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A break from the break

July 15, 2015
Posted by: Pam

I couldn’t stay away! I’ve been having fun on Instagram and Facebook, but I miss the blog. Sometimes you need a few more words to go with the pics.

I took an afternoon off to do some simple sewing. It feels like I’ve been weighed down by some unfinished projects and self-imposed expectations about starting a new quilt project. I needed something fresh and quick to get me going.


Inspired by Lorna’s tutorial for bindingless quilted placemats I took one of Lori Holt’s Modern Mini panels and turned out 2 simple placemats in short order. As Erin said this morning when she saw my project, I got my craft on!


I can use a different coordinating print on the back of each — I need a set of at least six.


Here are the quilted placemats that have been waiting about 2 years for a binding … I think at this point I’ve lost interest. How do you know when it’s time to let go of your UFO and move on to something else?


February WIP

February 18, 2015
Posted by: Sharyn

This month is flying by but I’m not so much looking at the ‘to be done’ list as feeling a sense of accomplishment at a couple of completed projects.

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The first is a quilt that I pieced a year ago and then put it aside, discouraged because I ran out of the tonal white. The blue batiks were collected from too many shops to even remember. For a woman who quilts, the store bought blue coverlet on my bed is a little embarrassing, so out came the top and Kona white came to the rescue. The piano keys were tedious because I only had bits and pieces of blue left, thankfully enough to make the border. I used a variegated blue thread for the quilting (and I don’t usually like dark thread on light fabric), a feather and scroll pattern to soften the big white spaces and splurged with a silk batting. This quilt took 9 bobbins of thread and many hours on the long arm. However did people hand quilt queen size quilts?  I am in awe of anyone who still hand quilts large projects.

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The second project I completed was a simple one that I had seen on Pinterest.  I started with a mini charm pack from the Gardenvale collection and chose a soft grey and teal.  It was fun to piece, went together quickly and I tried a new chevron pattern for the quilting.  I also used a great wide backing called Text in White.  This top would be great in so many different color combos.

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And a quick peek at my red/white&black project for February from a book called Sew In Red that Pam brought in to share with us.  It is pieced but not yet quilted. I used Kona Chinese Red and one of my favorite black & white prints —Midnight Train from Tamara Kate’s Origami Oasis.  This is a baby quilt but could easily be adapted to a bigger size.  It took an hour to cut and an hour to piece.  Zebras — I love them.

As we were filling orders today we remarked on a really nice selection of fabric that someone had ordered.  We always wonder the finished projects will look like, so be sure to use your social media of choice to share photos with us!


Another year .. another quilt (or two)

January 19, 2015
Posted by: Pam

I’ll be out at the Almonte guild tonight to talk about quilting intentions for the New Year. I did something similar last year for the OMQG and posted about it here.

Tonight’s talk will touch on a lot of the same themes … organizing, finding time, learning, finishing, sharing, having fun. Did I miss anything?

I’ve got a few new links for things happening online this year. The host for the Finish-A-Long 2015 is Adrienne at On The Windy Side, and a Year of Lovely Finishes continues to be hosted by Melissa at Sew Bitter Sweet. Leanne at She Can Quilt and Nicky at Mrs. Sew and Sow started a link up for scrap quilters; look for the Scraptastic Tuesday linky party at both blogs on the second Tuesday of the month.

Pink postage stamp quilted

This pink and white postage stamp was my scrap quilt finish from 2014; 200 — 2.5″ pink squares cut from scraps with alternating white squares made this pretty quilt.

While doing my research I came across The Bee Hive at Blossom Heart Quilts. The Bee Hive is a new year-long series of quilt block tutorials (2 each month) that are perfect for quilting bees.


Another finish from 2014 — the String X Bee Quilt. I want to thank my bee mates — Lisa, Patti, Sheila, M-R, Anne-Marie, Chelsea,Shena, Carly, Dominique, Jaclyn, and Janet for their help in piecing these blocks. I’ve bowed out of the group for this year, but I had a lot of fun sewing blocks for everyone this past year.

