I’ll Buy That…and that….and that…

I love on-line technology generally.  Here’s why…

When I started quilting about a lifetime ago (could it be possibly 20+ years ago? Yikes, OMG etc.), I lived in a big city in Alberta.  Back in the day, it was easy as pie to go to about a gazillion fabric shops within a few minutes drive from my home.   I got into a lovely groove… which involved purchasing a quilting magazine at the grocery store and then hi-tailing it off to the high end quilt stores all around me.  I especially loved Lori’s Country Cottage in Sherwood Park where everyone knew my name. (LOL,  I’m having a Norm from “Cheers” moment).

Then, hubby and I retired, packed our bags and all our belongings, and left Alberta to realize our retirement dreams on teeny tiny, itsy-bitsy Prince Edward Island–a little over 3 years ago.  Suddenly BOOM! my quilting world imploded.  Imagine my distress to find there are exactly 3 specialty quilt shops in the whole province; and no FabricLand franchises, or Marshall Fabrics or anywhere else with a good selection of quilting fabric at a reasonable (or exorbitant, for that matter) price.  I was devastated, disenchanted and discouraged.  It was a seriously bleak time….please excuse me, I do have a tendency to be a drama queen. But I’m sure you get my point.   Holy Heck Hanna what would I do?

Well, I started spending time on-line, where to my wonderment, there was a huge, borderless, universal quilting community. They didn’t know or care where I lived; they were willing and delighted to share their ahhhsome creations and I started to feel better.  Before too long, I decided to join in.  I quickly learned to post pics of my quilts to Instagram and Facebook and started reading blogs.  Then one day I clicked on a link to a wonderful wonderful place called Pink Castle Fabrics…OMG OMG OMG, there really was more fabric in the universe then I could imagine.  Beautiful traditional fabrics, modern low volume fabrics; text and texture fabrics; animal and vegetable fabrics….you see where I’m going with this right.

Well before you could say “Honey I’m Home”,  I whipped out my magic Visa card and started shopping.  Now a short lifetime later and I’m still going strong.  I love love love this new cyber world I’m living in.  I could never have imagined just 10 years ago that I could  purchase fabrics or patterns from anywhere in the world and have it delivered right to my door within 10 days.  I am a cyber citizen of the world; it doesn’t matter to me if my fabric originates from Canada, USA or Australia.  (Although to be honest, it does matter to hubby…he’d much prefer if I reined myself in a tiny bit and confined my on-line shopping to continental North America…he’s kinda old-school that way).

These beauties came by USPS or UPS just last week…Sigh, I am SO in my happy place!

 

What or where is your favourite fabric store?  And, do you buy FQs or bundles or yardage?  Leave me a comment…I’m always looking for fabulous new places to buy fabric.

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WANTED: A New “Wife”!

Nope I am not considering a plural marriage…but if that’s what you are into, I’d never stand in the way of your happiness…Just saying.

I need another “Gypsy Wife”, because my original “Wife” recently found a happy home with my fabulous niece, who lives far far away in a big city in central Canada.

Some of you may remember I blogged about my first Gypsy Wife journey here and here too.  Please feel free to go there to visit should you want to read about it.  And you can see lots of pictures in that post too. Oh and that’s her above in the Header also.  Isn’t she beautiful?

The first time I undertook to make this outrageous quilt, I did it completely on my own. But not this time.  This time I’m sewing along with at least 1000 other bold and brave souls in the “Gypsy Wife Sew-Along” hosted by Angie, who blogs at Gnome Angel and Nicole who blogs here in Canada at SnipsSnippets.

Whew,  I am all a-tingle due to the choices I made about my new “Wife”. This Gypsy is definitely well on her way to being much more free-spirited than the earlier one.  Right up front, she is going to be completely dotty when done (much like me, I expect LOL).  I purchased a FQ bundle of Kaffe Fassett Spots to go along with all the dotty and quasi-spotty fabrics I found in my stash.     Aren’t they ahhhmazing? YES THEY ARE!!!

