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Sunday Morning Sewing

April 27, 2014
Posted by: Laura

It’s Sunday morning and I’m going to sew.  I’m going to leave the vacuuming and the laundry and plunk myself down in front of my sewing machine with a a hot cup of tea.  Partly because I have some deadlines before this evening’s Ottawa Modern Quilt Guild meeting and partly because I’m in desperate need of some “me” time.  I think the latter is more the case.

Do you have a favourite sewing day of the week?  For me, Sundays are my sweet spot.  I welcome them with open arms.  They are the only day of the week that I’m not flying solo with the kids or teaching.  So I thought it must be fate when I came across the book Sunday Morning Quilts by Cheryl Arkison and Amanda Jean Nyberg a few years ago.

Sunday Morning Quilts

When I saw the front cover, I was smitten.  That title.  And that quilt. I knew I had to make one…Just. Like. It.  And so I did. Or sort of, anyways.  I used that quilt for inspiration and came up with this quilt for my son when he moved into his big boy bed.  I’m not one to follow patterns, but I bought the book because it is chalk full of inspiration and serious eye candy, and it was too good to pass up.  Many of the quilts featured in the book now have a spot on my never-ending to-do list.

Quilt Close-Up

Big Boy Quilt

What’s your favourite quilting or sewing book?  Do you follow the patterns or just gaze longingly at the pictures?  Do you have any books on your wishlist?  How would you like a discount on those books?  The last time I was over at Pam’s, I was surprised to learn she offers 20-25% off sewing and quilting books and can get almost any of them ordered in.  So I thought I would pass along this information.  It seems too good to keep to myself.

Quilting intentions for a New Year

January 6, 2014
Posted by: Pam

At the OMQG meeting last week I presented some ideas to get the quilting New Year off to a great start. I promised some links and so here are a few of the things we talked about.

I always like to take a moment to get organized at the beginning of the year. Take a good look at those UFO’s and decide which ones you’re ready to tackle, and which ones you’ve truly lost interest in. I suggested getting rid of those, either by swapping with a friend, or donating to a charity (Quilts of Valour, Victoria’s Quilts are two suggestions).

While you’re working your way through that pile of UFO’s you can challenge yourself and connect with other bloggers doing the same. Check out A Lovely Year of Finishes 2014 at Sew BitterSweet or Finish-A-Long 2014 at the Littlest Thistle.

It’s also a good time to organize your stash and scraps, especially if you’re planning a fabric diet. If you’re planning to do a lot of stash-busting, Bonnie Hunter’s Quiltville is a perennially popular site full of great ideas on how to use up all those scraps.

My scrappy trips quilt from last year, from Bonnie’s tutorial.

We also talked about learning new techniques. There are lots of places to find classes, from your local quilt shop to a number of online options. If you like the interaction with a teacher and fellow classmates, and can schedule the time, look at the class options at your local shop. If you like to do your learning whenever you can squeeze it in, look at some online options. Craftsy has lots of video classes to suit a wide range of interests; Creative Bug is another great source for online classes. Rachel Hauser at Stitched in Color reaches her students online through private blogs; she has a new Color Intensive class starting in February that looks interesting.

How about finding or making time to sew? I know that’s become a real issue for me. Ideally I’d sew every day, but that doesn’t always work out. Instead, I make sewing dates with friends, or sign up for sew-in days with the guild. I find I get a lot done when I’m out of the house and can dedicate time and attention to my projects.

These Shelburne Falls strip blocks were perfect for taking to retreats and sew-in days. I took them with me to a number of different venues last year, and was able to finish 48 blocks in the year. I dropped it off at Joan’s for long-arm quilting in December, and it will likely be my first finish for 2014.

If you’re a blogger, you can share your projects and connect with other bloggers through link-ups like WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced, or The Needle and Thread Network. There’s also Fabric Tuesday at QuiltStory and TGIFF (Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday!) with a number of different hosts.

And when your project is finished, why not show it off to the world? The Bloggers Quilt Festival at Amy’s Creative Side runs twice a year to coincide with Quilt Market – there’s no judging, but prizes are awarded by peer nomination and voting. And for the first time, Quilt Canada’s National Juried Show includes a category for modern quilts … The deadline for entries is January 31st, so there’s no time to lose.

Memories from Austin was my favourite finish from last year. The trip to QuiltCon was certainly a highlight, full of inspiration and learning. I’ll definitely be there in 2015. It would be fun to go away again this year … how about The Fat Quarterly Retreat (UK in July) or Sewing Summit (Utah in September)?

