Sunshine (on a cloudy day)

So last year I decided not to participate in so many swaps, and so I didn’t, but then I missed doing it. It’s fun doing swaps… you get to try things you might never otherwise try and you have the benefit of quick finishes so you’re not adding another WIP to the pile (which, of course, is my usual MO). So when I ran across a quilted postcard swap on Instagram, I had to join!

This swap was run by Patty of Elm Street Quilts and had some fun and easy requirements. All we did was give a prompt word and then we made our cards based on the prompt that our recipient requested… however we wanted to interpret that prompt.

Postcard I made and sent away

With this project I decided to try out trapunto and doubled up my batting under the round bits. It doesn’t show so well in any of the photos I took, but there is a huge amount of puff. I had planned originally to use a different shade of yellow in each of six squares, but got distracted by the idea of improv piecing and so landed on this look instead. To be honest, I’m not sure if I like it as much as I’d hoped I would, but I don’t dislike it either. It just sort of makes me go, hmm.

Postcard I made and sent away

So, can you guess what prompt I received?

Well… it was ‘Summer’ but I immediately thought of sun and sunshine..

Postcard I made and sent away

It’s just been nothing but snow, snow, and more snow this year. I’m desperate for some summer sun.

Funny thing… my prompt word was ‘Glow’ and I was sent some summer sun by Mommaneen on Instagram:

20180323_163540

Lovely!

Also, there will be a postcard parade at Patty’s blog, Elm Street Quilts, on April 7, so do go check it out! I really should have held this post until then!

Advertisements

Oh Canada mini quilt

Look how cute!

Oh, Canada!

Every year I try to make my mom a mini quilt for a different holiday or season, for a quilt rack I bought her a few years ago, with my sister usually pitching in some cross-stitch (as her craft of choice). I’m slowing picking away at major holidays and some more generic ones to hang in between times. There are a few I’ve never posted here (including one for winter and an Easter one), but if you’re interested you can go see: a purple orchid, Valentines, summer/growth, Halloween/fall, Christmas.

Oh, Canada!

This, of course, is for Canada day, featuring a beaver (our national animal) and the flag and maple leaves and little bit of anthem lyrics.

I drew out the lettering for the ‘Oh Canada’ by hand and stitched most of it myself, with a little help from my sister, using back stitch and chain stitch for filler. I should have drawn on a line so that my writing would have been straight, but I didn’t and so it takes a really sharp upward slant.. it’s a bit goofy, but there was no fixing it.

The beaver is a fantastic pattern by Lorna of Sew Fresh Quilts. I think it’s so cute! Although my mom did say, ‘Now what creature is that?’ and…….. I don’t know how she missed the beaver thing. I told her to show it to her friends without telling them it’s a beaver and to see if they can figure out. It’s not that hard to tell it’s a beaver, is it? (Is it?!)

Oh, Canada!

The rest of the pattern is my own. The leaves I just worked out based on the size of the partial leaf in the flag/beaver and I added the checkerboard at the top to get the project up to an appropriate size.

The quilting is pretty simple – a fairly tight meander in the background, some veins in the leaves, straight-line quilting the red part of the flag and an outline around the beaver. I did match my threads to the fabrics so nothing really stands out that much.

I’m really happy with how it turned out and even though my mom didn’t realize it was a beaver, she seemed really pleased with it. (Of course, the colours are amazing, so… how could she not love it?)

Finished February 17, 2018. Approximately 15.5″x 22″.

Text Me Mini

I guess it’s time to show off that finished mini, isn’t it? Unfortunately I didn’t get any particularly good shots of it – the sun had set too far by the time I finished stitching down the binding and I had to get it to the post office and mailed off, so I wasn’t able to wait an extra day to get better photos at a better time of day.

Text Me Mini Quilt Swap - sent

I so wish I had better pictures because I really liked this mini and it may be the only rainbow order quilt I ever make! (I like rainbows and I like rainbow coloured quilts, but generally I like it better when all the colours are all over the place, rather than in strict ROYGBIV order.)

The brief for this swap was to use at least 2 text prints in our mini and all the participants posted mosaics to offer some inspiration. I had a bit of a tough time with my partner’s inspiration mosaic and couldn’t seem to settle into any particular pattern – I rotated through a lot of different ones in my head before I decided on this pattern, which is Glam Garlands by Elizabeth Hartman. My partner is in A LOT of swaps on Instagram and that meant she had a lot of mosaics posted, so I snapped pictures of all of them and looking at them side by side, I decided that rainbows and bright colours were her favourite thing and then to tie it in with the original mosaic a little, I went for the only pattern I knew of with a little bit of party atmosphere.