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IMHO the trick to doing this, is to find a way to control the contrast between the many many dotty blocks so the whole quilt, when finished,  is sensational to see but will not make anyone go cross-eyed or lose their lunch.  This, my friends is much like performing a high wire act–blind-folded and without a net above Niagara Falls,  I’m very afraid it’s apt to make me completely potty before we’re done.  My sole plan is to make the fifty-odd vertical stripes very neutral,  trusting this will give the whole moonstruck quilt some balance.  Right now, I’m seriously considering using only 2 fabrics for the vertical stripes.  I have two excellent pairs of contenders.   Below is a sample of Crosswatch in Onyx and Crosswatch in Aluminum.  Both are from the Hatch Collection, designed by Bread & Butter for Windham Fabrics.  There is nary a spot or a dot to be seen in these beauties, but I think its a fabulous pairing and would look absolutely brilliant in this quilt. And would give my eyes a place to rest…which they are definitely going to need. I LOVE THEM!

But then, I am seriously crushing on my other choices too. There are definitely dots aplenty in this pairing, but not overwhelming I think…These fabrics are designed by Rae Ritchie and are part of the Chroma Basics collection for Dear Stella.  I LOVE THEM TOO!

I think either pair will be stupendous and will do a kick-ass job of showcasing all those brilliant dots and spots.  Right now Pink Castle Fabrics is offering a 25% discount on low volume fabrics….which might possibly be the deciding factor. Stay tuned to see what I decide.  All four fabrics are on the way to my house via the wonder of my magic Visa card, UPS and of course the Internet.  Watch for all these fabrics to  turn up in this or another quilt in the near future.

So…I think this is the first quilt I’ve ever made twice.  I am absolutely over-the-moon, crazy mad in love with Gypsy Wife.  Seriously I shed a quiet tear or two at home in my sewing room after Lobo decided she wanted to make  my original “Gypsy Wife” hers and took her off to live in Toronto with her.  Have you ever loved a quilt pattern as much as that? Did you ever make your own Gypsy Wife?  I’d love to see it if you did.

Just so you know…the block for week one is done and posted on my Instagram Feed.  I love it so much I thought I’d show it here again.  Ain’t she just the cutest thing ever?

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I’ve got cabin fever

…and its not because its minus 4 gazillion degrees outside, or because of the wind whistling up my long johns at 90 km per hour, or even the freezing rain/ice pellets ricocheting out of the sky and into my face as I stand outside with our new puppy, crossing my mitten clad fingers that he will do his business before I freeze into an extremely unimpressed icicle. Nosirree Bob its not.

I’ve got a bad case of cabin fever because of the new quilting project I’m working on.  Its another quilt along, this time with Angie over at  Gnome Angel and Snips Snippits. This is not a quilt along for the faint-o-heart.  Holy OMG.  Here is a picture of the pattern book (please ignore the puppy chewed corners – Théo  wants to eat everything he sees).  Its 38 freaky pages long!

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Here is a picture of the actual finished quilt that may someday be mine!

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If you look closely you will see that there are 16 pineapple log cabin blocks spread over the quilt,  9 in one block on the right side about half way down, 4 on the bottom edge left of centre,  and another 3 closer to the top left.  Folks these are 5″ finished blocks. Yes, you read that correctly. The pieces are incredibly, amazingly, shockingly tiny.  There is a template on the back page of the pattern that I could scan and print (if I had a scanner, which naturally I don’t), so I decided to find a similar/same block on line, which I could save and simply print.

Lucky me, I found one.  Its a variation on the pineapple log cabin so I am happy as a pig in a puddle.  I wanted to share the blocks that I’ve finished so far with you.  Here are the 9 that will go together into one block that finishes at 15″.

I think they are adorable.  I admired them for about a day and a half before I broke down and started searching the internet again for blocks that I could modify for the 4 block piece.  Here is what I came up with so far.

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Its a wonky pineapple block.  Also 5″ finished and last but not least…so far

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A couple little birdhouses.  My plan is to make one more birdhouse for the section that has 3 log cabins in a row and 3 more wonky log cabins in other colorways.

Yikes,  I am afraid to even think about the other 4 log cabins, 9 courthouse steps or  21 churn dash blocks that I have to make after the pineapple log cabin variation blocks are done. And that my friends is only a small portion of the madness.

