November 26, 2014

Quick projects...

I was looking for a quick project to make for a gift when I remembered I had received the book Table Toppers - Quilted Projects by Fons & Porter for review. Bingo! Just in case you are also looking for a project that will come together fast and look gorgeous, look at what I found:

Martingale - Table Toppers (Print version + eBook bundle)Martingale - Table Toppers (Print version + eBook bundle)Martingale - Table Toppers (Print version + eBook bundle)Martingale - Table Toppers (Print version + eBook bundle)
(All photos by Brent Kane for Martingale)

The projects featured entail different methods (wool applique, paper piecing, machine applique) so there are lots of choices depending on your time and inclination. The patterns are very well written, and the SewEasy section of the book has plenty of photographs illustrating all the steps for every technique. Below is the project I am going to make:

Martingale - Table Toppers (Print version + eBook bundle)
Isn't this table topper cute? It will be fast to make, too, which is just what I needed!

Each project was made by a different designer - a host of creative quilters, as you can see... This book is also available as an eBook, so if you are in a hurry you can choose to download it from Martingale. (They are having a promotion with 40% off some eBooks until November 30th...).

In the meantime, have a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration!

November 24, 2014

Jolly Bars and Giveaway!

When I learned Fat Quarter Shop was getting ready to launch their second round of Jolly Bars, a 5” x 10” precut that is exclusive to them, I jumped at the opportunity to design a quilt using the rectangles. At last, here is Country Road, with pieced houses, machine appliqued details, and lots of quilting!

The Jolly Bars are now available in four different Moda Fabrics collections: Petite Prints by French General, Lakeside Gatherings by Primitive Gatherings, The Boat House by Sweetwater, and Red, White and Free by Sandy Gervais.  Each Jolly Bar comes with an exclusive, super easy pattern. I chose Petite Prints by French General and, as soon as I received it, I decided to take full advantage of the size of the precut.

I selected rectangles which had a duplicate for the front of the houses. Then, a contrasting rectangle for each roof. Instead of a beige or creamy background, I opted for white. The houses came together very quickly as I bypassed a lot of fabric cutting by using the precuts. Each finished block measures 13-3/4" x 8-3/4" and the entire quilt measures 38-3/4" x 59-3/4".

I searched my stash for fabrics for the windows, doors, and architectural details on the eaves. I finished them by adding a button on each door. Next I cut the unused rectangles in half lengthwise to make the four-patches.

The quilting is simple as you can see from the picture on the right. It took me about 10 hours to quilt it (in the ditch, the roofs, straight line on sashings, very small meandering everywhere else). This project was pieced and quilted with Aurifil 50wt. Most of the applique was done with Aurifil, too (Sulky, if I did not have the color I needed in Aurifil).

Fat Quarter Shop is hosting a blog hop today for the launch of the new Jolly Bars.  Each participating blogger is showcasing an original design. Here is the lineup for the blog hop:
                                         Andy of A Bright Corner 
Allison of Quilting Mumma
Stephanie of The Modern Sewciety

Quilting Fabric at the Fat Quarter ShopNow, for the giveaway: Fat Quarter Shop is giving away a Jolly Bar of your choice! Just leave me a comment letting me know how you would use a nice package of precut rectangles in your quilt. If you follow me, leave me an extra comment for another chance to win. This giveaway is open to all of you, regardless of where you live. Make sure I have a way to contact you, should you be the lucky recipient. This giveaway is open until Friday, November 28, and the winner will be announced on Monday, December 1st.

One more thing: Fat Quarter Shop has another surprise for you! For every Jolly Bar collection, they have sneaked in four Golden Tickets, and each is a $50 gift certificate to Fat Quarter Shop! That means, there are sixteen total Golden Tickets that are up for grabs, but they are only in the first batch of Jolly Bars, so you must pre-order for a chance to get one. Click here for more information.

Fun way to start the week, right? Check out the other blogs and have an awesome day!

November 21, 2014

Handmade Christmas Decorations Blog Hop

[Another blog hop and giveaway info at end of this post!]
Handmade Christmas Decorations Blog Hop!

I was invited by the folks at Stitch Craft Create to participate in the Handmade Christmas Decorations Blog Hop, and I am so glad I said Yes! They publish such wonderful craft books, and have a page with craft eBook downloads, very convenient for when you want to make a last minute gift and need fresh ideas immediately.

