Friday, November 22, 2013

a quilt for the plaid baby

One of my favourite quilty friends, Kaelin of The Plaid Scottie, welcomed a beautiful and healthy baby girl, Merida, into the world this past week!  There are a group of us who chat daily on Facebook about quilting and basically every other issue known to man (and some I am sure no one else has ever dreamed up), and we have been excitedly awaiting this moment since the pee hit the stick ;)  Even before Merida was conceived, Kaelin had put her order in for the Coolbreeze sweater I showed you here.  But in addition to that, the group of us decided to, naturally, make her a quilt.

Angela quarterbacked the whole thing (and I pinched all the finished quilt pictures from her site, with her permission of course).  After much discussion we opted on a paper pieced square in a square block that could showcase our collections of cute and precious fabrics, perfect for an I Spy quilt!  Oh what fun watching this come together!

There were about 10 us making this quilt for Kaelin and her "plaid baby" as she is known to us; Angela, Cherie, Cara, Michelle, Kelly, Ali, Amy, Rene, Elena, Tracey and myself.  Merida's nursery theme is "The Fabulous Mr. Fox" so there is definitely and abundance of fox-themed fabrics present.  These are the blocks I contributed!

A big shout out to Angela for quilting and binding this baby to perfection!

We are all so thrilled for Kaelin, and wish her and her new little family all the best.  And we hope Merida inherits her mother's appreciation and love of good fabric!! I am sure this is a good start ;)

Friday, November 15, 2013

Loon Lake Retreat 2013

This past long weekend I had the amazing opportunity once again to attend the Loon Lake Quilt Retreat in beautiful British Columbia!  Loon Lake is and hour or so outside of Vancouver, a quiet (except for the rowdy quilters) lodge all on its own on a tranquil lake surrounded by mountains, forest and mist.  Sigh. Pretty much the best thing you can imagine.

The retreat is run by the lovely Krista/K1 of Poppyprint.  I was lucky enough to get invited on a cancelation last year, and have basically told The Hubs that there is no freaking way I am relinquishing my spot EVER, so I plan for this to be my annual get away.  I was on my best behaviour and, aside from trying to engage a group of Buddists in conversation (who happened to by on a silent retreat), I managed to behave and avoid any of the ridiculously embarrassing predicaments that I normally find myself in.  It is a pretty exclusive group of incredible quilters and women hand picked by Krista.  
Everyone gets along so well and it is four days filled with inspiration and food and wine and nature and essentially BLISS. So if you are hoping to ever crack the list and weasel in on a cancellation like me, I suggest you start buttering Krista up now- she likes coffee and chocolate, FYI.

Aside from Krista/K1, I also got to reunite with Krista/K2 Withers, the amazing long arm quilter.  Just a warm, personable fun girl.  I also finally met Krista/K3 of Spotted Stones, who I just loved so much.  Incredibly sweet and kind, and just an amazing aesthetic.  She whipped up the most beautiful things!  I even got spoiled with some gifts on my first day there- one of K3's fabulous deer hyde and screen printed fabric pouches and a Liberty hand embroidered bookmark and book from K1.  Thanks ladies! I love them :)

And of course there is the lovely Felicity of Felicity Quilts, the hilarious Berene of Happy Sew Lucky, the talented Janet of What Comes Next?, and Sindy, JoAnne, Paula and more who you may know from IG.  Such an amazing group who have become true friends! I sewed a table with Felicity, Sindy and Petrushka all and they kept me in stitches (pardon the pun) all weekend!

(3 o'clock in B.C. but 5 o'clock Winnipeg time…time for wine!)

Anyways, enough name dropping ;)

So what did I actually DO?  I spent some time each morning having tea and doing a little stitching outside on the dock, enjoying the quiet and the view.

I went on a two hour hike around the lake with a group of ladies.  We channelled our inner Huckleberry Finns to use this wooden raft on a pulley system to cross the lake.

Of course I did some sewing.

In fact, I borrowed K1's old Pfaff and I am pretty sure it was crying for mercy!  Amazing how much you can get done with a glass of wine in hand ;)   I pre-cut all my fabric which was a huge help, and managed to stitch together 3 quilt tops and 5 pouches!

For two of the quilt tops, I used the same fabrics but different patterns.  They are twin sized, meant for Last But Not Least's bunk beds at the cottage.  Bright and happy pinks, oranges and yellows, perfect for summertime!  I went with simple classic patterns, ones I thought that would fit in well with cottage style- equilateral triangles and Granny Squares. I love how they coordinate without being match-matchy.

I ran out of steam before finishing the final twin quilt top for the girls, but squeaked out this baby top from squares that Alison sent me ages ago in a lovely french-themed gauze print.  Will be perfect for a French-Canadian little girl who recently entered the world!

I was gifted some adorable zippers from Berene, so some pouches needed to be made :)  Three were for my kids, and the other 2 will head overseas full of goodies and Christmas gifts for some sweet kids. I hand embroidered the girls' names on theirs, mimicking the speech bubbles in the Erin McMorris Moxie fabric.  For the boys' pouches, I embroidered a simple first initial and patched it in with Essex yarn dyed linen and some home dec weight text fabric from Sweetwater.

Looking back on these pictures makes me a bit moody.  Hard to believe it has come and gone again.  Yes, I am going through a bit of withdrawal.  Only 360 sleeps until next time!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

epic bag.

Just a couple days until I return to Loon Lake in B.C. for another fabulous quilt retreat hosted by Krista.  I have a million things to do to get my house in order before then.  But instead, I decided I NEEDED to make a new bag.

Inspiration hit and nothing could be done- the world had to stop until I got it made.  I made some sketches and got to work.  And the longer I worked at it the more excited I became.  I nicknamed it the "Epic Bag" in some of my Instagram progress pictures, and I think the name has stuck.  Because this bag is epic, dudes.  It has all the elements I love- wonky patchwork. Bits and pieces of some favorite fabrics.  Little details. Fussy cutting. Hand stitching.  Great color mixed with fun low volume fabrics. Hardware and zippers.  Function.  And I think after years of frustration, I finally used the perfect amount of interfacing!  I am so pleased with myself (can you tell?).

The front panel was inspired by a flying geese block tutorial by Hyacinth Quilt Designs found here.  On the back, I added some random flying geese as well, and some fun hand stitching with Perle cotton.

A detail shot of the hardware tabs for the cross-body strap and some of the patchwork and random hand stitching for you!

I even used some favorite fabrics for lining.  Heather Ross pin people in the front zippered pocket....

...and some precious Anna Maria Horner Good Folks for my inner lining. The interior has two rows of slip pockets and another zippered one as well. I should have no excuses not to be organized!

The top of the bag has an inset zipper as well to close it securely.

Two sets of straps, so that it may be worn cross body like so, with the top folding over (cute, eh?)....

....or slung over my forearm.

I am thinking that I might draw up a pattern of this is there is any interest??  What do you think?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

severe crafting warning in effect

I have been feeling rather inspired lately, which means a rash of new sewing, quilting and knitting projects.  Last night I worked into the wee hours on one such project (more on that tomorrow).  It looks like a tornado touched down in my kitchen......

I will neither confirm or deny if it was fuelled by Halloween candy.