Work-in-Progress Girl


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Pushme Pullme Florence Baby Quilt

This newest finish is not one I’d really had on my horizon to get finished, but rather out of nowhere I got a bug up my ass about finishing it, and so I did.

PushMe PullMe Florence Baby Quilt

The last time I wrote about this quilt was in January of 2013. (Yikes! I need to finish more and start less if little, easy to finish quilts like this are sitting around for nearly 3 years!) You should go check out that post – in it I talk a lot more about the pattern, which is the Pushme Pullme block, designed by Michelle Wilkie of Factotum of Arts. I was one of Michelle’s pattern testers for this block and I think the only one who didn’t actually finish what I’d created with it. I’m really glad to have it done now, though – it’s one more thing off my list and better: it’s going to be donated to a Linus blanket charity and is a part of the 100 Quilts for Kids campaign.

100 Quilts for Kids

I really don’t know why I took so long to finish this – with a very simple pattern (a loopy meander), it took just a couple hours to get the quilting completely finished. I think I spent more time trying to decide what binding to use than it took just to get it all finished. I was helped out by it being a fairly small quilt: just a teeny-tin itty-bitty 30.5 inches square.

Both the best and worst places to see the quilting on this is on those dark blue bits of fabric. I will quilt with white thread over pretty much anything and it pretty much always sinks into the background even when you use it on colour, but it sure does look awful on that deep blue! From a distance you could almost imagine that’s a print on the fabric, rather than free motion quilting!

I spent a lot of time contemplating a more complex straight-line quilting pattern that would emphasize the arrows in the blocks, but decided that after 3 years of inaction, I needed to do the fast thing instead of the intricate thing.

PushMe PullMe Florence Baby Quilt

Every print in this quilt is a Denyse Schmidt print, front, back, and binding. All of the prints (except the two binding prints) come from Schmidt’s Florence line – I’d bought a 12 print bundle of blues and greens, and all 12 prints made their way into this quilt. The solid fabrics are all Kona cottons and I pulled most of them out of a jelly roll, so I’m not actually sure what colours they are! The dark blue is Nightfall, which is a really beautiful deep colour (and I wish I had yards and yards of it instead of scraps after having used it in a couple quilts). Its hard to tell in most photos, but there are two different light blues and two different greens – since I only had jelly roll strips, I think there wasn’t enough to stretch out each colour over two blocks.

PushMe PullMe Florence Baby Quilt

The binding fabrics come from Chicopee and (I think) Shelburne Falls. Schmidt creates magnificent plaids (and I’m sort of having a plaid moment right now!) so there are four different plaids in just this one quilt. Too much?

PushMe PullMe Florence Baby Quilt
Obligatory windblown shot!

Anyway, I suppose that’s all there is to say about this little quilt! I really like it and am really pleased to see it finished and ready to find a home with a child in need.

Some quilt stats
Name: PushMe PullMe Florence Quilt
Pattern: Pushme Pulle by Michelle Wilkie
Size: 30.5″ x 30.5″
Fabric: 12 FQs from Denyse Schmidt’s Florence line, plus assorted Kona cottons (featuring Nightfall on the back and in the corners of the front)
Batting: Some weird all cotton no name from Michaels
Thread: White Guttermann (piecing), White Aurifil (quilting)
Backing: Assorted Florence prints, plus Kona Nightfall
Binding: Plaids from Denyse Schmidt’s lines Chicopee and Shelburne Falls.

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WIP Wednesday: Little Things

Naturally because I have a bit of a goal list for the month, I’ve so far only worked on completely different things. Two of them totally new!

The simplest thing on my ginormous To-Do list was to add borders to two finished baby sized tops and send them away for a Linus group to quilt and gift to a child in need. I even had the borders cut.

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Sure, the lighting is horrible. But so are the borders! I don’t hate all borders on sight (like some capital-m Modern Quilters seem to), but there’s a time and a place for all things, and these two quilts were not the place for borders, apparently.

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Thing was, they weren’t very square and if you have a not-very-square quilt, adding properly sized borders can really help fix a multitude of sins. But they’re just so awful looking! I couldn’t decide if I should take them off or leave them on, and I left them in the end. I figure if the Linus group that gets them really hates them as much as me, they can trim off 2.25″ width to use as binding fabric (and be left with a skinnier border, that maybe wouldn’t look so bad?) or they can rip them off entirely or they can leave them on because maybe some kid somewhere will appreciate it anyway.

