Wednesday, December 7, 2011

WIP Wednesday

It's been a very productive week for me! I've finished off two projects and it feels great.

1) Kona challenge bookshelf miniquilt: sleeve added, binding finished, label added.

2) Equilateral triangle and patchwork squares potholders for VMQG-FVMQG swap: started and completed in four days.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Kona challenge quilt finished!

Sophie with my completed Kona challenge quilt

Cross one project off the WIP list - I've finished my Kona challenge miniquilt! I used Don't Call Me Betsy's bookshelf quilt tutorial to create "Nancy's Library" for my Aunt Nancy who retired this year from a career as a librarian. It's finally complete and I'll send it off in the mail asap.

Back in March (right when I was welcoming baby Ellie into the world), the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild announced they'd be participating in Robert Kaufman's Kona cotton challenge. Each quilter was given a dark charm pack (43 five inch squares) and challenged to make a quilt adding only solids. I made sure they saved a charm pack for me as I was determined to play along. I didn't get anything done for the big reveal at our one year anniversary meeting in June, but I did manage to have my quilt ready for show and tell at our August meeting.

The dark colours reminded me of book bindings, so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to make a bookshelf quilt. Since the pieces were only five by five, I had to piece every single book using three to seven pieces. Observant Harry Potter fans may notice a few familiar spines. 

The state of my quilt as of August, 2011 (note stray threads and binding pinned down)

Since all the fun stuff was done, this is where the quilt sat for months. Finally, I pulled it out at the November sew-in and added the sleeve (thanks to Terry for giving me some tips about pulling the sleeve up a quarter inch before hand stitching it down to allow for a hanging rod!) and stitched down the binding. Now, I only had to add the label. I really wanted to continue the library theme and make the label an old school paper due date card. This is what I came up with:

Here are a few pictures of the finished quilt: 

Book titles (thanks to Dean for mentioning I was about to fuse them on upside down!) read:
Red Letter Day by Lizzy House (because retirement is a red letter day!)
It's a Hoot by Momo
Sophie's Garden (a nod to my daughter, Sophie)
Flights of Fancy by Paula Prass
Central Park by Kate Spain (in honour of our family's frequent trips to NYC)

Quilt back complete with hanging sleeve, label, and every square inch of the remainder of the charm pack

Label detail

Books detail

Kona cotton charm pack (dark)
Assorted selvages fused on with Wonder Under
Kona snow as background
Kona coffee (mmm, sounds yummy!) for bookshelf and binding
Cotton/bamboo blend batting
Quilting: outlines just inside each book as well as around the tops of all the books

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Potholder progress

The current state of my potholder 
(sorry for the bad photo, it's a dark and rainy night here in Vancouver)

After carefully (I thought!) going through all my works in progress in order to write my first WIP Wednesday post, I neglected to list the potholders, my most time-sensitive WIP! This is why I need a list!

Here in the Lower Mainland, we're lucky to have two modern quilt guilds, the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild and the Fraser Valley Modern Quilt Guild. To build community between the two groups, we're having our first VMQG-FVMQG Swap this fall. We're making two potholders for our partners and the deadline to send them is November 30th. 

I've been going back and forth about my design for weeks but have finally settled on something I've been wanting to try for a long time - equilateral triangles. I've cut enough triangles for one potholder and now I just need to piece them together. I'm thinking I'll do them in strips but wondering if I need to press the seams after every triangle. Does anyone have any tips?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

WIP Wednesday

At the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild Sew-in on Sunday, I told Amy I was planning on joining in on WIP Wednesdays, so I thought I'd better live up to my word and write this post!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

My sewing space

I loved the idea of checking in on my works in progress, but I didn't have a list of them and I was starting to feel scattered. The other night, I sat down and broke down my projects into three categories: 
1) Works in progress
2) Planned projects that aren't started yet
3) Wish list for when I have oodles of free time (aka never)

Here are the details:

1) Works in Progress (8):
  •  Kona challenge bookshelf miniquilt (binding finished, just needs label)

  • Colour wheel quilt (rainbow wedges are cut)

  • Habitat challenge double diamonds baby quilt (quilt top is pieced)

  • Red and Aqua Bee square in square quilt (quilt blocks arrived in Spring 2011)
  • Little Folks voile patchwork quilt for me (fabric cut into squares)
  • Spring Garden Rainbow baby quilt (blocks made but I don't like them)
  • Strip-pieced picnic quilt (I've cut a few strips of old fabrics)
  • Paper-pieced hexagons (basted a couple dozen hexagons)

 2) Materials/pattern purchased, no work started (10):
  • Gift for someone who reads my blog
  • Ditto
  • Ditto
  • Ditto
  • Gift for VMQG holiday exchange (December 15, 2011)

