Visions of Sugar Plums (Week 3)

Week 3 of the Sugar Plum Table Runner is available and it’s the last two three blocks of the project (2 snowflake paper piecing blocks and 1 traditional piecing star block).

I was really enjoying my new journey in paper piecing…until this snowflake block. Not as easy as I thought it was going to be.  The actual paper piecing part was fine but then sewing those four blocks together to make the final block AND get the points matching was another story.  One block I had to unsew twice before getting the points to somewhat match.  The second block I only have to unsew once.  But I guess that’s what makes quilting fun because if everything was perfect every time it would be boring…right?!

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Modern Pine Tree – Golden Star – Snowflake – Poinsettia Flowers

The center block is a traditional pieced star block that I really love the look of. It’s my second favourite block of this table runner (the poinsettia is the first).  If you are doing this quilt along,  I would suggest doing the Magic 8 Method for the half-square triangles.  You need 8 HST so this way is much faster (and easier) than doing them the ‘regular’ way (as explained in the quilt along instructions).  For this block you need an finished size of 2 x 2″ which means to do the Magic 8 method, you will need to start with a 6″ or 6¼” block.  Continue reading

Visions of Sugar Plums (Week 1 & 2)

One thing about being a new quilter (or new at anything) is that there’s always a bunch of “firsts” – First time cutting fabric, first time sewing, first time “unsewing”,  first time doing a mystery quilt, etc.  Well I have two new things to add: first time doing a quilt along and first time foundation paper piecing.

A quilt along is very similar to a Block of The Month program except the instructions are usually provided weekly.  These are great multi-week “lessons” for quilters of all skill levels.  Fresh Lemons Quilts is hosting a quilt along for their Sugar Plum table runner at BERNINA’s We All Sew blog.  It’s a modern Christmas table runner with a mixture foundation paper piecing and traditional piecing.

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Colour palette for Sugar Plum table runner

I was a little hesitant to participate in the quilt along because this is my first go at paper piecing….which seems like a very intimidating method (especially if you look at Judy Niemeyer quilts).  Thankfully these aren’t extremely complicated blocks and the detailed instructions make it very easy to understand and follow…but that doesn’t mean you won’t have (user related) issues.  I had to “unsew” a few times because the pieces weren’t right (put on wrong, more than a quarter inch seam, etc.) and one block I just tossed in the garbage halfway through because it was looking terrible. Having done 12 paper pieced blocks so far, I really enjoy the process and the end result is amazing.  Everything is so precise and on point.

Check out BERNINA’s We All Sew blog to participate!  Week 1 has the fabric requirements, templates, and cutting instructions. Week 2 has the pattern instructions for blocks 1 & 2.

This fabric & That pillow

Although Momma Bear and I sometimes have different tastes in fabric choices, I’m lucky enough to have her stash and pattern library at my disposal.  Taking full advantage of that, I decided to finally make the Comfort & Joy pillow from This & That.  A pattern that we she had bought a few years ago.

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Comfort & Joy charm pack pattern from This & That.

The pattern is for a 16 x 16″ Christmas pillow – you  can always resize for whatever size pillow form you want.  This is a great pattern for using fabrics from your stash.  While I browsed Momma Bear’s stash, I decided on two sets of coordinating fabrics; one set was (for lack of a better word) matte Christmas fabrics, and the fabrics in the second set all had some gold metallic accents throughout the fabric.  I really loved both sets but ultimately decided on the metallic set.

This is my second pillow and the second time using a pattern (I can’t design everything I do, right?) BUT it is the first time doing applique!  Which is not as easy as it seems…although it doesn’t really seem that easy.  I used Heat n Bond Light Weight and maybe I’m not using it right, or it’s an old package but the letters (JOY) weren’t completely sticking to the fabric!  Momma Bear prefers Steam-A-Seam so next time I applique I’m going to use that instead to see the difference.  That whole process is pretty easy….it’s stitching down the applique pieces that is difficult.  That’s when I became a frog…Satin stitch? Rip it.  Zigzag stitch? Rip it.  Straight Stitch? Rip it.  Blanket stitch? Winner winner chicken dinner!  I did a pretty darn good job of blanket stitching around all the pieces – using coordinating thread colour helps too!