Anyway, after I got that done, I went digging through my drawers looking for a needle. I can’t remember what got me looking for one – I don’t think I had anything that needed hand-sewing – but I did and then I found a little embroidery project that I bought a while ago and never got around to making:

Mr Monkey Man

An embroidered monkey stuffie from Kiriki Press. They sell a sweet little collection of embroidered stuffie kits. This is one of the simplest ones – you only need to know chain stitch and running or back stitch to do the embroidery. I picked it up because I thought it was cute and because Kiriki is an independant Canadian company (and I want to support Canadian talent) and did I mention it’s cute? I’ve only been working on it a little here and there while watching tv, but then I haven’t watched anything in a few days now, so I’ve set him aside again. I’m determined to finish him this month, though, so to that end, I’m going to link up to &Stitches January finish-along. I have lots of other embroidery projects I could try to finish instead, but I’m feeling this one instead.

Potholders in Progress

I’m also working on some pot-holders out of that Christmas fabric I mentioned a couple days ago. I started out following a pot holder/hot pad tutorial, but I got distracted somewhere along the line and sort of did my own thing and then I thought how very boring it was (just this floral fabric on the front/heat reflective side, all that brown background fabric on the back side) so my brain went back to that original tutorial and thought I’d better add some kind of embellishment to break up the front a little.

So today I headed over to Fabricland and picked up a half metre each of those two crochet lace edgings – grand total of $1.13 – to test against the fabric. Neither matches quite exactly – in brighter lighting, the white is a much purer white than the fabric, which is a creamy yellow-based white and the beige is much too dark. (The beige does match the twill tape loops quite well.) But I have enough to do four hot pads, so I think I might just do two with the white and two with the beige and be done with it whether they match precisely or not.

So that’s what I’m working on! And then I need to get working on my bee blocks and some cat-faces…

Linking up to The Needle and Thread Network and WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced:
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced


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Double Hourglass Quilt

This post has been a long time coming, but I didn’t like my photos when I first took them threeish weeks ago, and then kept putting off taking more.

Hourglass Quilt

Not that this is such a great photo, stuffed into the bannister of the stairs, but it seemed like the light was going to be good for once (and then it turned out kind of weirdly overlit anyway!). Winter in Canada. A whole season of everything being underlit or overlit via light bouncing off snow. Yay.

Anyway, I finished this one around Thanksgiving, maybe October 14 or 15. It’s a baby quilt, about 36″ x 43″. I didn’t follow a pattern, but this is a very jelly roll-friendly quilt, and a very easy one to make. (If anyone wants to know how, ask and I’ll let you know, but the gist is “sew two strips of fabric together, cut into triangles, rotate to create hourglasses, sew together into a square.”) This quilt was all tailored for an old friend who hadn’t been super into baby themed items for babies (you know, little teddy bears and… I don’t know, whatever), but I didn’t wind up sending it to her in the end. (And when she sent me a picture of her baby, he was wrapped up in something with cute child themed prints anyway – maybe she’s loosened up in the intervening years on the subject. It has been 6 or more years since we’ve seen one another!) I let my mom talk me into sending her the Star Surround quilt instead, so this one will get donated to a Linus group, which is a great way to use it regardless.

Hourglass Quilt

I talked a lot in the past about the fabric selection process for this quilt (here and here) and still wound up changing things a little (I took out one of the fabrics and swapped in a different one), but generally speaking it fits the colour scheme and the type of prints I was aiming for: orange, green, blue, and red using stripes, dots, and other geometric prints. The rope text print doesn’t quite fit, but I let it slide on the basis of it’s a baby quilt. The two Stof prints are certainly more organic than geometric, but they both created a striped effect so I thought that was okay too.

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The fabrics I had the most difficulties with were the off-white ones. As a general rule, I don’t ever put an off-white print together with a pure white print, because the off-white one comes out looking dingy and dirty in comparison. But I bought the fabric online and some of them were more off-white than I was expecting. I even added in the blue/off-white loop print to try to tie in the three existing off-whites. I kept telling myself that all colours go with white and thus off-white also should go with white. It’ll be fine, Kristel. Don’t worry about it so much and nobody will even notice! But it does bother me if I spend too much time looking at those particular prints. (Colours pop so beautifully against pure white, it seems a crime not to use it!)