Text Me Mini Quilt Swap - sent

This shot doesn’t really show the quilting as well as I’d hoped it would, but I wound up using a yellow variegated thread to make something like crepe paper ribbons in my quilting – long wavy lines that criss-cross down the length of the garlands. I kept these quilting lines fairly dense, since I think mini quilts in particular benefit from dense quilting (it helps add some stiffness that lets them hang nice and flat without looking too billowy on the wall). After that I added about 5 or 6 lines in red that are just kind of wavy with a few added loops. Some of my loops came out a little flat (I couldn’t find my quilting gloves and was having some unpleasantness getting a smooth line), but generally I like that addition.

Text Me Mini Quilt Swap - sent

For the back, I used this large piece of measuring tape fabric that I had. The binding was this perfect print with all the rainbow colours and interspersed with bits of text.

I didn’t have time to make anything extra to go along with the mini, but I sent my partner a pile of texty scraps in all sort of colours and some local fabric license plates from the Row Along quilt shop hop thing – she’d been collecting them from her area, so I thought it’d be fun to send some from mine. I didn’t photograph any of those things, though, so no more pictures!

Except there are more pictures, because I recently received my mini from this swap!

Text Mini Mini Swap received

My partner (@jastravers on Instagram) made and sent me this really incredible “Create” mini! When she’d been posting progress shots of it, I’d kind of wished it were for me, but I didn’t really think it would be, but then it was!

Text Mini Mini Swap received

Without counting to be certain, I’d guess that Jasmine used about a dozen different text prints in this mini. She backed it in this fun bird print and if you scroll up and look at the full-on shot again, you’ll see that she used a few bird prints in the background as well. I’m not sure if that was intentional, but I kind of like it anyway! That green bird in the centre at the top is one of my favourite recent prints that I didn’t buy despite liking it so much, so it’s nice to have a little piece of it in something that’s going to live on my wall for a very long time!

Text Mini Mini Swap received

She also sent me this awesome pincushion and some gorgeous Tula Pink fabric…

Text Mini Mini Swap received

and this giant pile of fabric scraps!

I LOVE getting fabric scraps in swaps – it’s always amazing that no matter how much fabric I’ve got, there are always so many other prints I’ve never seen or picked up. I have a very (very!) long-running goal of someday making myself a scrappy log cabin and all these fabrics get horded up for when that idea finally comes to fruition. (I’ve talked about this many times before, I’m sure, but my favourite quilt ever was a log cabin my mom made in the 70s when she was in university. It was mostly made of clothing scraps and a lot of those fabrics rotted right out of the quilt, but I took it with me to university anyway. Every time I washed it, it came out just a little more ragged with that much more exposed batting. My mom finally made me throw it away, but I still miss it because it was hers and then it was mine and it was warm and cozy as anything.)

Anyway, that was my experience with the Text Me Mini Quilt Swap on Instagram! I’m pretty happy with how it all played out. Hopefully in the next couple weeks I can get around to showing you the other minis I made and received this summer. Time to catch up on all the things I skipped over while I was away!

WIP Wednesday: Rainbow Text Mini

I’m on vacation from work this week, so I’ve been trying to spend my time working on a mini that’s due to be sent out by August 31. It’s for a swap that requires us to use at least two text prints… I’m using quite a few more than that.

A mini I'm working on for an Instagram swap

I rotated through at least a half dozen options before finally settling on this pattern, Glam Garlands by Elizabeth Hartman from her book Modern Patchwork. My partner seems to be a fan of rainbows, so I dug deep into my collection of text prints to create (most of) a rainbow.

A mini I'm working on for an Instagram swap

I’ve got it all basted and have spent the last 4 hours not quilting it, even though I could probably be (nearly) done by now if I’d just get going on it. I’m a little torn about how to quilt it though – I had been thinking about long lines down the length designed maybe to look like crepe paper garlands or something like that. But then I wondered if that was too boring and thought about maybe emphasizing the garlands by stitching in the ditch round them and then densely quilting the background with pebbles or stippling, so that it sits back and the garlands pop out. I really just need to make a decision because I’m planning to be out of town for three days and it needs to be finished before that so that I’m not rushed in the last day before it needs to be sent.

Anyway, it’s my birthday this week, so it’s time for a giveaway. Basically the winner – who can be from anywhere – can choose from one of two prizes.

The first prize I haven’t really put it together yet, but I’m going to make a scrap bundle of text prints:

Fabrics for a mini I've been working on

This scrap bundle might include bits of all of these fabrics (or it might not – some of them I don’t have enough left to call them scraps really) as well as some of the rest of my giant collection of text fabrics.