O and did I mention that this QAL kicks off officially in March and finishes in July which is only 4 months.  The schedule is crazy.  Check it out below or read the whole post at GnomeAngel

  1. Bow Tie – Make 2 –
  2. Square in a Square Stars – Make 1
  3. Crosses of the U.K. – Make 6
  4. Jacobs Ladder – Make 9
  5. Trip Around the World – Make 1
  6. Plus a Star – Make 1
  7. Churn Dash – Make 21
  8. Courthouse Steps – Make 9
  9. Log Cabin – Make 4
  10. Half Square Triangle 1 – Make 1
  11. Half Square Triangle 2 – Make 1
  12. Half Square Triangle 3 – Make 1
  13. Flying Geese – Make 64
  14. 60 Degree Triangle – Make 30
  15. Pineapple Log Cabin – Make 16
  16. Checkerboard

And just for a giggle I thought I’d share the scrap basket that I’m using to create this masterpiece – although my PEIMQG friends have kindly kicked in some strips of fabric for me to use.  Thanks again to Robin and Susan.

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Sigh…will I ever learn? I think not.

 

 

 

Einey Meanie Miney Mo…

I am taking part in a QAL with a bunch of awesome quilty folk from all across Canada. We are 14 quilt mavens, and each of us is putting together a version of a quilt found in Elizabeth Hartman’s “Patchwork City” book.  If you want to see it, you can find it on Amazon;, or go to her blog “Oh Fransson”; or perhaps you’d rather just click here.  I decided to take on the “Metro Area” quilt and am using the colour scheme found in the Downtown version, which is primarily green and orange with big chunks of black and gray, smaller bits of other colours, and some really adorable/strange/unique/modern focus fabrics thrown into the mix.  I love it!

Our hosts (Jean and Laila) provide us with two sets of blocks each month…that’s two (2) each 8.5 x 8.5 blocks; 5.5 x 8.5 blocks and 5.5 x 14.15 blocks.  So six blocks per month and we are currently on month 3.  For your viewing pleasure, here is a photo of where I’m at right now

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Below are the FQ’s that I’ve chosen as the primary colours.

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and

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so…not a whole lot of choices really considering that I am committed to completing all 75 blocks….oops,  you should also know that I am allowing myself free reign of my scrap basket (see above)  and I guess I should say I have OCD/linear tendencies, so in my head, each month I plan to make one set of blocks primarily green and the other primarily orange… so nope I’m not gonna make this easy on myself.  Sigh…

While all of the above is absolutely fascinating I know (LOL),  you are probably wondering what or where is the question in all this?  So here it is.  Within this limited colour palette, how do I make a fabulously fabulous, interesting and awesome quilt?

Its so bizarre, sometimes I just go to the shelf, pull out a FQ and immediately know what fabrics I’m going to pair with it.  Other times, I spend literally hours trying to figure out what should go where and then I second guess myself a few thousand times before I finally put together a block.

Here is a good example of a block that came together really quickly.  I purchased a fabulous FQ of Esperenza in parchment from Bobby Lou’s Fabric Factory in the southern USA.  The collection is called Folklorico and the designer is Alexander Henry.  Check it out here.  I gotta say I haven’t seen anything yet in this collection that I didn’t love.  Anyway, as you can see, this fabric features pretty doll like characters, most of who are holding onto skulls and/or other hideous things…what’s not to love?

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This block is called “Donut Shop”.  Although the focus fabric is not actually orange, it does have coral/gold tones and is funky/fun which allowed me to think orange polka dots, narrow stripes and arrowheads would work together. And, IMHO, it does.  I think I put this one together (not counting sewing of course) in less than 10 minutes.

But, this one  was a whole ‘nuther story altogether.

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It’s called “Meow” and I made it the very next day.  Let me say this little block caused me a whole lot of grief and caused me to say some very bad words, several times.  First of all, this is not the block I was supposed to make, but my printer was broken which meant I couldn’t print off the template for the proper one, so I chose another block, which would not require a template for piecing.  Things went rapidly downhill from there.   This block was supposed to be primarily green, and is supposed to look like a cat–I think– but I wasn’t really paying attention to that little fact when I was auditioning fabric, which is why after cutting and sewing, then discarding, and re-sewing about 100 green strip pairs together, any of which would have been perfectly satisfactory, I ended up completely overwhelmed, which led to me selecting the same fabrics in two of the three sections and then reusing the same fabrics in the border Holy Heck, WHY DID I DO THAT? And why didn’t I notice until I was pressing the finished block.  Oh and also what on earth is that dark grey strip doing in there.  Clearly I was distracted and distraught!