It’s All Greek To Me

I waste invest plenty of time on Pinterest…who doesn’t?  There are just so many things to discover and it’s a great place for inspiration.  That’s where I stumbled upon the Greek Cross block.  It’s quite possibly my new favourite block.  It’s sort of like a Churn Dash but…not.

I whipped up a quick pattern and thought about using Kaffe Fassett fabrics to make up the cross part of the block however I figured that might be too busy for what I was going for.  I ended up going with Kona Solids (Pond & Mango for the crosses, Bone for background) and Cotton & Steel (XOXO #2 Pencil) for the corner half-square triangles.  The finished block size is 12″ x 12″.  I managed to get the top done in a day and will post a picture once it’s quilted and ready to go.

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Greek Cross in Pond

Half-square Triangles have to be one of the most common blocks in quilt making.  A quilt I’m working on is made up of 302 HST….this Greek Cross one has 80.  Needless to say, I’m becoming an expert a HST.  If you need a bundle of HST, I’ll tell you how to do the ‘Magic 8’ method which will save you so much time. Continue reading

My Fair Isle

If I could knit, I would always knit the Fair Isle pattern.  However, since I don’t know how to knit, I’ll just design a Fair Isle quilt instead.

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My Fair Isle

Feeling creative, I drew out the design on graph paper (shhh…don’t tell Photoshop) and went to work on figuring out if this were to be a full size quilt or a wall hanging….or something in between.  I settled for wall hanging with a final approximate size of 23″ × 23″.  Yes, that means tiny 1 inch and 2 inch squares make up this beauty.

I like how this turned out even though it’s far from perfect.  Originally I was going to quilt an overall 1 inch grid however I changed my mind (and took out some stitches) after realizing how not-so-good that would look.  I ended up just quilting a quarter inch echo in coordinating thread.

Did you know that there are multiple ways of binding a quilt? I sure didn’t.  There’s a way to bind a quilt called “Faced Edge” (I’ve also seen it as “Knife Edge”).  Basically this means facings, instead of bindings, are used to finish the edges of a quilt.  It gives the quilt a very modern and contemporary look since the quilt design finishes at the edge.  That’s how I finished this wall hanging and I’m definitely going to try this method again for wall hangings.

Mystery creates wonder…KQG Pt 1

I’m participating in the Kanata Quilt Guild’s mystery quilt! Since I started quilting, I have yet to make a quilt top that is from an ‘actual’ pattern – they have all been my own designs.  You would think that since I’m a beginner I’d want to follow a pattern but….nope! So this will be a first for mystery quilts and a first for actually having a real pattern to follow.

I was a little hesitant to sign up because I actually don’t like the ‘mystery’ part of a mystery quilt.  How can I choose the right fabrics if I don’t even know what I’m making??  Luckily, my first ever quilt retreat was with the ladies from the Kanata Quilt Guild and most of them were working on their mystery quilt. I was able to see what fabrics others had chosen and get an idea of what I’d like to do.  I decided to go in a completely different direction than everyone else…I went the way of Christmas fabric. I absolutely LOVE the fabric I chose so I’m excited to get the next installment.  The backing fabric is the cutest ever but you’ll have to wait until the quilt is done to see it!

and sew, the adventure begins…

Let me take you back to July 2016. That was the month I decided that I was to be a quilter.  Ok, so that decision was easy – after numerous years of watching Momma Bear create beautiful works of art, I thought I would give it a go…I definitely have the best ever mentor/instructor/inspiration right at my fingertips.  Now I have to decide on a pattern…and fabric. Oh the fabric!  This will always be my downfall as a quilter.  There are just TOO many fabrics available!

There’s a pattern by Missouri Star Quilt Co. called Tag Team that I saw in one of the BLOCK magazines.  I loved the look but hated the borders. (Side note: I’m not a huge fan of borders.  I know sometimes they are necessary but if I can make a quilt without one, I will.)  This was going to be my first quilt…sans borders.  So off to Photoshop I went to create my pattern.

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I enjoy working in Photoshop because I  can see what the pattern will look like with my colour choices and have the ability to change whatever I want to.  I knew that I was going to use Kona Solids and originally I was going to do a gradient from aqua blue to deep purple…then blue to green…then pink to purple…then light blue to dark blue.  I liked the colours but I didn’t love them.  Then I tried blue to grey. Winner winner! Loved it! Couldn’t wait to start it!   Continue reading