Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Bloggers Quilt Festival: Heartstrings

Well, I finished up another quilt and decided to enter it in the hand quilting category in the Blogger's Quilt Festival!  Welcome to any newcomers via Amy's blog, hope you are enjoying the festival!

Unfortunately, this quilt has a sad story.  It was made for a co-worker and her husband who recently suffered a late miscarriage of their first baby.  They had been trying to get pregnant for ages.  They were devastated.  I felt helpless.  I made a quilt.

I called it Heartstrings because, the situation pulls at my heartstrings, and, it is literally a heart made out of strings.  I decided to do a colorful heart, representing hope and love, against a dark, blank background.

For the quilting, I used a rainbow of Perle cotton.  I chain stitched on the words "love lives forever in our hearts" and then did echo quilting around the heart perimeter in a variety of different stitches.  It is simple, but effective (I think!) against the grey.

On the back, a cozy flannel that has been in my stash since before I officially HAD a stash!  The binding is a grey polka dot from the LQS, hand stitched in place.

Simple, but I hope this quilt provides some comfort.  Thanks for visiting!


Friday, October 25, 2013

Blogger's Quilt Festival: Spectacle quilt

It's that time again- the fall edition of the Blogger's Quilt Festival has begun over at Amy's Creative Side.  I have mine listed in the baby quilt category! Can't wait to peruse the quilty goodness in Blogland!  Welcome to any newbies to my blog, and thanks for stopping by :)

A newly finished quilt to share with you today.  Isn't it funny that when fall hits and everything around me starts to wilt and die, I always seem to get a surge of creativity?  Lately I have been ON FIRE, people!  Sewing this and that, knitting my brains out, and a bunch of quilts coming together.  Lovin' it.  Just wish there were more hours in a day!

And I THINK this may be my new favoritest quilt of all time!!  (Yes, this is the part where I start to get all braggy.  But seriously.  Check this out. )

I can't think of a single thing I don't like on this quilt, or that I would do differently if I had the chance.  Which is rare for me (overanalyze much?).   I made this for a baby boy on his way into the world, but I am thinking that he may get a Gap gift certificate instead ;)  It all started with inspiration from this quilt, by Blue Elephant Stitches.  Now I am usually a girl who digs Type A personality, like to control everything, so on and so forth.  But that said, my favorite quilts to make, or look at, for that matter, are often the ones that have very little rhyme or reason.  

This one was just like that.  I took some scraps in blues and greens out of the overflowing bin, cut them into triangles, and decided to use two tones of grey to piece them together randomly.  I used Kona-something (charcoal?) and Alexander Henry Heath.  I had no plan, just assembled the top row by row, and had so much fun in the process as I slashed and hacked and stitched away.

I knew the quilting should be unstructured as well, and decided on a wonky free flow grid, somewhat mimicking that in the Heath. I used a light blue cotton thread, which of course I ran out of half way through the vertical quilting.  Le sigh.

Well, as often is the case for me, unexpected mess ups stimulate creativity (i.e. being too lazy to go to the store to buy more matching thread, I came up with a Plan B).  So, I decided to add some turquoise and goldenrod thread lines to the grid to fill in the spaces, and a small segment of hand quilting as well.  In the end, I think this adds so much to the finished product, we are just going to pretend it was a product of genius instead of laziness, okay?

The binding- I used a Sunkissed Sweetwater texty print cut on the bias.  I am normally one for hand stitched binding, but have dabbled in machine sewn too, with little success.  But this time- total triumph!  I used a WALKING FOOT, people...geez, whey haven't I tried that before??  Made all the difference.  It turned out perfect.

Last but not least- the backing!  How fun is this?

What is it?  It's a piece of a sheet, bought at Winners (Canada's equivalent to TJ Maxx), made by Colin and Justin.  What can I say?  It makes me so happy. Perfect amount of funky fun for this quilt. And I have plenty left for another (or two!).

This quilt measures in at about 40" by 50".  Annnnnnd I think that's all I have to say about that.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!

Kristie :)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

turkey coma

Thanksgiving in Canada has come and gone yet again, and as usual we have so much to be grateful for.   The kids are back at school today and I am spending my day off boiling bones to make soup and catching up, emerging from my turkey stupor to blog a wee bit!

It was a great long weekend.  The Hubs was actually away for most of in it Vegas with some buddies doing some no doubt unmentionable things to celebrate a 40th birthday.  Apparently it involved a variety of costumes.....he has not disclosed much to me to be honest, but his friend mentioned at one point they had to go buy Sharpies for him to sign autographs as he kept being mistaken for Jon Bon Jovi.  Do I really want to know the details?  Probably not.

But the luck was REALLY rolling back at  home in Winnipeg!  I took the kids to see a movie and afterward was suckered into letting them have toonies to play "The Claw"- you know, that game where you use a joystick to guide a claw and try to have it grab a stuffed toy?  The one where no one ever wins??  Well, history was made right here, people.  Last But Not Least won not one, but FIVE (!!!) toys....and get this, in ONE TURN!!  Insane.  The kids and their friends went absolutely mental, as I am sure you can imagine.  This moment will become the folklore passed from generation to generation in our family, no doubt.  Got a grainy photo of their glee.  Just awesome.

Between the usual hockey/ringette/dance schedule that keeps us running this weekend, I actually found some quiet moments to knit and sew.  I am feeling a surge of creativity lately and am chomping at the bit to MAKE.  First off, made some cute booties for The Plaid Baby.  Pattern here.

Should be a lovely accompaniment to her sweater :)

Next, raided my scrap bin for blues and greens and made this quilt top, entirely inspired by this one by Blue Elephant Stitches.  I just love how it came out!

And a little hand stitching and embroidery on another quilty project as well!

