Friday, May 25, 2012

Owl House for L.

I didn't forget about my promise to show you the Owl House quilt for L. I finished it up some time ago now, but I'll try to remember some details.  It turned out to be approximately 65"x85" I think. Large enough for a twin size bed anyway. It was a heavy monster to wrestle with, but so worth it.

I started out by choosing the cute owl print by Alexander Henry, and then I added in a variety of reds, greens, blues and browns, with a hit of orange. I built the blocks around a few different sized owl squares, adding strips of colour in log cabin formation. It wasn't very planned, just things that I thought looked nice together.

I squared the blocks up to 15.5" and originally planned just to mash them all together. Once I had some made, I thought that it looked better with some sashing. I found a nice latte colour in my stash that I purchased in Egypt. It suited the blocks nicely.

I thought it would be fun to fussy cut some owls to make into cornerstones and I love the touch of whimsy that they add. Plus cornerstones make it easier to sew sashing on well. I won't say no to that!

I ended up quilting it in a sort of boxy meander. My edges were mostly rounded, but I love the texture that it adds. (Too bad I had that problem in the middle of quilting it. Good thing that I didn't forget the motions to finish it off.)

I really had fun with the back. I did one large chunk with some fabric that I picked up at Ikea awhile ago, and the other large chunk is a solid grey I had stashed. My favourite part is the strip of the owls bordered with the fun red Momo print.

I love a scrappy binding. I used up some leftover strips from the log cabins in blue and greens, and pieced them on the diagonal. I machine finished the binding with a turquoise thread so that it would kinda blend in with both colours.

L. loves his quilt and it looks fantastic in his room - the walls are painted a similar shade of light brown.  He sleeps under it every night and I hope that he will for many more years!

I'm working on another quilt. (What else is new?) Maybe I'll give you a sneak peek or maybe you will only see the finished quilt.  Depends when I blog next.

xo Nicole

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Churn Dash Love

Yay!! I received my doll quilt in the mail last week. I am thrilled with the little quilt that was made just for me.  It came all the way from California, made by Wendi. Isn't the design so cool? I just love churn dashes and stars, so this just works in so many ways. (It also reminds me of a block that I like that was in my bee quilt.) Check out the binding. She aligned it with the colours in the block!

She sent along some wonderful goodies. I got some great text fabrics that look like typewritten words and some yummy chocolate. I am so spoiled!

And let's not forget about this wonderful zippy pouch. I really like it a lot! The colours are just awesome. I keep meaning to make myself one, but that hasn't seemed to happen yet.

The back is just great too, with lots of lovely handwriting fabric and a cute label. Also, Wendi made some hangers for it. Very practical for hanging on my wall.

Here it is on the wall behind my sewing machine with the doll quilt that I got last year! I'm so excited to have a collection now. Maybe I should make something to go up there too.  (If I ever get around to it.) Maybe I'll just participate in some more swaps!

I haven't forgotten that I need to show you the completed Owl quilt.  I'll get to that soon.

xo Nicole

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Beginner's Luck

I did finish it! It's all quilted and bound (in a fabulous orange nonetheless) and hanging in its new home at the quilt shop. I just love the Amy Butler peony fabric that I based it on and I am so pleased with the outcome. Too bad that I can't cuddle with it at home.

Isn't the middle block so wonderful? I love how part of the shoo-fly blocks make it look like the centre star has a second star around it.

I don't know why, but stars and shoo-fly blocks are two of my faves.  

I am also very happy with the final sashing choice, since it wasn't my original choice. I had originally chosen a rich brown and a soft lavender for the cornerstones. They ended up being totally wrong and too harsh for the blocks. Luckily, at the time that realized I needed to find something better, Katja had just brought in some wonderful Pat Bravo fabric that worked perfectly with my colour scheme. I'm so delighted that the colours were exactly as I had originally pictured in my mind.

Here is the quilt in its current location above the wide backings and flannels. (Oh, and look to the left - you see Carla's cute birdie quilt and my little twister quilt. And in the foreground is a glimpse of my placemats and Sixteen Again quilt.)

