A lap quilt for my lovely sister Leah B. for her birthday this year. While they recently got a dog, her first love is kitty cats... combining this with her favourite hue of blue, and we have lift off! I did 12 different cat blocks in fund fabrics, and hand embroidered a different expression on each one, from sleeping to shocked to sneaky. Each of the blocks were then trimmed in a pebbled border and snowballed with an aqua batik. Then the lot of blocks were bordered with a graded blue square patterned fabric, backed with a funky piece of dyed green and blue cotton, sandwiched with organic cotton, and then lightly machine-quilted and hand tied with coordinated yarn (not shown--- forgot to take a final set of pics before gifting it to her). This was a fun project to take on since I had some clear directions to take things (ALL THE KITTIES AND BLUENESS), and I enjoyed dabbling in simple embroidery to give the blocks some personality. I know Leah has already been enjoying the quilt as we move into the autumn months, so I hope this one provides many years of warmth and kitty-themed whimsy!
I had some nice colorful bits lying around from a variety of sewing projects lately, and thought I would put them to good use. Enter the scrappy table runner! To be honest, I was planning to put this up on Etsy to sell, but I botched the seam where I turned it inside out, so decided to keep it for now. Basically, I started sewing bits of pieces together to make pieces swaths, and then connected them together in pleasing ways until I had a swath that was approximately runner-sized. Nothing more complicated than that in terms of technique-- I was just looking to use up some scraps and create something pleasing to the eye. :) Double stitching around the border, sandwiched with light batting and backed in a substantial purple cotton, this should wear well, and looks nice on my dining room table with the telephone wire bowl I got in Joburg. So maybe it is fate that I screwed up the seam. Either way, I am happy to have turned some bits and pieces into something practical and beautiful. On to the next project!
I like the look of cathedral windows in quilts, but am not a fan of appliques and complicated piecing. So when I saw Susanne McNeill's video on a simple quilt block with three seams, and Jean Truelove's video with details on how to turn the original design into cool blocks with cathedral windows, I was intrigued and wanted to try it out.
So behold the twin-sized quilt experiment as a wedding gift for Kate B. and Micah W. this September 2017. I tried to take some pics of the process as it unfolded, but best to watch the linked videos. In short, starting with 42 base and 12 'window' 9" blocks (but whatever size blocks you want, but I used 9") your three seams are:
I did 12 of these blocks in a semi-planned pattern with a variety of batiks, African cotton and blue-green graphic prints, used a simple complimentary border of navy and orange William-Morris inspired floral print, and backed it all in a heavy purple cotton to add some extra weight. I quilted it simply following the diamonds and some stitching in the ditch.
I actually quite enjoyed this technique and would definitely use it again--- the quilt top comes together quickly, and I like the look of the diamonds-- lots of versatility there, and a fun way to show off some of your favourite fabric combos. Hope the newlyweds enjoy their quilt!
This creative little baby quilt was a collective labour of love, with each block being made by a different staff member for Nathan B.'s new daughter, Caitlin. Most of the people on staff had not sewed or embroidered before, so putting this together included embroidery 101 lessons, covert crafting sessions over lunches, and using a mixture of fabric paint, ribbons and buttons, embroidery floss and thread to decorate the blocks. The theme was Baby New Brunswick (as both parents are from the province) and everyone approached the project with gusto!
After everyone completed their awesome contributions, because we didn't have embroidery hoops so some of the blocks got a little wonky, I squared up those that needed it with a sea-themed fabric to meet the 9x9 standard block size in order to put it all together. I decided to forego a more complicated framing and kept things simple, showing off the various blue-backed blocks with a simple forest-themed flannel so that the blocks and people's work was the focus. I backed the quilt with a wood-grained cotton, and (not shown) hand-tied the four corners of each block with multi-colored yarn.
It was a lot of fun undertaking this project all together! Hope that Baby Caitlin enjoys her gift from her 'work' family!
Made this 'masculine' (?) table mat for a friend, Ken C. as a small house warming gift as he moved into his first condo. I took some of my favourite fabrics from a tight color palate of (masculine?) blues and greys, and pieced them together into fun little diamonds, separated by a panel of west African batik, bordered by a cool panelled blue fabric, backed with cool blue stripes and bound with a simple grey binding. To be honest, I am not thrilled with my corners on this one, but like how it came out generally, and enjoyed hand-sewing the binding on the back.
But most importantly, does this blog post title reference to James Bond make this more butch and make up for the fact that I have gifted a homemade quilted table mat to a 30-something urban gentleman? Indubitably!
While I don't have a pic of the final version, I wanted to post the pics I did get of my effort to do a runner that was as restrained as I think I have ever been in terms of design/ color palate. Operating under such restraint is not my strength.... but I wanted to try it out to challenge myself, and so I made this for my fellow quilting buddy Margaret P. for her birthday, as someone who has seen first hand the rainbow-avalanche that usually dominates my projects.