So I am seriously looking for input from anyone who cares to answer.  Is it better to choose a focus fabric for each block and then build from there? or should I try to get a variety of colors/patterns into each block? What would you do?  Einey Meeny Miney Mo, leave me a note and let me know.

 

 

 

 

 

Perfect 9 Patch

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I am entering my Perfect 9 Patch quilt into the hand quilted category at the online Bloggers Quilt Festival 2016.  This is her in all her hand-quilted beauty.

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I made the curves in this quilt using the Quick Curve Ruler.   It’s an amazing addition to your ruler collection…if like me, you cannot get enough new gadgets.  And I also based the design on a pattern from  Sew Kind of Wonderful  called Urban 9 Patch.  Click here to see all kinds of other variations of this pattern. Its such a cool “old school” block, but presented in a new modern way.  Yay….these are a few of my favourite things.

This quilt was pieced totally using only fabric already in my cupboard…pinky swear ….I didn’t buy a single piece of new fabric specifically for this project.  That, my friends, was the biggest challenge I faced the whole time this beauty was coming together.
Here are some close ups of the hand quilting details.  Please excuse my poor camera skills.


Here on PEI, Canada, this lap quilt is a prize winner.  She won a first prize red ribbon at the Provincial Exhibition in August this year.

I hope you like her as much as I do!

My quilty pleasure place

Today I’m going to a linky party hosted by one of the 2016 new quilt bloggers named Melva who blogs at Melvalovesscraps.blogspot.ca .  Its all about sharing the space where we quilt.  Needless to say I’m excited (and a tiny bit nervous) to share my quilty play place with you.

First let me say, that I tidied it up quite a bit before I invited you over. And I caution you not to look in the corners, because some of the dust bunnies hiding there are bigger than my sewing machine.

Here goes.

When I come into the room, on the left is my cutting table. Many years ago, when I was really into my “contemporary country quilting” stage (is there even such a thing?) I pieced and hand quilted these blocks and hubby had them framed for me as a gift.  (There’s another one on the other wall which you’ll see it in a few minutes).  It was a really amazingly thoughtful gift and it still makes me smile when I see how well those churn dashes are quilted.  They were and still are, one of my all time favourite blocks to make.

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That cylinder rolled up on the table is my 2016 Teal Mini-Quilt which I’m getting ready to send to my partner Tony Jean Dickerson in the USA.

My hubby has a silly sense of humour.  He decided to surprise me one day with this wooden portrait of me in “sewing mode”.  Seriously folks, this is what I have to deal with every day.  Below it are several of my fabric bins.  I am ashamed to admit that I haven’t opened these bins except to add more fabrics for a loooooong time.

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Next up is more of hubby’s creative art work for my walls (its a button and a needle with thread), another log cabin framed quilt and a glimpse of one of my bins of larger cuts of fabric.  Once upon a time those drawers were colour coordinated, starting at the top with green, red, neutral, blue and yellow.  I rarely buy solid colored fabric and often cannot decide what colour is dominant in a fabric, so things hIMG_2430ave gotten a bit muddy over the years.  But it is still one of my best go to spots in the room.  On top of the cabinet is the first mini-quilt I ever made.  I made it for our PEIMQG Tribute to Frank Lloyd Wright, but I didn’t’ like the way it turned out, so now it sits on the top of the cupboard.

Here is another stash bin.  I’ve opened the “black” drawer at the bottom.  For some reason this is my cats favourite spot to nap and he often comes in and cries for me to open it, so he can curl up in it.  Thank goodness he is not in there now.  That would be mighty embarrassing.

Next to the bins is a small open cabinet that I use to store backing fabrics and batting.  Sitting on top is another of hubby’s DIY projects. Its a small portable ironing board.

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A portable pressing surface is a godsend.  Just Saying.  Get one, or make one if you can.

I also have a ruler storage space here and a spool rack (another hubby project….what would I do without him?)

Above my sewing space is a large open shelving area, where I am currently using the top shelf to store some WIPs.  My most recent finished quilts look lovely stacked on the bottom.  I enjoy having these close by, where I can look at them every day and know that there will be another finished one there someday soon.