My friend Lorna over at Sew Fresh Quilts has just started a new quilt along — and she assures me there is no paper-piecing involved! Lorna’s quilt is being made in Northcott solids, but I’m sure we can find some Kona equivalents if you’re interested in joining Lorna’s Elephant Parade.

Sew Fresh Quilts


I finished a lot of UFO’s last year, but I did not finish my City Sampler quilt (started 2013). I made some progress though, with the blocks done and the sashing started. It’s definitely a contender for first finish of 2015.


I’ve picked a Kona grey for the sashing – it might be Steel, or Medium Grey. Anyway, it seems to be working with all the blocks, and it’s so satisfying to see them framed so nicely, each one a little work of art!

And because it’s a new year, I wanted a new project to dive into at yesterday’s OMQG first sew-in of the year.


How about an easy strip quilt in a rainbow of saturated colours? I’m using a jelly roll in Fancy by Lily Ashbury with Kona White sashing, and the Skinny Strips free pattern from All People Quilt. And in spite of all the chatting and socializing, I managed to get a good start on this one.

What’s on your quilting horizon for 2015?

What I’ve been up to …

January 7, 2015
Posted by: Pam

It seems a while since I posted a WIP report, and looking back it’s been two months since I last blogged about my efforts at the sewing machine. I managed to get quite a few smaller projects completed for Christmas giving — simple French Seam pillowcases, infinity scarves and wine bottle totes have all been gifted with no photo evidence.


I did manage a couple of pics of our boxer short party — Kaisa, Sharyn, Bonnie + myself got together to sew for some of the men in our lives. We were all smitten by the Monkey Tales that showed up early in December. Sharyn provided a delicious dinner before we got started, and then we headed over to the loft for our sewing session. It was a nice way to unwind during a hectic holiday season  …


Remember these?

ColorTherapy BOM

I finished the sashing for the Color Therapy quilt, and between Sharyn and my mom it’s been quilted and bound, and is now on display in the loft.


This twin-size quilt may eventually find a permanent home on one of our beds at home — I’m still loving the color combinations in this big block quilt!

I also managed to sneak a little sewing time in between Christmas and New Year. These abandoned blocks turned up while sorting through some scraps while my mom was visiting. I made them from Ashley’s quartered square tutorial at Film In The Fridge ages ago, but wasn’t thrilled with the colours I chose. So they’ve sat in a box until now, and have been rescued as a project for Victoria’s Quilts Canada.


And now I think it doesn’t look half bad!

Last minute quick to make gift idea

December 10, 2014
Posted by: Sharyn

If someone you know is getting an e-reader or tablet for Christmas here’s a quick cover that I made for my own tablet.  I  had sewn the sample fabric folders for our recent Handmade for the Holidays event and decided to adapt the pattern to fit this smaller device.




Here are the fabrics that I chose: two fat quarters of linen,
plus a medium-heavy weight interfacing.




Here are the instructions:

1.  Measure the tablet or e-reader.  Mine is pretty standard at 6.5 x 9.5.
From the outside cover fabric (arrows) cut a piece 18 x 11, and four 2.5 squares
(these are used for the corners that hold the tablet in place).
From the inside fabric (brown polka dot) cut one piece 15 x 10.5,
one piece 18 x 1.5 and one piece 10.5 x 1.
From the interfacing cut one piece 14.5 x 10.


Sharyn-folder-outside              Sharyn-folder-inside


2.  With wrong side up on the outside fabric, press a 3″ fold on the left side and hem the raw edge. Fold the four corner squares on the diagonal and press.  Then, right side out, position the triangles to the inside fabric, starting on the right hand side and matching raw edges.  I used my device to measure the correct spot for the two left hand triangles which is in fact the middle of the fabric. Once again match the raw edges top and bottom.  Baste all four corners in place.




3.  Press the long edges of the 10.5 x 1 piece and place this down the centre covering the raw edges of the two triangles.  Sew down both sides.