Don’t forget to get started on some fun new projects too!  Classic Meets Modern at Sew At Home Mummy and Quilty Fun from Lori Holt are just a couple of quilt-alongs getting started in January.

I’ve still got twenty blocks to go on the City Sampler Quilt Along from last year … another on my list to finish this year. What will you be working on this year?


Internet happenings for July

July 15, 2013
Posted by: Pam

I try to spend at least a few hours a week keeping up with all the wonderful things happening in our internet community – through blogs, as well as flickr and Pinterest.  These are just a few of the things that caught my eye in the past few weeks.

First up is Cheryl Arkison’s initiative to donate quilts for those affected by last month’s flooding in Calgary and Southern Alberta. Cheryl’s asking for 15.5″ slabs (instructions here) and she’s got people ready to turn them into quilts once they get to her.  The Poole Creek Quilters jumped on this (thanks to Lori and Leslie) with enough slabs completed for almost 2 full quilts.

The deadline is July 31, so there’s still lots of time. (It doesn’t take long to put one of these together).

I saw Cinzia’s post on the weekend, and wanted to help get the word out. Courtepointe Claire in Montreal has taken the initiative to rally support for the community of Lac Megantique in the same manner that Berene Campbell did for the residents of Boston earlier this year with her “To Boston With Love” project.

A deadline of August 24th has been set for the collection of the flags, and you can find  all the details for this project on Cinzia’s post at deux petites souris.

I’ve been a fan of Jolene’s style  for quite a while. She has an amazing colour sensibility, and makes beautiful uncomplicated quilts which always inspire (remember last year’s granny square craze?) Lucky for us, she’s starting a learn to quilt series aimed at beginner quilters. She’s already finished two posts on acquiring fabrics.

You can find a half yard bundle of Jolene’s favourite basics in the shop – Kona in Natural, Stone, Snow and Aqua; shot cotton in Aqua, Tobacco, Tangerine and Persimmon.

And finally, Rachel at Stitched in Color has been busy getting her Penny Sampler Class ready. Don’t you just love this quilt? You can see the inspiration behind the Penny Sampler in the Prelude and check the FAQ for more details.

Registration for this online class opens July 22nd, and I have a feeling it will fill quickly. So tempting … this may be one that I just can’t resist!

Then and Now

November 20, 2012
Posted by: Pam

A finished quilt … and this one is for me!

You’ve already seen it in progress here, but I finished the binding last week and have been sleeping well under it ever since. I used Tuscany Silk batting, which has a lovely weight and drape for a large quilt. The pattern is Wonky Roman Triangles from Modern Block Party, the fabric is Kaffe Fassett and shot cotton from Westminster.

Check out the back  – lots of negative space and some wonky strip piecing work well as a modern quilt.

And here’s the quilt that I’m retiring from the bed.

This is my first quilt. Look at those colours! It was a Thimbleberries BOM called Safe Haven. I liked breaking it down to one block a month when I was just starting out, and learned a lot about piecing as I put it together. Finishing had me stuck for a while (well over a year) but some quilting neighbours bailed me out by showing me how to trim my blocks and measure for sashing and borders. It was quilted edge-to-edge, which I regret now, but it will always have a special place in my heart as my very first finish.

(The giveaway is now closed)

I’m going to do a mystery giveaway … just leave a comment telling me how long you’ve been quilting, or sewing. Do you know where your first quilt is? I’ll let you know what I’m giving away later this week … maybe next … but here’s a hint.

A bounty of quilts

October 3, 2012
Posted by: Pam

I spent the weekend at Quilts for all Seasons – a quilt show and sale hosted by the 30 or so members of QuiltCo. It was a spectacular bounty of quilts all made by the talented members of the group. And then on Monday I picked up my own small bounty of quilts.

Six of them, all quilted and ready for binding. One of the common threads that runs through my chats with other quilters is “the finish” – many of us have a large number of works in progress, or quilt tops sewn but not quilted. That was the inspiration for M-R (of Quilt Matters) and Laura (of Quokka Quilts) to start TGIFF (Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday).

And now they are celebrating their first anniversary with OctoberQuest – you can find all the details here. But the gist of it is you are encouraged to finish a project (or 2, or 3) and enter in any of the Friday linky parties in October. For every finished project entered you will get a chance to win 1 of 2 $50 gift certificates from Mad About Patchwork.

I will be participating in spirit – my goal is to finish the binding on all 6 of my quilts by the end of the month. I’ll share each of them with you as they are done. Good luck with your own finishes!

I almost forgot – use the code TGIFF10 to save 10% on your purchases in October!