I went with a soft mellow yellow, punctuated by small triangles of embellishes batiks--- the complimentary spring green triangles all going in one direction, and the bright embellished pink facing a different direction. Is this what modern looks like? I don't know.... But I had fun experimenting with the piecing! I quilted the piece on the diagonal with variegated green thread, and bound it all with binding made from the mellow yellow fabric to have a seamless edge. But I couldn't help some contrasting color somewhere.... and backed the whole thing in a crazy tie-dyed purple. What is wrong with me? Sigh. Anyway, I enjoyed the experiment and will likely try replicating the general idea. Hope you enjoy Margie!
A bright (mildly-intense?), V-inspired baby quilt for the newest member of our extended family, my cousin Dariel G.'s new daughter, Vibeke. I took my inspiration from her name to go with a basic V/triangular pattern, and the lovely teal and pink fabric I scored at the Hintonburg Fabric Sale this spring. After putting together the three V-panels, I bordered them in electric rainbow tie dye, complimented by a rich wave pebble pattern, and bound with the same teal fabric from the V panels. The quilt is backed with warm forest-themed flannel, and quilted simply following the Vs in the middle. I really love how this came out, and hope Vibeke enjoys many years with this baby blanket!
For me, sewing is both a creative pursuit and often a catharsis. I sew to make the world beautiful in my own small way, and in doing so I also sometimes try to quietly heal myself and others. There is something about the plush softness of fabric, the pliability, the sinking-in and relaxation inherent in the final product that conveys some of what I want to be giving to the recipient. This project embodied this underlying motivation, making a plush pillow for two of my colleagues who have survived a challenging work context with me together (hence the purple heart). I wanted it to look fractured and complex and yet ultimately whole, beautiful and unified, so I pieced together small bits of purple fabric into mosaic panels, which I then cut into squares accompanied by a soft grey to construct a simple but complex heart. Bordered by a complimentary grey, backed by a plush green upholstery fabric and filled with organic cotton stuffing and lavender buds for an added aura of relaxation, these matching pillows (one of each of them) hopefully mark a challenging context and most importantly, surviving and thriving despite the challenge. A fun and satisfying project!
I made a runner for my blue-loving aunt Chris L. a few years ago, but after being much loved and washed, it was in need of repair. (In addition to the frequent washings, I also blame my too-small seam allowances when I was getting back into sewing. Live and learn!) So she gave it back to me, and I re-sewed it... which actually resulted in me ripping most of it apart and switching up the accent color palate, including a cheery yellow fabric instead of the previous green (wish I had taken a pick before I switched things up), bordering it with the accent yellow color as well, and quilting more extensively to make sure things stay tacked down. Hope this refresh provides a happy burst of color to the breakfast nook!
Brother-in-law Abe G.'s 35th birthday was this month, and I wanted to make something special to mark the milestone. He is a big football fan and also a big couch-chillaxing fan, so while I know next to nothing about the sport, I started working on a football-themed lap quilt for him in January of this year. I thought a lot about a design and looked around the interwebs for ideas, but a lot of what I found was shaped like a football rather than a rectangular quilt, had smaller football blocks instead of one big ball on the quilt, or involved appliques which I admire but am not a fan of working with in terms of durability, etc.... All nice designs but not what I had in my head, so in the end I decided to come up with a plan myself, opting for a pixelated football design made of lots of 2.5 inch squares, bordered by the colors of the Packers, his fave team.
The pixelated part took a lot of time, but was also quite interesting to make. Instead of taking each piece square by square, I experimented with bulk strip sets for longer color chains within the pattern, and creating loops of squares that could be separated at different points in the loop to provide different configurations to fit into the pattern. The individual fabrics I used also hopefully speak to Abe--- some golf fabric, lots of nature-inspired pieces, etc... to touch on some of his interests outside of football.
Once the pixelated centre section was finished, I squared it up and added three layers of border in team colors. I then decided to sandwich and turn the quilt, topstitched the border and then hand-tied all of the little squares in the football with a coordinating embroidery floss. Took a while to complete, but I like the texture and feel of it-- reminds me of the bumps of a football itself.
So that's it! A big-ish project done and gifted, and I enjoyed the experimentation I got to try out, and the personalization I was able to do. Other ideas I had was to surround the centre piece with fabric with faces/crowds on it to replicate a stadium but I was unable to find an appropriate fabric design. In the end, I think the team colors works well regardless. I also thought about hand-tying the green squares as well but in the end I liked that it was just the football re: texture, etc... Lots learned and hopefully he gets lots of footballishness enjoyment out of this piece!
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