Hourglass Backing & Binding

I used my favourite print for the binding – that green and navy print from Emily Herrick’s Technicolor line – but it really wasn’t a great choice for a binding (seriously – scroll up to a picture of the entire quilt!) because the look varies so much from one part of the print to another. Still, I love having that green around the edges (and my different coloured corner, of course, in the red and white stripe). The backing you can see is a flannel version of one of the chevrons I used on the front of the quilt – it’s also a larger size chevron. (I think that is a medium size, where the front has a small size on regular quilting cotton. All three of the chevron fabrics I used are from Riley Blake, anyway.) This picture also shows the quilting. I went pretty minimalist with this one and only quilted on the diagonal, a little more than a quarter inch away on either side of the seams. (The foot I use has a marking on the inside of the foot at the quarter inch, but I lined it up with the outside of the foot, so there’s probably an extra 1/8-inch.) I had thought about adding something more, maybe on the white parts of each block, but didn’t want to overkill it, and anyway I find quilts more comfortable when they’re not quilted too densely (though it sure does look good!).

I always have a list of things I’d like to change about the quilts I make – there’s always something in retrospect I wish I’d done better – and in this case, I wish I’d pressed all my seams open. I’m pretty back and forth on that one, but in this case, all those dark edges of fabric that got pushed toward the white (this happened when joining the rows, generally I press toward the dark if I don’t open my seams) show through. When I first took it out of the wash, I was terrified that it had bled because I could see all these kind of streaky bits of colour, but when you get up close, it’s just the fabric pressed under in those particular places. Sigh. Oh well, as far as things I’d like to change go, I’m happy that that’s my only real complaint. I’m usually pretty good at picking apart my flaws, so that one little thing isn’t so bad at all. (Okay. That and those off-white prints. I mean, seriously, designer types: why the off-whites? Do you want dingy looking fabric, because I don’t!)

Anyway, done is good. And that’s another finish for the year. I’m not a terribly prolific quilter (like some bloggers are) and I tend never to finish things, so every finished piece is a bit of a victory.


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Wonky Stars Quilt Top

Wonky Stars Quilt by clumsy chord
Wonky Stars Quilt, a photo by clumsy chord on Flickr.

It’s been a while, I know, and my only excuse is that I’ve been lazy. I’ve been working on things, I just haven’t been talking about it.

Well, after almost two weeks of rain, I’ve finally had a sunny day so I could take some things outside and try to photograph them, but it was some kind of windy out there.

This new quilt top was a quick and fun one to put together. I took less than a week (and a whole lot of watching Lie to Me) to put it all together. (I generally finish nothing, over the span of years, so to finish something inside of a week is big! Even if that finish is only a quilt top and not a full on quilt.)

Last year I put together a quilt top of wonky stars in purple (blogged here) and had talked about it in one of my Talk to Me Tuesday videos (see here) and someone mentioned in the comments that they’d like to see how I make those blocks, so I decided to record a tutorial on my method. (Which isn’t edited, though it’s filmed, and was really hard to do because I don’t have a second camera person and I couldn’t get the right camera angle to show most of what I was doing. Frustrating! I’ll add a link about that once I have it finished, in case anyone is interested.) Anyway, since I was making a block for the tutorial video, I decided I should just make a whole quilt was I was at it. And so I did.

Wonky Stars Quilt

And now things go a little further back in time. All the way back in April 2010, John Adams of QuiltDad.com had a GINORMOUS giveaway for his two-year blogiversary. By luck of the random number generator draw, I won a prize of three charm packs: Jennifer Paganelli’s Dance With Me, Valori Wells’ Del Hi, and Dena Designs’ Monaco (donated by Missouri Star Quilt Co.). Westminster, the company that produced those lines, doesn’t use a standard number of charms in a charm pack (like Moda with the 40 charms), and I knew I didn’t have enough to make anything in particular with those charm packs, so I picked up a fourth charm pack for Amy Butler’s Love, since I thought her generous use of colour would play well with the mix of colours in the existing charm packs. And then the fabric sat, and sat, and sat a little more.