Quilts from solids

February 24, 2012

Have you been following along over at The Modern Quilt Guild? There’s been a lovely parade of modern quilts since January, along with notes from the featured quiltmaker. This week is showcasing quilts made with solids, which is definitely worth a look.

This is my own modest collection of quilts made from Robert Kaufman Kona cotton solids. From left to right: Cherry Fizz, Sliced Fruit, Foreign Currency, Off Your Rocker and Quartered Squares.

Never tried a quilt in all solids? With so many colors available, the possibilities are endless, from modern baby quilts to wall art to bed size quilts. There are lots of ways to get started. I’ve got charms, jelly rolls and fat quarter bundles in case inspiration strikes. I can custom cut charms and rolls if you need a particular color for your project and want to save some cutting time. Or I’ve got kits from Cherry House Quilts and Carolina Patchworks if you like to work with patterns and colors from designers who know their stuff.

How about this graphic zig zag quilt? The pattern is free from Moda, and uses an easy no-triangle construction method from 2.5″ strips and 5″ charms. Choose your favorite colors and let me cut your strips and squares for you!!

What colors would you choose?

Quilt Highlights from 2011

January 10, 2012
Posted by: Pam

It’s always interesting to look back at the year gone by to see what stands out. Here’s a list of some of my favorite quilty moments from 2011.

In January I came across this binding tutorial from Rita who blogs at Red Pepper Quilts. Now I know how to get a nice smooth binding all the way around (after years of not quite getting it right!)

The Cherry House Quilt Along in February was the impetus for a small group of friends to meet weekly to learn how to quilt. Bonnie, Sandra, Millie, Astrid & I finished our quilts, and continued to meet for show and tell the rest of the year. Now we’re trying to get organized for a more ambitious sampler project in 2012.

I subscribed to Fat Quarterly, a fantastic e-zine that publishes 4 times a year, with a bonus issue last fall. Full of great projects and ideas for modern quilters, delivered straight to your inbox! I also discovered their quilt along from 2008, which was a great way to use some jelly roll strips I had on hand.

I became a convert to Aurifil thread, using a heavier 28 wt for machine quilting and a lighter 50 wt for piecing. Bytowne Threads right here in Stittsville is my supplier. I also switched from grey to beige for piecing after seeing Grace Whiting’s presentation at the Kanata Quilt Guild. The beige blends better with the lighter colors I favor, and is less likely to show a shadow through the stitched seam.

Quilt Ontario took place in London at the end of May, and it was a truly memorable experience. I met many wonderful people from all across the country. It was the first time I’ve seen a juried quilt show, and I was blown away by all the quilting talent to be found here in Canada. I’m already looking forward to Quilt Canada in Halifax later this year.

In June, Kate Conklin’s fun slack and stash tutorial inspired me to make this black and white beauty, one of my favorite finishes from the year. I’d love to try more of Kate’s patterns, which are available as PDF downloads at Kate Conklin Designs.

After all the busy-ness of the winter and spring, things slowed down a bit for the summer. I ordered in a crop of new-ish quilting books for the shop, and thoroughly enjoyed going through them all. Block Party – The Modern Quilting Bee by Alissa Haight Carleton and Kristen Lejnieks stands out as a particular favorite, and I’ve started work on a quilt top using one of the blocks shown in the book (which I promise to share soon).

The best thing about August is always our family vacation at Red Pine Camp. It’s been part of our summer for 13 years now, and I can’t imagine a better place to kick back and relax. This year I brought along a newly finished quilt for my bunk. The fabric from Denyse Schmidt and the pattern from Jaybird quilts was a winning combination!

The Mad About Patchwork summer sew-along finished up in September … 7 projects in 6 weeks. You can find links for all the projects here.

I was off to Toronto in October for another Creativ Festival. In spite of the travel and long hours, I always enjoy the opportunity to meet my customers from south-western Ontario.

Two weeks after I got home from Toronto, I was back on the 401, this time to visit the London Friendship Quilt Guild. I set up shop and also showed some quilts at their regular Thursday night meeting, and then taught a workshop on Saturday (a first for me!) I even made some new friends, as often seems to happen whenever quilters get together.

December is sometimes a difficult month to get any real work done as preparations for Christmas take over. I did manage to squeeze in my own version of quilt-til-you-wilt to finish off a number of small projects. I also signed up with Pinterest, an online pinboard to “organize and share the things you love.” I think it’s going to prove very useful for keeping track of all the interesting things I come across when browsing the internet.

And that’s about it … 2011 was a terrific year, and I’m looking forward to more in 2012!


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