If you (or someone you know) are interested in making a Beginner's Luck quilt, contact Katja's Quilt Shoppe. The first class begins on May 22 at 6pm.

xo Nicole

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Doll Quilt Swap

I managed to finish up my doll quilt for the Doll Quilt Swap 12 on Flickr.  I am so thrilled with the results.  It was rather difficult to send it off after all that work!

I have always maintained that I hate foundation paper piecing, but I thought that I would try it again with some special paper.  I found that the paper made a good difference, and I think that my machine being serviced and the tension being so much better helped out a great deal as well.

I designed this quilt on EQ6 and printed out 5 papers.  Then I grabbed my test fabrics and tried it out.  It worked quite well and came together just as I had hoped.  I dove in with my chosen fabrics for the swap and made up the blocks over 2 weeks or so.  I think it took me about 1.5 hours for each block.

Then I still had to take all the paper off - ugh!  I still hate that part of paper piecing, although my pointy tweezers helped me out in some tricky spots.  After basting the layers together, I decided to hand quilt it with some matching red embroidery floss.  I think that the design pops!  I also added in some green quilting, kinda in the ditch to secure the outer part of the quilt.

I hope my partner loves it.  I expect that she will get it sometime this week.  She doesn't know this is coming from me, so hopefully it will be a lovely surprise.

I am still waiting to receive a little quilt, but I have no idea which one will be mine.  There are some absolute stunners in the photo pool!

xo Nicole

Monday, April 9, 2012

Slowly Finishing

I managed to meet and even exceed one of my goals for the last week.  I really wanted to finish the quilting on this Beginner's Luck quilt.  I did that, and I am almost done sewing on the binding.

I used a light aqua thread and stitched in the ditch.  It made me realize that I really don't like stitching in the ditch.  It matters if you go off the lines.  With free motion quilting, its a lot more forgiving.  I'm going to focus on the positive though, and take delight in the fact that I'm not perfect.  It's much more fun that way.

Anyway, I am super happy that its done because I started sewing this quilt before Christmas I think.  I was planning on having it done by the end of January, so that I could run a Quilting 101 evening class this spring.

That didn't really work out, but it will be offered for the end of May through June.  More details to follow when I get some good pictures of my completely finished project.

I also have some other fun stuff to share that will be coming to this blog very soon.

What have you finished lately?

xo Nicole

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Up and Running

I forgot to let you all know that my machine is up and running again.  I actually got it back very quickly from the shop (only one day!).  It seized up because the last place that serviced it oiled it instead of greasing it apparently.  Anyways, it now runs way better than it did even after the last time it was serviced.  The tension is just perfect as well! On Monday I finished quilting the quilt that I was working on when it died.  In fact, the quilt is completely finished, but I need someone to help me to take some photos.  It's pretty big.

I also quickly stitched together this little baby quilt on the weekend.  It's nothing intricate, but I do love a simple patchwork in pretty colours.  I'm going to finish it off next week with some simple quilting.  It's for my cousin who had a baby girl on March 1.  You can also see the Rambling Rose Meets Jamestown blocks that I've finished so far.  I need to get back into making some, as I haven't done any in awhile.

I also tried out my first New York Beauty block.  I designed in in EQ6 and it's really little - only 4" finished.  I had a difficult time with the inner curve.  I think I should have practised with something a little bigger. Maybe I'll turn this little guy into a pin cushion or something.  

Oh, and Carla recently gave me the Liebster Blog award.  It goes to some inspiring little blogs with less than 200 followers.  I'm supposed to nominate 5 other blogs, so here they are, in no particular order.

1. Quilting Barbie :: I was in a Canadian quilting bee with Barb a couple of years ago and she make some really beautiful stuff.  I admire how she manages to create with 3 little ones at home.
2. Cynthia F :: Cynthia is a fabulous artist and designer.  I won a Spoonflower print from her awhile back and I love seeing her current 'quaintings' (quilt paintings). She is also a fellow Canadian and member of the Fraser Valley Modern Quilt guild, and I am currently in an improv bee with her.
3. Holly's Red Bike :: She is the founder and current president of the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild.  Holly has some wonderful ideas and also recently did some cross stitch.
4. Venus de Hilo :: Stephanie is a quilter in Hawaii.  Her amazing and colourful work is very inspiring, and I am pretty sure that she is heavily influenced by her environment.
5. Sew Domestic :: Kristina has exquisite taste in fabrics and colour combos.  I pretty much love everything that she makes.