I also spent a good deal of the weekend outside enjoying the beautiful turning of the leaves....fall is my favorite time of year with all the colors and the honking Canada geese flying overhead!

As soon as Thanksgiving dinner was eaten, the girls declared it was time for the next holiday, and dragged out The Ghastlies quilt to snuggle with. I think this is my all time favourite!

Have a wonderful week!
Kristie :)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

quilt labelling

We know we should do it.  But it is the last thing we ever get around to, especially if the quilt is staying at home with us, right?  Which explains why, when I went to make a label for my parents' new quilt the other day, I took a tally of my quilts still needing labels...and the total was eleven.  Gulp.  Not including mini quilts.  So, about half of my finished quilts!

I decided to tackle a few at a time.  I like to personalize my labels, write a small inscription, along with my name, the date and location that is customarily what quilt labels entail.  So just and "OCD" tag doesn't do it.  I figured out a fun and easy way to make some professional looking personalized labels and thought I would share them with you!

First off, I am completely devoid of any computer graphics/computer scrapbooking talent.  But I recently bought an app called Rhonna Designs that is awesome.  Best $1.99 I have ever spent on an app!  It is meant for embellishing your photos, using a bunch of pre-made graphics.  But it also has a small selection of non-photo backgrounds, my favorite of which looks like lined paper.  There are also a bunch of great text fonts to choose from, which you can layer onto the graphics/photos/backgrounds.

So, my first label, for my Good Folks king quilt, was made just simply using the lined paper background and text:

My next one was for my parents' quilt.  First I made a base design, with the "handmade....etc" in the red bracket thingies, which I saved for future use, then I added the personalization:

Next I decided to use a non-Rhonna background for the label for my Retro Christmas Quilt.  I found this free Christmas lights background just by doing a simple google search, downloaded it onto my iPad and then uploaded it as a photo into the Rhonna Designs app to add the text.  Simple enough!

Finally, I downloaded this cute free printable off the internet for my Ghastlies Halloween Quilt that I personalized for a label (not using the Rhonna app at all).

Now, how did I convert these pdfs into tangible labels?  I bought a product called Printed Treasures by Dritz some time ago.  It is inkjet printable fabric that you can then sew on or piece into your quilt.  It comes in packs of five or twelve 8.5 x 11" sheets.  It is available online at Amazon, and also in Joann's or Fabricland. Not cheap, put I can get multiple labels per sheet.

So I opened a simple word document, inserted my pictures/labels that I had created (I did 4 labels to a sheet), and printed them out.  Trim to size, follow the instructions by removing the paper backing, run under cold water to remove excess ink.  Piece into quilt (if you are organized enough to do your labels at the time of making your quilt), or press edges over and hand stitch onto quilts after the fact.

I have used this product multiple times in the past, the fabric is a decent weight and I find them to be fairly colourfast.  Here is an example of one I pieced into the back of my niece's quilt, using simply Word and no graphics whatsoever:

And here is one I pieced into a larger label for Kiera's quilt, which was then hand stitched on after it was completed (my favorite and most likely way to do it):

So now I have a few labels set and ready to go!  Just need to plunk myself in front of the telly and enjoy some quiet hand stitching :) Hope that helped demystify quilt labels somewhat!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

a quilt for a Christmas gift

Last Christmas, that is.

(just a wee bit behind)

I have the best parents ever.  And they have waited sooooo patiently for this!  Of all the people in my life, they are two of the most important.  So I guess the delay was partly that I wanted a quilt for them that I liked, and I knew THEY would like.  So I gifted them an unfinished quilt for Christmas last year. But as much as I liked the quilt, it just wasn't them.  Then I couldn't decide how to quilt it.  Then I hated the quilting. Then I was too lazy to pick out the quilting and do it again.  In short, I started to hate that darn quilt, and didn't want to send those bad vibes over to my folks' house.

So I finally got a fire under my arse and started over again.  My mom is not a girly-girl (and obviously, either is my dad), and their home is decorated mostly in taupes and navies.  I decided that Cara's free Urban Lattice quilt pattern was the perfect fit for them.

I made a few modifications- I did 10" blocks instead of 12", so it finishes at about 60' by 70". And I just cut the pieces with a homemade template and pieced them without the paper, because I got lazy after a few blocks.  Not totally perfect, but that is when you fall back on a parent's unconditional love ;)

I used linen as my base, which I love using for texture and also for the weight- it feels substantial to snuggle under, and softens with each washing.  I did my sashing in navy linen, and then used a variety of browns, navies and aquas from my stash for the top. The binding is hand stitched, a bias stripe from Riley Blake.

Did an all over stipple for quilting, because I love the crinkly effect, and honestly, I suck at straight line quilting.  I truly do.  And it just accentuates any imperfections in my piecing.  Truth.  So there you have it.

For the back, I did a big block.  Kinda like it.  But sewing 30" blocks on the bias was not my brightest idea.  All is well that ends well!

My Dad's birthday was yesterday, so that gave me the perfect opportunity (read: motivation, deadline) to give them the quilt.  They loved it, of course.  Because they are the best parents ever :)

Now it's time to work on my sister's Christmas quilt (gifted Christmas 2011....oops!).

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


Wham!  Take that, to-do list!   A few buttons and some seams, and I finally finished this sweet little Coolbreeze baby cardigan for "the plaid baby."  Kaelin requested this pattern from me before she even conceived!  And it is my duty and privilege to provide cozy, woollen, authentically Canadian winter wear for her Louisiana babe ;) That baby might be sweaty, but she'll be cute!

I love the chevron gradient of blues in here, it knocks me out.  Have already started the adult version for me!

Finished this up dockside on a mini-escape to the cottage yesterday :)  Was such a great drive out, taking in all the fall colours!

 And I may just have another finish to show you soon :)

More sweater details on my Ravelry page here.