When I started planning to work on the wonky star tutorial, the laziest part of me lit up like a light bulb at the thought of using charm squares rather than cutting my own for the block. Yes, 12-inch blocks are pretty standard, but 13.5-inch blocks make larger quilts! And take less time to cut out! I had 100 squares and only needed 96 to make a 12-block quilt! Clearly it was destiny. All I needed then was a single standard colour for the stars to help ground the crazy-cakes mixture of four fabric lines from four different designers, so I pulled the yardage of white-on-white print that was on the top of my White fabric pile, and started cutting. I very nearly ran out – I didn’t measure anything, I just assumed that what I had would be enough – but I managed to make it work, though I did add a couple of scraps of a different white-on-white from the scrap bag and a single star point of pure white. I didn’t plan anything, in regards to layout. I just put my four piles of charms out on the futon beside my sewing table and took two from each pile for a while for each block, and then later I switched to taking three from the two larger piles and just one from the smaller ones, until I got down the end and had only four squares left. I also didn’t plan out where each block would land in the quilt – I just sewed them together in the order I made them, joining rows of three together as they were finished. Once it was done, I thought the crazy-cakes mixture of prints and colours was still too over-whelming, so I added the thick border in red to try to hem in and confine the crazy. I think it works. Or it works well enough, anyway.

This newly finished, freshly windblown quilt top is somewhere in the neighbourhood of 50-inches by 64-inches. It was finished on Tuesday, June 26, 2012. I don’t know yet where it’ll make its home, but I hope it’ll be loved, where ever it winds up.


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Wonky Star Quilt

I have a new finished project and I guess I should really talk about it! Like the quilts in my last post, this particular project is being donated to The Linus Connection in Austin, Texas. Which is miles away from me – I’m in Calgary, Alberta – but after the fires and the drought and heat wave in Texas, there is a lot of need for blankets to help comfort children in need, more even than usual. And of course, the lovely ofenjen is one of their members and a friend of mine, and I’m always happy to help out with this charity that means so much to her.

Wonky Star

So this is just kind of a teaser shot, I suppose, showing the basic blocks that make up the quilt. Ofenjen is collecting paper-pieced star blocks to put together into quilt tops, but I guess I was feeling contrary, because I decided I wanted to make something a little more free-form. And then because I knew I wasn’t going to be making the same star block as everyone else, I thought I’d better make enough for an entire quilt top. I had an awful lot of purple solids (leftovers from a quilt that I’ve got cut out, but have never got around to putting together), so I went into my collection of purple fabrics and pulled out one of my favourite pieces, a poppy print from Alexander Henry’s Good Earth collection.

Wonky Star

I loved that print from the moment I first saw it, and it took me a while to source a piece of it because I think I must have come across it after it went out of print. I often buy fabric with a plan in mind (I just never finish anything…), but this was something I never had ideas about. I just loved it, so I had to have it. The lighter, pinker purple in the poppies was an almost exact match to one of the solid Kona cottons I had, so it seemed to be a great match. And I even liked how it looked with the more berry-toned purples, as well as a pale lavender and even a pale pink.

I had high hopes of making 12 blocks and then putting a single border around it, using more of the AH print, but alas, I didn’t have enough purple (or pink, which I used to help bump up the number of blocks) without using a couple of much darker purples that I didn’t think would work as well for backgrounds, so I settled on making eight and then put the lot on point.

Wonky Star quilt

And I think it looks better for it! Somehow the stars seem to sparkle more on point. And I love the way the different background colours pull your eye around. Sometimes putting things on point gives me a bit of mental trouble because I worry about all the bias cuts on the setting triangles pulling everything out of whack, but this is the second time I’ve done it this year (see the first here, also donated to The Linus Connection) and I’ve liked the results both times.

I usually have a laundry list of nit-picks about the things I make, but this one I only have two small quibbles and neither of them bother me terribly much. I’m not the biggest fan of the purple print I used for the setting triangles, but alas, it was all I had in my stash that was big enough and didn’t look terrible. I think it’s not got quite the right base-note, so to speak, to match the border print – it’s a little more berry and a little less indigo maybe? – but I’ve also sent along enough strips (I think!) to bind the quilt, which I’m hoping will help tie it in a little better to have that extra little frame of it. My second nit-pick is that I didn’t get the print pointing the right direction on the bottom two setting triangles. Really minor problem, and I could have fixed it, but I wasn’t sure I had enough fabric to include binding strips if I cut out extra triangles just to solve the directionality problem.