I hope you enjoy visiting some new blogs!

xo Nicole

Thursday, March 8, 2012


This is a very terrible picture that I snapped on Saturday evening.  I spent my day making up these improvised blocks to make a toddler quilt for a friend's little girl.  It has progressed further than this.  All the pieces are now filled in and sewn together.  Unfortunately, it's a little bit smaller than what I was aiming for, so I need to add a border.  I don't think I can add a regular style border due to the nature of the quilt.  It calls for something created in the same manner as the piecing.  I also have run out of some of the fabrics, so it will not be an easy task.  I hope to get this finished completely next week.  

This quilt is something that was started a year ago.  It is all sewn together and then I was waiting to find the perfect backing fabric.  I found it and then basted it.  It has been sitting ready for quilting for a few months now.  I'd really like to just finish it up!  I'm a little stuck on what to do for the quilting.  I think I want to try something new and a little fancy.  I just need to work up my courage.  This probably won't be finished next week, but sometime this spring.  I think its a great spring quilt.

My sample for the Quilting 101 class I'm going to be teaching is just about done.  I basted it on Friday and now just need to get it quilted and bound. I will be getting that done in the next week as well.  I was planning on it being done at the end of January.  

I think that I have more time in my mind than what actually happens. We'll see if that is the case next week.  I do have two weeks off from work at school and I plan on sewing for a large chunk of that time.  Most of what I want to do is finish off projects that are nearly done. I think that is attainable.  I'll check in again later and let you know how that all works out.

xo Nicole

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A New Swap

I joined the Doll Quilt 12 swap on Flickr last month.  I'm going to make a little quilt for a secret partner for whom I get some information about, but she has no idea that I'm making a quilt for her.  In return, I will be getting a great little quilt from someone else.  We have some specific rules to follow, like it must have at least 6 pieced blocks and one of them must be a churn dash, New York beauty, log cabin, drunkard's path or flying geese.  It is also required to have a solid in it, but not white or any derivative of white.

I participated in round 11 last summer and it was so awesome!

This is my inspiration mosaic.  I made it up to let my partner know what kind of things I would love in a mini quilt.  Check out my Flickr photostream for the credits of these pictures.

These are some possible fabrics that I put together last night for the quilt that I will make for my partner.  I'm not 100% sure that they will be the best, but I'm going to try them out.  I also have made it my personal goal to include a New York beauty block in my quilt.  I have never made one and feel a bit intimidated by them.  This is a great opportunity to conquer my fear!  I sketched out some ideas on paper and in EQ6 last night.  I'll have to think on it a little more before I decide what exactly to do.  I have until April 5 to send it out, but I hope to finish it up by March 29.

Its so awesome to see what everyone else is up to in the group.  That's one of the most fun things about being in a swap.  There are some super talented people in our group!

I'd love to know what is inspiring you right now!

xo Nicole

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Happy Twisters

Before my machine broke, I finished a quilt last week.  It's called Happy Twisters and I used the Lil' Twister tool to make the centre.  This has been a work in progress for quite some time, maybe October.  Not because it takes a long time to make it, but because of life.

I used a charm pack from Moda called "Happy" (hence Happy Twisters).  I thought it would be fun for a baby quilt.  I sewed the centre together and then stalled.  I wasn't loving it and it was a weird size.  Too big for a doll quilt and too small for a baby quilt.  I also didn't really know how I should quilt it.  I began to work on other things.

I was poking around blogland and saw a quilt that looked like it had the same centre. I liked this one however, and it had a triple border around it.  I decided that was what my little quilt needed.  It would add what I felt was missing and make it big enough for a baby quilt.

I wanted to outline each pinwheel for the quilting, but that would be too much work. I decided to outline just part of each one and I like the zigzag lightning bolt thing it has going on now.  I stitched in the ditch on both sides of the skinny border and did a large meander in the outermost border.  I think it has the perfect amount of quilting.

Katja just got in some new fabrics from the same designers called Twirl.  There was a wonderful wavy stripe that was just calling out to be the binding for this quilt. I sewed it on by machine and had a finish!  Now it is in the Shoppe on display and I wrote up a little info sheet.  If you like the pattern, you can just make a $2 donation to HOPE International, and get the instructions.