4.  Put the two pieces right sides together leaving the flap edge free.  Starting at the flap fold line sew around the other 3 sides.
Clip the corners and turn.  Press and top stitch if you wish.




5.  Insert the piece of interfacing and fold the flap piece over.  I slip stitched the top and bottom edge in place but you could also do this with a top stitch by machine.


6. For the fastening strap I pressed a quarter inch seam and stitched around all sides rather than fussing with turning a stitched tube.  I secured it to the cover with one small row of stitching on the outside spine and added Velcro to each.  Done!


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This really only took one hour to make and
I loved working with this linen.  It was easy to sew and press.

Have fun making your own tablet cover!


WIP Wednesday – Jersey Knit Scarf

December 3, 2014
Posted by: admin

Yep, you saw that correctly – I made another scarf!
(I kind of have a thing for scarves, can you tell?)

I was searching DIY Scarf videos on YouTube and decided to make
something like the stretchy blue one seen here:

I liked the curled edges, and thought it would be a quick, easy project.

While Laur’s scarf was ‘no-sew’, I wanted to give mine a ‘proper finish’. Since this was my first time handling a knit, I had to start by doing a bit of research. In the end I had to use a regular needle and foot, but I can see how the ball point needle, walking foot, and a serger would all be beneficial.

Of our three jersey knits, I adore NY Circuit in Ashen the most!


ny circuit


To make the scarf, I simply cut off a generous half-yard, trimmed all the sides,
and joined the short edges in a seam.

Creating the scarf was not quite as easy as I anticipated. Knits are tricky. And, the design wasn’t printed precisely perpendicular to the selvedge, so after some fussing I broke down and cut the fabric according to the mat, rather than the design.




My scarf is about 56 inches around, since I used the width of fabric. You can see it’s too big to wear without looping, but twice around is perfectly cozy and sleek.




Well, there you have it: a scarf that is SEW EASY to make!
Definitely a gift that is inexpensive, quick and fun.

Happy holidays, everybody!!


WIP Wednesday – Kaisa Quilts

November 19, 2014
Posted by: admin

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein.

My motto this month was certainly ‘try new things, make mistakes, and learn a lot’.




Sharyn very generously offered to teach me how to use her Gammill quilting machine. I layered some Snow Flannel, batting, and a Holidays Panel (now on sale) to make a simple project that doubles as a shop sample. Initially, I pinned it all down too loosely, clamped the backing with too much bunching, and wound the roller too tightly. After all that was sorted out, we got the machine going on a sophisticated snowflake pattern that I think complements the panel nicely.




Unfortunately, I made a big mistake when it came time to roll the quilt to cover the second half. Too eager, I un-clamped and rolled the quilt before ‘registering’ the next starting point. As a result, there is a big bunch in part of the quilt. With a few tumbles in the washing machine it may become less noticeable… right?


My wrinkly quilt coming off the Gammill.

I then learned how to make binding. Ohhh my, what a process.
I had to unpick or cut and re-sew numerous times – even after checking that the angle directions were correct. Thanks to Mum for all her patience during that lesson.




All in all, I tried a few things, made a LOT of mistakes, and learned a bit in the process.

* * *

In other project news…

Mom had a fabulous idea for scarves: mix our plaid flannel with floral Regent Street lawn. Look at how well these match!


Mm-mmmm, so fresh and cozy.

So, I cashed in on my learned knowledge from last month. Remember when it took me 5-6 hours to make my first infinity scarf? This blue one took me only two hours from start to finish. I’m really proud of my improved speed, and I love my new flannel scarf. Once washed, the lawn and flannel are super soft.




Feeling inspired? Pam liked the scarves so much that we’re making exclusive Mad About Patchwork infinity scarf KITS! They’ll be released in time for our special event,
Handmade for the Holidays, on November 29th.

Stay warm out there,

WIP Wednesday – Kaisa’s Scarf

October 22, 2014
Posted by: admin

I have successfully completed my first clothing project!!

When we received Leah Duncan’s Gramercy collection, I fell in love and knew I had to make something for myself.  Inspired by Laura’s students and Anna Maria Horner’s Figure 8 Scarf, I decided to make a scarf. Mom guided me through the project.