In any case, it’s another finished quilt top. Not a large one, it’s about 45″ x 62″, I think, but I really hope some child will love it.


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Finished Project: Brown Quilt-along Quilt

I keep putting off writing about this project – which has been finished since July 25 – because I can’t seem to photograph it. If I use natural light it somehow picks up so much glare and the colours look more washed out than if I photograph it with flash. And if I photograph it with the flash, you can’t see any of the quilting detail. Anyway, I am about to donate it to a charity group in Texas, so I guess it’s really time to talk about it!

This quilt is actually one of two matching quilts done in different colour palettes. I finished the first one in pink way back in April, and I actually started them both in February, when Cherri House of Cherry House Quilts (and City Quilts fame – LOVE that book) came up with the idea of doing a quilt-along.

Cherry House Quilt-Along Quilts

It is a rather simple quilt, just squares in rows separated by panels of background fabric, but it’s such a sweet and elegant layout, and absolutely beautiful.

The first quilt, the pink one, I quilted in wavy vertical lines, about 1 inch apart all the way across the quilt, so for this one I decided to do rays angled across the quilt, with the plan of doing it from two different sides, so that the rays would criss-cross. Le sigh, my basting wasn’t good or my walking foot wasn’t working properly because the first criss-cross I tried shifted the fabric so much I’d have had a quilt full of puckers on the front. Gah. I wound up doing random triangles to fill in any of the big open spaces. While I don’t mind it, it doesn’t look how I wish it looked, so I have a hard time loving it when I see it. In any case, the brown quilt has a much nicer, much softer drape than the pink one, so I guess the looser quilting style was good for that at least!

Cherri House Quilt-Along Quilts

The fabrics for this quilt are all Kona cottons on the front, Espresso for the background, with Ivory, Sky, Robin Egg, and Aqua making up the coloured squares. The binding is more espresso with what I think is Robin Egg for the one corner. The backing is a Michael Miller print, although I’m not sure what print it is, exactly. (I don’t have any of the selvedge left.)

When I finished this in July I was really happy to get it done, since I started it in February and that’s a realllllllllly long stretch for a quilt that can be started and finished all in one day. (Seriously! Hit up Cherri House’s blog for the pattern, and go to it. I promise if you can focus at all, you’ll be done before you realize it.) And now I’m equally happy to have a plan for it. It deserves a good home, and I’m certain it’ll go to one via The Linus Connection in Central Texas. With the recent fires, they’re needing increasing numbers of blankets for children, so I’m really happy to have something I can send that’ll help someone out.


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Finished Project: Pink and Brown Baby Quilt

I’m calling this a finished project, even though it’s just a quilt top and hasn’t been quilted/bound, because I’m sending it off to be donated to the Linus Connection in Texas. So, you know, finished, but not finished.

This is a project that I started in the fall on 2006 when a block of the month group started up on Livejournal (Block of the Month). I was trying to do the BoM in two different versions – this one using a line of fabrics called In the Pink (plus two extra fabrics – the blue and the green are from a different line) and a second one using a purple batik with black and white prints (eventually I added a nearly solid pink and solid white to some blocks). I didn’t finish either of them.

I’ve been having an on-going freak out about having too many unfinished projects (many of which I am totally disinterested by, these days) so I pulled out a stack of shoe boxes, each of which have a different project in the, and chose these two BoMs to send away.

For this quilt top, I only had six blocks made, and it felt sort of lop-sided because I had three blocks with the green in it, two with no additional colour, and just one with blue. I decided to make two more blocks with blue so that I could try to balance it out a little.

There are a lot of things I would change, if I were to start back from the beginning, mainly to keep the same background colour on each of the blocks (two of them look like they’re floating on the background and the rest don’t) and to use more of the dark brown and less of the warm beige colour. But it’s done, and done is good.

The eight blocks on point with a 3.5-inch border is about 41-in x 58-in if I’m doing my mental math correctly. In any case, it’s not terribly big, but it should do for a little girl somewhere.

I didn’t take any pictures of the 16 blocks I sent off in the purple group. I have pictures of them, but not as a collection. I should maybe have made tops with them too, but I wasn’t sure if it would be better to make 2 smaller quilts with 8 blocks each or one larger quilt with all 16 blocks. This way the volunteers at Linus Connection can decide for themselves.