I chose to crochet a Christmas decoration, so they sent me Crochet your Christmas Baubles eBook (oh, the photographs! the ideas!):

There were many tempting projects as you can see from the cover. I chose to make the White Christmas Tree:
This photo is from the book. Doesn't it look delicate? Here is my version:

Instead of the yarn suggested in the pattern, I used one that had strands of shiny white. My tree turned out taller (7" as opposed to 4"), so instead of hanging it, I will place it on the mantel. I did not crochet the star; I looked everywhere to find a silver star and could not (yeah, hard to believe, huh?). So, I looked through my scrapbook papers and found one with a shiny silver star. I cut it, glued it to a pin, and stuck it on top of the tree. How do you like it? The tree decorations are beads I found at JoAnn stores. Perfect...

Stitch Craft Create has a competition going on, too (click here to sign up your project). Show them a picture of your own handmade Christmas decoration, and you could win one of these prizes: 1st Prize: £100 SCC voucher, 2nd Prize: £50 SCC voucher, 3rd Prize: £25 SCC voucher to spend at their site.

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Below is the schedule for the blog hop, which has been happening since the beginning of November. I have looked at all the projects and am inspired - find some time and check them out, as well as Stitch Craft Create's Handmade Christmas page. I will definitely get the Handmade Scandinavian Christmas book after I saw all the fun projects the bloggers made!

Sat 1st – Crafts from the Cwtch (knitted candle holders)
Sun 2nd – Patchwork Posse (ribbon baubles)
Mon 3rd – Moogsmum (paper bird garland)
Tue 4th – Yarn Demon (crochet snowflakes)
Wed 5th – From the Blue Chair (Washi tape cards & baubles)
Thur 6th Straight Grain (fabric Washi treat bags)
Fri 7th A Quilt Is Nice (wooden stars & paper baubles)
Sat 8th Haak & Smaak (crochet gingerbread men)
Mon 10th – Knits and Crosses (Scandinavian bakes)
Tue 11th A Bright Corner (Washi tape tea lights & gift tag)
Wed 12th Imagine Gnats (fabric gift tags)
Thu 13th – Thimbleanna (knitted hot pad)
Fri 14th – The Creations of Crazy Dazy (knitted bobble hat baubles)
Sat 15th – Ric Rac (pine cone birds)
Sun 16th – Chickpea Sewing Studio (Handmade Scandinavian Christmas review)
Mon 17th – Ellison Lane (Washi tape candles)
Tue 18th Olivia Jane Handcrafted (red berry & pine cone wreath)
Wed 19th Boolah Baguette (personalised family wreath)
Thu 20th Made Peachy
Fri 21st – Pieced Brain
Sat 22nd Rose Hip
Sun 23rd Sewing Is for Girls
Mon 24th – Miss Print
Tue 25th Feather’s Flights
Wed 26th Follow the White Bunny
Thu 27th – Dotty Doily
Fri 28th – Guthrie & Ghani
Sat 29th – Cut to Pieces
Sun 30th – Molly Flanders Makerie

Then, come back on Monday, the 24th, for another blog hop and a Fat Quarter Shop awesome giveaway!

Enjoy all the eye candy, and have a fun weekend...

November 6, 2014

Sunset on my Garden

Here is my latest wall hanging, with bright colors as the backdrop for country-inspired wool applique. At first I wasn't sure the red and yellow half square triangles were going to work out as part of this design, but now I am glad I went ahead with it. Here are some specs:

This wall hanging measures 35" x 15". For the wool applique and embroidery I used matching DMC floss. I quilted around the applique shapes with monofilament; however, I wanted to quilt the background with a thread color that would complement, not compete with it. I chose a light (2310) Aurifil 50 wt - the perfect combination of color and weight for this bright background. I finished it with leftover binding from a flannel quilt I made a long time ago (see it here). The flannel binding added amazing depth to this quilt! I wish you could touch my wall hanging to feel all the wonderful textures...

The story behind this quilt: The other day I found some yellow and red triangles in my stash, which I had trimmed from blocks for a previous project (see it here). They were paired with RST so I just had to stitch them together, press, then assemble them into rows. What next? The resulting rectangle of half square triangles stayed on my design wall for a couple of weeks. The solution to my design problem came from two ladies, Leonie Bateman and Deirdre Bond-Abel, who own Quilted Crow, a store in Tasmania, Australia.