  • Busytown pillowcase for Sophia (Christmas 2011)
  • Log cabin pincushion from kit I won at November VMQG meeting
  • Ladybug costume for Sophia from fleece
  • Gift bag for Grandma Lou using Xmas fabric she gave me 

 3) Ideas/Wish List (8):
  • Wonky stars quilt in blue and orange for the preschool (either for house corner or silent auction or both)
  • Label for Sock Monkey quilt given to me by VMQG members in December 2010
  • Label for Eleanor’s baby quilt
  • Stockings for our family for Christmas 2013
  • Christmas tree skirt
  • Bunting flag banner
  • Swoon quilt
  • Valentine’s heart flannel pillow for Sophia

That's a total of 26 projects I'm either working on or would like to do. That's a pretty full list! And don't get me started on my Pinterest tutorials board full of projects I'd love to make sometime. Well, at least I've started keeping track. Admitting you have a problem is the first step to solving it, right?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Habitat challenge progress

The big reveal for the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild's Habitat challenge happens tomorrow night at our guild meeting. This is where I'm at right now. 144 HSTs, all trimmed to four inches. Will it become a quilt top by tomorrow night? Attend our meeting* and find out!

*our meeting location has changed and our temporary spot for tomorrow night is at a private residence - spread the word and email for more info!

p.s. if you need more incentive to come to the meeting, check out what arrived in my mailbox today to add to the door prize stash:
Yes! Lark Books kindly sent our guild a copy of Pretty in Patchwork: Doll Quilts by Cathy Gaubert for one lucky member. Will it be you? Here are a few peeks into this lovely little book:
Diamond Lattice

Cupcake Quilt

Mod Log Cabin

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Carving elaborate pumpkins is a tradition for us. We've been at it since university, so we've had over 15 years of fun. You can see many of our pumpkins from 2003 to the present in Dean's flickr set. Every year we choose a theme (a few recent ones have been "Where the Wild Things Are", Popeye, Asterix, and Star Wars). 

2011 has been the year of Shaun the Sheep around our house, so we thought it fitting to carve Shaun the Sheep characters for our 2011 pumpkin theme. Shaun and his gang get up to all sorts of hilarious adventures and they've brought lots of laughter to our lives this year! 

Here they are:

Shaun the Sheep, carved by Holly

Timmy, the baby of the flock, carved by Holly

Bitzer, the beleagured sheep dog, carved by Dean

One of the naughty pigs, carved by Dean

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Eleanor at seven months

I love this girl! This fall, Eleanor is becoming a little person right before our eyes and it's so much fun!

Ever since she turned six months old, she's been trying a variety of solid foods. Her preferred method of eating is through her cheeks.

She still fits in the baby bathtub and she doesn't mind when we do silly things with her hair.

She can be found hanging out in the Ergo most days (she's in the Ergo as I write this, bending over backward to try to see the screen).

She turned seven months old yesterday, so we did another photoshoot on her quilt.

She can sit up unassisted for several seconds, sometimes even for a minute or two. 

She now has two teeth (one on the bottom and one on the top!). 

And she's basically an adorably chubby sweetheart! Happy 7 months, Ellie!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Halloween Guild Meeting

It's the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild's October meeting tonight, hooray! I always look forward to these meetings and have a great time at them. Tonight will be my first meeting as guild president, wow! I thought I'd add a little seasonal decoration, so I made a VMQG mini pumpkin (It's proudly showing off on top of the sock monkey quilt the guild gave me last year). See you there!

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Rainbow of Fabric Cards

 Sophie loves a rainbow!

I made a set of fabric cards for my fellow VMQG executive members to celebrate the last meeting of our first year. We had a great time getting the guild going and I wanted to show my appreciation to each of the exec members with a handmade card. I had fun making each card monochromatic so they'd make a rainbow when placed together. I love making these cards, they use up scraps and are fun and easy!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Ellie at five months

Eleanor is now five months old and I thought it was time for a couple pictures of my cutie. She's an easy-going, happy baby who adores her big sister. She has tons of hair, drools like crazy, and is about to cut teeth, I'm sure of it! She has found her feet and likes to hold both at once. She has also discovered her tongue and makes the funniest faces!

 Sophia reading to Miss Ellie (recognize the quilt?)

 Eleanor loves her Jolly Jumper

Making faces at her five month photo shoot

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Quilting is in my genes

 On our summer trip to my Grandma's cabin, I discovered this antique quilt in our bedroom. My grandmother told me it was made by her great-grandmother (my great-great-great-grandmother, is that right?). It was amazing to touch this quilt that was made by one of my ancestors about 150 years ago (this is a guess, as there was no label. A good reminder to label every quilt!).

The blocks are an arrangement of squares and half-square triangles that I wasn't familiar with, but that reminded me of sailboats. The back is solid white and the binding is mostly white with bits of blue.