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Next stop on the tour is the open shelving area on both sides of my sewing area.  This is a very flexible space and currently I am using it to store FQs, books, magazines and albums containing pictures of the quilts I made back in the day before I started storing pics on my computer and Instagram.  As you can see, my “little scraps basket” is getting mighty full so I’ve recently added another one to the top shelf beside my water jug. Yikes I need to get a grip and do something with these.

The lower shelves provide a perfect spot for me to showcase the beautiful fat quarters I’ve been collecting recently and the ones I’ve pulled for the projects I’m working on now.  It appears that quite without my being actively aware of it, I’ve become a modern quilt enthusiast. Check out all my modern low volume FQs on the middle shelf and large print pretties and stacks of jewel toned FQs.

Last thing on the list is my design wall.  I know its small, its behind the door, and its usually covered with bits of thread or orphan blocks.  I would be absolutely lost without it (do I need to say that Hubby put that there for me?)

So there you have it.  This is  where I spend many happy and creative hours every day. The picture is of our granddaughter Jessica when she was a little girl.  I cannot believe that she’s 21 years old already and I’ve been quilting since before she was born.  Time flies scary fast.

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I know I am extremely lucky to have a dedicated sewing room in our home here on PEI after years of sewing in the basement laundry room in Sherwood Park, Alberta.  This one has a window that looks out over our front yard.  Hubby is the gardener and I take no credit for the beauty that I see whenever I look out any of the windows in our house.  Oh yeah in case you missed it, there is usually at least one big poodle dog sitting on the couch looking out that window or looking at me while I work.

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He has a very keen eye and often offers constructive criticism of whatever it is I’m working on, unless of course he is trying to catch the cat…

I hope you enjoyed the visit.  I’m glad you popped in.  Please come back anytime (but don’t be surprised if my sewing room looks like it was hit by a tornado — which is the way it usually looks).

 

 

 

 

A Fabric Fix with Fat Quarters and Fluffy Sheep.

This is a very good, awesome, really spectacular day.

If you have been reading my stories this year, you know I am taking part in the 2016 Finish Along online.  Its a good thing because as well as motivating me to  clear out a whole cupboard full of WIPs, at the end of every quarter in 2016,  I get a chance to win a schwack of prizes, just for finishing a project and posting about it either on my blog, or on Instagram.  This FAL has participants in all corners of the globe and hundreds (possibly thousands) of people are finishing projects every quarter.  So imagine my excitement when I got the email telling me that I was the winner of a $25 (Euro) gift certificate from Fluffy Sheep Quilting, simply for finishing a project that I started last year.  Omygawd! omygawd! omygawd!

Before you could say Holy Heck Hermione, I was on the Internet checking out Fluffy Sheep’s website to see what goodies would become mine.  You should stop reading this right now and go visit  Fluffy Sheep Quilting, but come right back so I can tell you the rest of the story.

After shopping for about 12 seconds  I knew I had to have some of their gorgeous fat quarters. I really really wanted a whole bunch more than I could get for my $25 Euros, but I was able to contain my excitement somehow and keep my VISA card in my wallet; mostly because I wanted to be able to tell hubby that everything was free (because how often does that happen? – with me almost never…sigh).

Anyhoo, via the wonder of e-mail, I confirmed the details of my order with Cindy Coleman, owner and proprietor and whatdayathink happened next.  She put them in the mail at her shop and just like magic, they arrived in my mailbox today.  I am beside myself with joy.  I may have jumped up and down a couple of times, a couple of times…

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Don’t hate me because I have five fabulous new FQs in my cupboard.

Some of you know that I’m taking part in a “Patchwork City QAL” based on the book by Tula Pink,  and Holy OMG these FQs are going to be perfect for that project.  I can already see some of those fabulous paintbrushes fussy cut to fit perfectly into the quilt I’m making…and both gray FQs make me giggle with glee, the print text in both is perfect and just that little bit different from anything else I’ve seen recently.  The mermaids on the lighter FQ are adorably whimsical and will look cute as a button when fussy cut with the octopi and sea-horses. I chose orange and green as my focus colours for this project and you can see orange sea-critters all over one of the fabrics and really pretty orange/yellow flowers with green petals on the other one.

Such a wonderful start to my day.  Thank you Fluffy Sheep Quilting and 2016 Finish Along.