter, but I did learn to knit ages ago. I’m very comfortable doing basic knitting, but I’ve never progressed into anything too complicated. When I see the incredible shawls and socks that my friends are making, I’m really quite in awe.
The most intimidating part of this project was the finishing. I just dreaded the mysterious ‘3 needle bind off’. When I put a call out regarding this last step, Natalie answered with the promise of her guidance. It really wasn’t that bad and actually it was a really cool technique!
Dare I say that I might like to knit another simple cowl?! Any thoughts on some great/simple cowl patterns that you like?
Simplicity 2215 Skirt Pattern
nani IRO canvas
photos taken at the NH Excelsior Hotel in Siena, Italy
Our trip to Italy was almost a month ago now and I’ve yet to post any photos from my DSLR. There are SO MANY! I really just need to spend one entire day going through and editing them before too much time passes by. I thought I’d post up some smaller bits to start.
This simplicity skirt pattern is one of my favourites! I have a few other pieces of fabric set aside to make this pattern in again. I just can’t resist the uneven pleats and the pockets.
This fabric might look familiar. Yes, it’s true. I already have a Birdie Sling in this same nani IRO fabric, but I really love it and felt like I also needed to make a piece of clothing with it. I laid out the pattern so that the hem of the skirt is actually the selvedge of the fabric so that I could include all the lovely text and the fringe.
Siena was one of my favourite parts of our trip. I promise more photos of the actual city soon!
I’m a bit embarrassed. I just looked to see how long ago it was that I made my last Birdie Sling Bag and it was just about two years ago. This is mostly embarrassing if you could see the state that the bag is in right now. The handle has almost disintegrated for starters and it’s rather faded and quite dirty. I use my Birdie Sling every day, I can’t seem to live without it. I’m a little surprised it’s taken me this long to make a replacement Birdie, but I’m rather picky about my fabric choices for this bag.
I have yet to show you, but I made a pretty skirt out of this same nani IRO fabric. The more I looked at it, the more I thought it would be an awesome Birdie Sling. For the last few months I’ve had a piece just waiting to find it’s matching handle & lining fabrics. With all the fabric coming through the doors of the workroom right now, I can’t believe I didn’t find a match sooner.
Sunday afternoon, I had a sewing date with Katherine who announced she was making a Birdie Sling for our upcoming trip to Italy. Drat! I wanted to make one too. I had no choice but to shop my stash at home and find something that would work. I ending up deciding to just use a stripe fabric I got at Sultan’s Fine Fabrics (meant for a dress) as just the bands and using the same nani IRO print for both the body of the bag and the handle. For the lining, I used a Japanese fabric I bought at Fancy Tiger when we went to the Makerie.
I always add an inside zippered pocket to my Birdie Slings. I like to have a secure area. Especially when traveling. Check out our Birdie Sling class photos for more inspiration.
Katherine & I are headed to Italy to go to Squam Italia. We’re going early to tour around since neither of us has been there before. If anyone out there has any favourite places to stay, eat, drink, shop, buy fabric, taste wine or anything we shouldn’t miss – we’d love your suggestions. We’re flying into Rome, then heading North to Siena, then Florence, then over to the east coast to a small town called Morro D’Oro for Squam. We leave on Monday. EEK!!!
Near the start of our trip to Madison, I popped into Joann’s to have a peek at their fabric. I left with a small stack of fabrics, all by Denyse Schmidt. As I was leaving the store, I realized they looked really lovely together as a set and they also reminded me of Maisy. I decided that Maisy needed a quilt, so that when we’re traveling, she’ll always have something familiar to lay on. I didn’t have a set plan, so I just decided to improv the design. It’s the first quilt I’ve made that has been completely improvisational. I decided to just do wonky strips to create blocks that were about 9″ x 10″ and then started to sew. As the blocks came together, I let the process tell me what to do next. Almost all the fabrics in the quilt are from Madison with a few strips of fabric from home thrown in that I had brought with me. I had a hard time figuring out the layout of the blocks, but I really like the lighter blue squares in the middle of the quilt.
For the back, I had the idea to do a scrappy strip along the middle. I also thought it would be fun to piece the letter ‘M’. I drafted out a simple design for it and used my Machine Paper Foundation Piecing skills. It totally worked! My final touch was to hand embroider Maisy’s name with the year just beside the ‘M’.