I love knowing that my fore mothers were quilters and that I'm carrying on a family tradition. Makes me wonder how long my own quilts will last and who will use them in the future. Will my quilts be draped over my great-grandchildren's knees as they are driven home in their flying cars?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

7. Take part in an online quilt block exchange (virtual quilting bee). AKA Red & Aqua Bee wrap up

My Blocks for the Red & Aqua Bee

1. Pickle Dish blocks for Red & Aqua bee, 2. Red and Aqua Bee March 2010, 3. String pieced blocks for Lisa, 4. Spiderweb block for Susan, 5. Liberated Wedding Ring block for Corey, 6. 2 Mondrian blocks for Suzy, 7. Pinwheel block for Karen, 8. Flying Geese for Karen, 9. HST Star for Karen, 10. Wonky Star for Karen, 11. Asterisk blocks for Ryan, 12. My sample block

Red + Aqua Bee

It's been awhile since I've posted about my progress in the 101 Things in 1001 Days challenge but I'd better get busy, because I have just one month left to complete my list! Today, I'm posting about my first virtual quilting bee, the Red and Aqua Bee. It was definitely a learning experience and a challenge! We started off with several paper pieced blocks and I had a chance to refresh my rusty skills. I was often late with my blocks (I blame Canada Post!), but I managed to make them all in the end.

We made Mondrian-inspired improv blocks last summer and I was really pleased with how they came out. We had several people drop out for a variety of reasons and by the time my month came along, I only got blocks back from six seven people (after I wrote this post, I got one last block!). I had the last month in the bee (Feb 2011) and am planning to make a quilt for Ellie with my square in a square blocks.

Lessons learned:
- Canada Post takes forever and I often got blocks from the States with just days before the end of the month, leaving me perpetually behind the 8 ball.
- A stated colour theme got a little repetitive over the course of a year and it might be nice to have a more open-ended bee next time.
- Accountability and communication are key! It's more fun when everyone participates in the bee and posts to Flickr. I don't mind if someone's going to be late if they post about it.
- It's fun to make online friends and then meet them in real life (it turned out that Karen and I joined this bee and then both became members of the new Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild!)
- Despite the hiccups, I'm excited to participate in another bee and looking forward to making more quilting friends!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Nine years

Our growing family with the redwood we planted to mark our wedding

Nine years ago today, two high school sweethearts were married. Since we met as geeky 10th graders in Grade 11 math class, I give you our marriage by numbers:

Years of dating before Holly proposed = 8.25
Grandparents at our wedding = 8
Moves = 3 (Burnaby to Vancouver, Vancouver to Victoria, Victoria to Vancouver)
Mortgages = 1
Number of sandwiches willingly made by Holly = 0
Ferry trips to Vancouver Island = 84
Movies watched at The Hollywood Theatre = 75, one for every year they were in business
Children = 2
Anniversaries when Kristi has provided free babysitting = 5
Days I've been happy that I married my best friend = 3288*
*includes two leap years and today, not simply 365 x 9

Just waiting for Kristi to arrive so we can go out for dinner on this lovely Vancouver evening. 
Happy Anniversary, Deano!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Ellie's quilt

Exactly one week before Eleanor was due, I decided that I needed to make my baby a quilt. Prior to this, I had chosen not to make a quilt for my second child, because daughter #1 had received so many special handmade blankets when she was born and we were well-stocked. However, once I reached 39 weeks, it was time to go fabric shopping! I thought I didn't have much time left (I was assuming the baby would come a couple of days early, ha!), so I decided on a simple, strip quilt using colours from Kate Spain's Central Park print. The quilt came together quickly, although pin-basting was a pain!

Basting a quilt at nine-months pregnant is tricky! (note hospital bag ready to go on bed)

I decided to make bias binding for the first time (I used a combination of Whipstitch's continuous bias tape tutorial and the Dread Pirate Rodger's tutorial and it worked out wonderfully!) so I could have rounded corners (I was inspired by Lysa's quilt and used Nettie's tutorial)
Hand-sewing the binding on March 24th (seven days overdue)

Bias binding makes it easy to make curved corners!

I was happy with the results and it's been wonderful to have a Mama-made quilt to wrap my little Ellie in! The bonus is that it matches our lime and charcoal stroller perfectly and I didn't even think about that when planning the colours!

Here are a couple pics of the quilt in use:

Details of Ellie's Quilt
Size: 30x40 inches
Fabric: A mix of Kona cottons (including some Kona flannels and corduroys) and the Zoo print in Lawn from Central Park by Kate Spain for Moda
Quilting: straight lines a presser-foot's width from the seams
Batting: bamboo/cotton blend
Label: none yet! Hmm... better get on that now that I know the baby's name and birth date!


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