March 28, 2009 0 comments

I won a bundle!

No, not from the lottery or from being at the casino or even from playing poker, but thanks to

Cate at a charmed life, I won a giveaway!


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Thanks to, to Happy Zombie for introducing me to Cate's lovely blog.



Thanks again, Cate - what a generous and pretty giveaway!


March 25, 2009 5 comments

Adventures in fabric buying.

On Monday, I had the most frustrating experiences trying to get hold of Tula Pink’s Neptune fabric by Moda.

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I knew it was coming out in March, and since I live in Canada, I thought I would wait until the end of March to start checking to see if it had arrived. I called four quilt shops (FOUR) which were within an hour or so's driving distance of me, and got the worst customer service imaginable!

As if that weren't bad enough, in the end, it all came down to that they didn't have it, and either no, they won't order it or maybe they'll order if it I buy enough of it (!), or in one memorable case - "Call me back in three weeks and I'll tell you if I have it. If not, maybe I'll order it for you then"

Seriously, that's what she said! Of course, that was the same person who told me when I went in on the weekend to get quilt batting - "No, we're out of it. It's so popular, we can't keep it in the store!" When I asked her when she was getting some in, she said, "We put in an order that's supposed to arrive in 4 weeks."

"Gah!"

So, I checked the Moda website and they told me that there were two stores in all of Canada that carried Moda fabric (wrong) and that they were on the West Coast (not helpful since I live in the middle of Canada), and then I googled "Moda fabric" for my city and found one store listed. I called them and had the following conversation:

Hello, *insert name* .
Hi there, I understand you have Moda fabric. Do you carry the Neptune line?
I’m not sure. Hold please.
*music*

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Hello, *insert name*
Hi there, do you have the Neptune line by Moda in stock?
Let me check. Hold please
*music*

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Insert Name Fabric Store, can I help you?
Hi. I was just talking to someone who was going to check if you have Neptune by Moda at the store?
Oh? Okay. Hold on.
*music*

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Insert Name, can I help you?
Hi. I’ve been put on hold three times now. I’d like to know if you have Neptune by Moda in the store.
Oh. Can you hold please?
*music*

I hung up. I might have said some bad words. I’m not sure. Possibly.

*ahem*

Anyway! So, last night after work, I went home and noodled around online looking for it. I still couldn't find it sold by the yard, so I ended up buying four charm packs online. *sigh* I don't LIKE charm packs! They're too smmmmmmaaaaalllllllll!

*sigh x2*

On the other hand, I now have possibly the world’s most beautiful cotton fabric on its way to my house.

So, yay!
March 21, 2009 4 comments

Spring Forward

I've been away from my blog the last seven days because last Saturday, I developed a sudden passion to put this little charm pack to work:

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Using pre-cut fabric is out of character for me, so I only bought the one, and set myself a challenge to make a KING size quilt I decided to supplement the charm pack with yellow, blue, green and pink fabrics.
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I first sewed the charms in sets of four, and then the supplementary fabric in sets of four. I cut those in half and sewed them together:

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and then cut them in half again and sewed those halves together, creating some lovely pinwheels:

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When I envisioned this quilt, I had decided to sash in blue or pink or white, because I had tonnes of those fabrics in my stash. However, when I laid my blocks out on those fabrics, I didn't like any of them.

I was stumped for a good hour, laying them out and looking at them again and again, asking BSP their input (and then dismissing their input! ;) ) and when BSP grew bored and wandered off, I contemplated my squares some more.

I went back to my stash and looked at the piles of fabric, thinking "Green?" "Orange?" And then had my Eureka moment. YELLOW.

I happily sashed my squares in yellow

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And when I had my centre panel, I put it on point and added a border of green:

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Which was when I had to reluctantly let go of my vision of a flagrantly girly, ultra feminine sweetly pretty girly quilt - quilted with free hand flowers and vines and leaves... I recognized that though this quilt was going to be feminine and fresh and lovely, it wasn't going to be girly.

This was really driven home while adding a yellow border to the green and deciding that I wanted to break up the yellow a bit, so added a little geometric detail in green and white:

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And then, I added yellow triangles to square off the quilt - and that is where I failed in my mission. The yellow just looked like too much of a sea of yellow and I didn't have enough green to do a final border. I went back to the store where I got the green, but found it was all gone. And I broke down. I got another charm pack to add to the border on the sides

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and the top:

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But now when I look at the whole thing, I'm not sure it adds anything particularly marvellous:

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(especially not in a picture in which a: the top hasn't been ironed and b: the sun is going down!)

Plus, the borders aren't really visible when the quilt is ON the bed:

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of course, that's a king sized quilt on a queen sized bed. It's hard to tell. I think I may rip off the border and, using what's left of my original green and perhaps supplementing with a simliar green, do a green and white lattice on the borders instead.

Then I'm going to start piecing the back and fter that I'll have to begin my first attempt at quilting a KING SIZED quilt on my little Singer.

Wish me luck!
March 13, 2009 4 comments

Schrodinger's Box

Photobucket Although I took physics in University, I was really terrible at it, and I hired this great tutor who taught me every theory as a narrative. In addition to the work we did for the course, he told me an anecdotal story about this guy, Schrodinger, who either approved or disproved one of Einstein's theories by use of a cat and a box, and something about the cat disappearing.