Martingale - Country Elegance (Print version + eBook bundle)
Photo by Brent Kane for Martingale
I was browsing through their new book called "Country Elegance" and wouldn't you know - I found a wool applique project (pictured above) with half square triangles on the background. My background was much bigger than the one used for the pillow in the book, so I changed the design to fit it. This book has beautiful projects with creative combinations of piecing and applique, two techniques I use a lot on my quilting projects. So, it is a keeper!

Notice that the flowers have reverse applique - a new technique for me. It was so easy to follow the  the pattern instructions! Reverse applique is quicker to do when you use wool and cotton as you don't need to needle turn any part of it. I will use this idea on other projects but, before I do, there is a table runner in the book that I will have to make.

 In the meantime, I hope you are keeping warm and quilting away!

October 30, 2014

Wool applique and embroidery

This is my sister's Christmas gift for this year. She has two dogs but has fallen in love with cats. Hopefully, she will like this wall hanging. I had no idea what to do for the border. Then, looking through my stash I found this fabric which had all the colors of the applique. Plus, the yellow brightened the piece.

I had made the center block a little while ago, but revisited it by changing the color of the cat's facial features, adding borders and quilting it. I did quilt all around the wool applique to add depth. The simple echo quilting finished everything off.

As you can see by my simple embroidery, I am no Sue Spargo... I do like to add embroidery to applique in general, and on wool applique in particular. The many textures enrich the design. The wool I used for the leaves is my favorite because it is very thick (felted from some clothing). I back stitched around each leaf but, due to its thickness, the stitches look different: I love it! Wool applique is really fun, and I am quilting another wall hanging showcasing it. I am hoping to have it ready by tomorrow or Monday.

My design is actually an ode to my first cat, Jamie, who lived to be 18 years old. As I write this, my other cat, Sapphire, has just reached over the computer mouse and scratched me! (&#$@!!!). I ain't putting her on a quilt any time soon...

I hope your Fall day is as beautiful as mine.

October 20, 2014

Reinventing the wheel: innovative quilts

Martingale - Imagine Quilts (Print version + eBook bundle)
It is often the case that traditional things, ways, solutions serve as foundation for the new, the out-of-the-box, the fresh, and unexpected. I was just going through a book I received for review and was struck by how many amazing quilts we can create if only we would forget for a little while the 'right' way to sew a block, to cut a line, to assemble a project.

Imagine Quilts by Dana Bolyard not only features beautiful modern projects, but it also helps you  look for inspiration in your fabric stash, around your surroundings, break the rules, and make delightful quilts.

In her creative process, Dana uses "scale drawings, scribbled mathematical computations, colored pencils, graph paper... and lots of head scratching...". The result, in this book, is a collection of 11 patterns which are very easy to make. She does all the hard work, and we just have to follow the clear instructions and diagrams. Works for me!

(All photographs by Brent Kane for Martingale)

Martingale - Imagine Quilts (Print version + eBook bundle)Martingale - Imagine Quilts (Print version + eBook bundle)

Martingale - Imagine Quilts (Print version + eBook bundle)Martingale - Imagine Quilts (Print version + eBook bundle)

Dresden plates, rectangles with strategically placed lines, foundation piecing, and plain old squares arranged in new ways and modern designs ensure you won't look at things around you the same way.
Imagine Quilts is a great addition to my quilting library. Now, I must finish school work so I can find time to work on the "Zip It" quilt (not shown), which I REALLY love!

Enjoy your day!

October 17, 2014

Landscape quilt

Just finished this small (13" x 11") landscape quilt, inspired by a cloudy October day. This mixed media wall hanging features machine applique with monofilament, free motion quilting, free motion embroidery, Prismacolor markers, and Prismacolor colored pencils. The clouds were the last thing I did, even after the binding was applied.

The three leaves are hanging on to the tree just like the ones which remained through the entire last winter through wind, rain, and snow, on a tree right outside my front door. I was amazed at their resilience... so here they are.

I embroidered the foliage and grass, and added the colors with markers.The tree has a bit of a Halloween look, too, perfect for this time of year. My family liked it so much that I am keeping it for us.

Enjoy your day!


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