I hope you have a lovely day.

xo Nicole

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Confound It!

Imagine a lovely Saturday afternoon with loads of time to work on a quilt that you want to finish before next weekend.  You have some tunes to jive to, no hubby at home to worry about, and piles of laundry and vacuuming to ignore.  You set up your machine and grab your quilt that has been prepared since the end of December.  Finally. Let's quilt it!

You even decide to try out a new quilting design.  It isn't perfect, but it sure looks cool.  Somehow you manage to wrangle your giant quilt through the itty bitty space in your machine to achieve this awesomeness. You use up almost 4 bobbins of thread and are quite pleased with yourself with how this is turning out.

Suddenly, your machine makes a terrible noise and jerks to a halt.  The screen reads: STOP FOR SAFETY PURPOSES.  Oh no!  It is jammed up. Not the thread. The mechanics inside! You manage to get your quilt out from the machine and see if you can figure out what is wrong.  You turn the hand wheel and nothing happens.  Confound it!

It. Is. Broken.  That means that your quilt will not be finished for next weekend, nor will the birthday gift or the bee block (from November).  Nor anything else.

I sure hope the shop can fix her up.

I guess that means I have to clean the house now.

xo Nicole

Thursday, February 2, 2012

On Hex-A-Thons and Winning

I joined in with the crowd at Katja's for the Hex-a-thon.  We are English Paper Piecing 3" hexagons; one each week in 2012.  I decided to use an older layer cake called Patisserie by Fig Tree and Co.  It has some wonderful soft colours and prints.

This is week 1.  Fairly straight forward, but some of my points were off.  Hopefully I will improve in this area as the year goes by.

Week 2. I liked doing this one.  The fussy cutting turned out pretty well.

Week 3. This one gave me a lot of grief.  It doesn't even lay flat.  Hopefully once the papers are removed it won't be too noticeable.

I also won a prize over at cynthia f.  Cynthia designed this piece of fabric herself and it was printed at Spoonflower. (You can even buy one for yourself if you want.) It is a super cute calendar for 2012.  I better hurry up and make something with it before too much more of the year passes by.  I was thinking about sewing on some bright borders and making it into a wall hanging for my sewing room - a mini quilt of sorts.  (It is fat quarter size, so it will be on the larger side.)  I really love it and I am so thankful for Cynthia's generosity.  I will delight in this all year - and even after that!

xo Nicole

Monday, January 30, 2012

Reminder to self....

Remove pins before sewing over them!

Happy Monday.

xo Nicole

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Make Life!

Hooray!  I have finished my first quilt of 2012.  It's made from a charm pack of Sweetwater's Make Life, some Moda Bella Snow for the background, and polka dots from Make Life for the border and binding.  It's a lovely size for a baby quilt, so good thing that it has a new home with a sweet baby.

I made it for the daughter of a teacher that I work with.  I picked out the fabrics before I knew what the gender of the baby would be, but I knew that it would be perfect.  I used a pattern that I got from Carla at Moda Club last year.  It's super easy and quick to put together.  I really love the graphic quality of it too.  I may just have to make another one day!  It would also be fun to do with a layer cake.

For the backing I used a sweet Japanese print that I got on sale that has little soldiers and cats and dogs and trees marching in rows.  The colours are a fabulous match with the charm pack.  I had thought that I had enough to do the whole back, but it turned out that I was short a bit.  Luckily I had just the perfect amount of red dots left over from the border and binding.  I can't believe how perfectly that it worked out.

I quilted it 1/4" away from the seams; a kind of echo quilt, I guess.  It took quite awhile to get it all quilted.  I used my walking foot and did have some problems with the stitch tension.  Most of the quilting looks okay after I washed it.  I really love how crinkly and soft this quilt got after it came out of the dryer.

My new favourite way to do binding on baby quilts is by machine.  It is so much faster and it will hopefully hold up better to frequent washings.  I am becoming better at it with each quilt I make.

It feels good to get something done.  I can take delight in that!  I have been feeling a little overwhelmed by all my projects that are piling up.  Hopefully I can finish some other things up in the next little while.  I'll try to make up a blog post soon featuring some things I am working on.  Then you can keep me accountable to finishing them!

xo Nicole