March 9, 2009 6 comments

Organization

Inspired by all the posts last month of peoples' sewing spaces and storage solutions, I decided I should clean mine up. First I made a trip to Canadian Tire to get shelving, and then to Ikea to purchase other things like a new sewing table (separate post, later). But in the meantime, I give you Shelves of Awesomeness! *s*

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What’s on those shelves, you ask? I’m glad you did!

Top shelf, left hand side:

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I know there was a debate in some blogs recently about what constitutes a “scrap”. For me, it’s anything smaller than a fat quarter. To me, a fat quarter isn't a "scrap" - it's fair game! If my scraps aren’t in small bins, they’re in clear plastic zipped bags, like this:

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So I can see easily what colours they are and more importantly, can add easily to them.

Second shelf:
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Some thread that won’t fit in the thread storage!

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Third shelf:
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Fourth shelf:
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On the second set of shelves, you’ll find my non-scrap fabric:

Top shelf:
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Second shelf:
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Third shelf:
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Fourth shelf:
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And I cut these off – but in these various drawers are thread, ribbons, scissors and rotary cutters of different sizes, plastic templates and rulers, pins of all kinds, plastic and cardboard for template making, freezer paper, patterns, marking pencils and chalk for same, calculator, notebook for, er, notes, and pens/pencils for making said notes.

On the other wall you’ll find a sad, old bookcase with a metric tonne of quilting books and magazines, which will be moved to this lovely which was purchased at Ikea this weekend:
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As well as one of these:

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Which my fabric currently in open storage will live in. * I also purchased something that will function as a sewing table – but you’ll see those after BSP has put them together – probably, given the current state of the ‘Honey Do” list – in a week or two.

All in all, a productive weekend!



*(I'm hoping the reds will actually match which they do not in this photo! If not, the bookcase will be going back in favour of two cabinets).
March 3, 2009 2 comments

Quilt A Long

I've decided to join the Quilt-A-Long at Oh, Fransson! Although there were a lot of other projects I was interested in joining, for instance, the spiderweb quilt that Quilt It is doing at her blog, or even a combo deal of that and Twiddletails Nothing But Scraps challenge (I like to play in groups *smile*); but in both groups, they're clipping along at a much faster pace than I am likely to keep up, because in addition to doing what they're doing, I like to continue what I'm doing and, I have the day job and the singing and trying to spend time with my BSP (Beloved Spouse) and my kids and what not... the same as everyonre, I suppose.

In any case, I'm looking forward to doing the Quilt-A-Long - I have a lot of pretty fabric in my stash that would be perfect for it, and maybe I'll continue with the idea of the spideweb quilt too, although I'm definitely leaning more towards getting on with the projects I've already started(three of those in various stages of top making) as well as actually getting around to quilting my WIPS that are batted up and waiting...

Really, it seems terribly unfair that I have to have a day job! ;)

And so this post isn't completely devoid of pictures - a little something I'm working on, called Schrodinger's Box:

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Looking forward to showing you the fruits of my labour, soon, I hope!
March 2, 2009 2 comments

Machine quilting

I went to my very first quilting class at a local quilt shop. It was an introductory machine quilting class.

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and I LOVED it.

I think I’ve been muddling along fairly well with my quilting – certainly, with every new quilt I make, I learn a tonne; but I’m finding that backs of my quilts always have an issue that looks like my tension was off, and no matter what I did , it never changed. In addition, my stitches were always too long.

Our teacher, Carolyn (pictured here)
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explained to me that the issue was not tension, but that my feet and my hands were not going at the same speed! She suggested a number of different techniques to correct this including quilting gloves (she gave me a pair to try) but it seemed that the best correction for the problem was information. Once I was aware of what the issue was, I sped up my machine (as counter-intuitive as that was) and slowed down my hands, and it worked! On full size quilts, it’s a little harder to get my hand speed right, but its coming along.

We tried a number of quilting techniques with the walking foot that I wouldn’t have otherwise; for instance, shallow curves:
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We also did a number of straight line techniques which I accomplished with varying degrees of success – I’m never very good with straight lines! Since my brain is always off in a hundred places at once, my straight lines, though often “straight” – were almost never parallel. No need to display my blocks of shame however, because we broke for lunch
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Beef stew and home-made bread and salad and chocolate cookies!

And then we got to do squiggles!
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Unsurprisingly, I was good at squiggles.

I was already familiar with stippling and meandering, but we also worked on outline quilting, Photobucket (only visible if you look really closely at those flowers) and meandering (which means, apparently, that you get to “meander” any place that you want to – I’m going to try that on my next quilt!)

And then we worked with freezer paper. Now I’ve read about this freezer paper trick, but I rather stubbornly thought “regular paper and pins are good enough for me!” But now I am a true convert. Behold the wonders of freezer paper!:

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Look Ma, no pins!

For someone as pin-phobic as I, you’d think I would have cottoned on to this whole freezer paper thing before! After I made this wondrous circle, I filled it in. Although I sewed that circle with a walking foot, I’ve found that in trying it out with a full size quilt – it was extremely difficult to manoeuvre. It may take more practice to manoeuvre with a walking foot - or perhaps there’s another “trick” I don’t know yet.

After discovering the wonders of freezer paper, I did a lot more work with it and experimented in other ways, (feathers and fractured stars and little paper doll girls with afros and clouds in a sunny sky and other things, including sewing OVER the freezer paper to follow a pattern) and it was amazing and wonderful to learn so much!

I'm definitely putting that new found knowledge to use!
 
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