The batting is from the workroom and was hand delivered by Jacqueline, who came to visit us for a couple days. I was able to sew the binding onto the quilt during our drive home to Toronto. I used the same navy fabric for the binding with just a small strip of orange for a little pop.
This quilt marks so many hours of our trip and holds all of the feelings I was having while sewing it. I’m really happy with how it turned out, it seems to be just perfectly Maisy.
About two months ago, we discovered that Maisy had a high grade soft tissue sarcoma. Cancer. We were sent to the University of Guelph for more tests and to speak to an Oncology team. While University of Guelph is the best place for treatment in Ontario, we were told that our only curative treatment option for Maisy was in Madison, Wisconsin. We were recommended to take her for a month long radiation treatment at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. We made up our minds pretty quickly that we wanted Maisy to have the best care and the best chance possible. We packed up the car and drove out to Wisconsin within a few days. We had absolutely no idea what to expect from this trip. Our month in Madison was heartbreaking, fun, sad, quiet, tiring, full of discovery, love and adventure. I will never forget all those days we were able to spend together as a family.
I think the photos tell the full story best. The entire Madison photo set is here.
The UW School of Veterinary Medicine is an incredible facility that is highly regarded for a reason. They are the best. We are so thankful to them for their loving care of Maisy while she was with them. Maisy has pet insurance and we know now that it is the best one out there. Trupanion.
We are back home now in Toronto. Maisy’s next stages of treatment will continue back at University of Guelph. It’s good to be home.
Simplicity 2215 Skirt Version
Reproduction print from the Manchester Collection by Nancy Gere
Photographed in a corn field behind Black Walnut Chalet, Mount Horeb, WI
This skirt has been in the works for a month or so. I brought it along on this trip because the only thing I had left to do was to hem it and sew a button and buttonhole for the side closure. Sometimes those pesky last details are so difficult to get motivated to finish off!
This pattern is the skirt version of the dress I made in Jay McCarroll’s Purple Drop Cloth. I knew when I made that dress that the skirt was just perfect on it’s own. I love the pockets and all the lovely random pleating in this pattern. I have another version already cut and serged using nani IRO.
The fabric is a reproduction print by Nancy Gere. I love the fine lines and interesting motifs you find in many reproductions. This one was apparently originally printed in Manchester, England.
We are past the half way mark on our trip now. We’ll be coming home in just over a week. Still time for a few more adventures and a bit more sewing.
Summer seems like a dream, but I’ve been meaning to tell you about three rainy days of sewing bliss I had at Jacqueline‘s cottage at the middle of August.
In a nutshell : 5 girls, 2 dogs, 4 Berninas, 2 irons, 14 rulers, 7 pairs of scissors, 5 rotary cutters, lots of good food and sewing from morning til night.
See all the photos here. Next summer can’t come soon enough.
Here’s my improv patchwork from Sewing Summit. Half the scraps for this came from Amanda and the other half came from Lizzy, who let me & Katherine dip into her collection for some bits we wanted for our stash. I really like sewing with other people’s fabrics. It’s fun to sew with fabric that I might not normally use.
I’ve been a bit afraid of free motion quilting. Okay, ALOT afraid. So far all the machine quilting that I’ve done has been straight lines, using a walking foot. I mean, after all the time that I’ve spent putting together a quilt, the last thing I want to do is ruin it with some bad quilting. This is why I knew I had to sign up for the Free Motion Quilting class at the Sewing Summit.
Our teacher, Alison, showed us lots of examples of different styles of quilting and quilts that she had done. She gave us some tips and gave demos on her technique. Then we just had to go for it. We had quilt sandwiches to practice on. This is definitely the best way to learn. Practice on little fake mini quilt sandwiches! There was a lot of wonky stitching on my practice mini, but I really liked the look of the overlapping square pattern, so I kept practicing that pattern over and over. Finally, I just decided to just go for it. SCARY! If you look really closely, this quilting is hardly perfect. But it was really exciting to finally let go and stop worrying about how perfect my little squares are. From a distance, it looks pretty good. Of course, now I want to do all kinds of free motion. I’m going to stick to mini quilts for now, but I can’t wait til I am ready to tackle a larger quilt. Bring it on FREE MOTION!