If you begin with a two-yard piece (for the length around), you can cut your WOF in half or thirds. I decided to start by cutting off a third, giving me a 14″ width scarf. That way, if I found my scarf too slim I could go back and make a second one at 18″. If I did like the final width, then I’d still have enough fabric for two more scarves!
(And ohhhh do I ever have plans for those bits of fabric; You better snag your Gramercy yardage before I clear out the shop!)


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I learned a lot of new things with this project: how to thread a bobbin (so that’s the purpose of that little knob); the side and direction of my pins matter; and, it’s important to remember to select my stitch size. That last lesson was learnt after sewing my first edge. Fortunately, I didn’t have to pick it back but it did make the seam slightly bulkier when I ironed it down later on.


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A few decisions needed to be made when it came to closing up the ends. I machine sewed the ‘outer’ (light blue) fabric ends together. As for the last (yellow) seam, I didn’t machine sew it down because I wanted the scarf to be a tube – I felt that would allow for better volume, and it would just look better than having a flat section of scarf. That left hand stitching. I went with a slip stitch to make it as discreet as possible, and I’m pleased with my end result.




HINT: When hand stitching, it’s too easy to catch the other piece of fabric. Mom had a brilliant solution: simply place a piece of cardboard between the two layers! You just have to remember to slip it out before you close up the seam.




All in all, the scarf took me 5-6 hours over two days – and that was with assistance! It was relatively easy, but I can see a lot of mistakes I would have made without my mother’s guidance. If you’d like to make your own scarf, I highly recommend Laura’s class: Sew With Me Infinity Scarf. She has classes for different ages at different times.



Et voilà, my Gramercy infinity scarf!
The Art Gallery fabric is lightweight and so soft.


What I’m working on – Pam

October 8, 2014
Posted by: Pam

Not a lot of sewing time in September, unfortunately. But I did finish 2 more Schoolhouse Tunics.

Schoolhouse Tunic

I love this pattern! No button, no zips, so it’s easy to make. And a wonderful way to show off your favourite prints. This one is from Grey Abbey by Elizabeth Olwen for Cloud 9; her new collection is Wildwood and equally lovely.


My Dowry version. Pattern is currently out of stock, but should be in by next week.


This is a Union Jack block (free pattern from Tracyjay Quilts) for my Canadians Quilt bee-mate. Partially paper-pieced it wasn’t too difficult, but I was having trouble following Janet’s very clear directions on fabric choice. She requested no solids or tone-on-tones, which meant the first two blocks I made weren’t suitable. I obviously need to slow down a bit before I jump in. Still, I was happy to make this block and now I have two perfectly wonderful orphan blocks to turn into a mini quilt or pillow.

Now that the OMQG is back in action I’m hoping to take advantage of the sew-in days to get some serious sewing machine time. My City Sampler blocks still need sashing and I’m working on blocks for the Color Therapy quilt. I’d also like to complete some smaller projects (too ambitious?) to share next month.


Until then.

Laura’s Oliver + S Fairy Tale Dress

September 10, 2014
Posted by: Laura

On Sunday we celebrated my daughter’s third birthday with a fabulous outdoor party on a lovely day. She likes pink.  She likes horses.  She likes sprinkles, and we had it all.  The main highlight, other than our beautiful girl of course, was her dress.  I used the Oliver + S Fairy Tale Dress Pattern (View A) and put it together with some spectacular Heather Ross Far Far Away Unicorns in purple.  I’ve made some other Oliver + S patterns before and I love that they are easy to follow, well explained and have lots of diagrams to check as you go along.  The dress is fully lined and features gathered tulip sleeves, a fitted bodice, gathered skirt, accent belt and peter pan collar.


Although it took longer than anticipated, it was all worth it.  And now she has a unicorn dress found in the best of fairy tales. I’m already wondering if next year I can convince her to have an Alice in Wonderland tea party and make her another of these in blue…Only time will tell!


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