And the second prize will be a charm pack of all the prints from Lizzy House’s Constellations line of fabrics.

Both prizes will contain similar amounts of fabric – I’ll aim to have them both approximately the same weight. To enter, follow the prompts on Rafflecopter:

(Deleting the Rafflecopter link.)

(Ugh. I clearly didn’t edit that well. Forgive the misspelling. And make sure you follow the prompt – I will be checking!)

Edited to Add: I can’t figure out how to make this work on WordPress. They do NOT like script based HTML. So let’s skip that.

Same deal, just with me using Random.org to figure out a winner! Please leave a comment below telling me which of the two prizes you’d rather win. That’s it! I’ll be accepting entries until 11:59pm on Tuesday, September 1st and will draw the winner the next day when I’m home from work. Anyone anywhere around the world can enter.

Also, please don’t enter this giveaway into any giveaway aggregate services. I’m happy for anyone at all to enter, but I’d rather it be organically found by followers and people who’ve also linked up via one of the below Wednesday Link-ups.

Linking up with all the Wednesday link ups – check the sidebar for additional links to Work in Progress Wednesday at The Needle and Thread Network, WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced, and Let’s Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts.

Strawberry Dumpling Pouch Swap

My goodness I’ve been bad about blogging. What I’m going to show you today was in the mail more than a week ago and has already arrived with its new recipient! I participated in another dumpling pouch swap on Flickr/IG, this one with a berry theme. (I’ve previously done a strawberry themed one, which I seem not to have posted about, and also a Christmas one, which you can see near the bottom of this post.)

I was torn for a really long time about what to make for my partner, but I decided to try to make something that kind of… looked like a strawberry. Leaves on the bottom, red all through the top. Here’s the bottom:

Untitled

Not one of my smoother moves. I forgot how much of the green would get swallowed up by seam allowance, and so not too much is peeking through!

Even if I’d shot the photo head on, at dumpling pouch height rather than from above, you still only see about 1/4-inch of the tallest green bit! Oops.

I’m not too upset about it though because I love red (and so did the lady I sent it to) and I love the fabrics I used. I set out mostly to use solids, but I wanted a little extra bit of prints in there too, so my rule with those was that they couldn’t be white on red, but had to be kind of red-on-red prints in some way. I used a Liberty of London print for the lining – it’s not berry related, but the colour was just perfect and it’s one of the very few Liberty prints that I really love.

I wanted to send along something else, so I also made her this potholder, using this gorgeous strawberry girl print that I’d bought a year or so ago on Etsy. I just used some of the extra strips and bits of red that I’d already had cut for the dumpling and kind of cut off the excess bits of linen from around the print. It’s pretty clear I went into it with no plan at all and I quilted it at the same time as I sewed on each strip, so there’s no visible quilting on the front. The binding was actually leftover binding from sometime else I’d made once upon a time (I can’t remember what.. I’m at a loss as to what I might have bound in red!), which was pretty convenient!

Here’s the back. I was all about using scrap fabric with this, so I fished this gorgeous Laura Gunn print out of my scrap bins. The colours all seemed to work, although in the long run it doesn’t match the binding terribly well. I’m not quite sure why I decided to make this into a pot holder (with insulated batting and everything) rather than making a mini quilt to hang, but it made sense at the time.. Pretty much as soon as I was finished though I’d wished I hadn’t put in the insulating stuff because it’s too pretty to put a pot of spaghetti sauce (or whatever, really) on!

Untitled

And then finally, on the day I was sending this away, I happened to pick up a magazine that came with the materials to make a cross-stitch pendant necklace and a cross-stitch… brooch (I think…). I decided to bang out one last little thing to tuck in, chopped the chain for the pendant down to a little keyring size and stitched that up. I was aiming for something slightly berryish, but I thought it was too plain and added in the blue crosses, which turn it all into something much more abstract. I thought it was kind of cute (if maybe probably definitely useless) so in it went.

I also sent some other bits and pieces, but I didn’t photograph them first. Here’s a photo which I stole from Jan, who received this package:

Dumpling swap from Kristel

So I sent a couple roles of baker’s twine in red and green, a strawberry flavoured lipgloss, raspberry balsamic ganache chocolates, fufu berry Jones Soda candies, and a bit of strawberry related fabric. The fabrics aren’t especially visible because of the way I wrapped them up, but there is about a Fat Eighth each of that jam jar print, a print with tiny little blue strawberries, and a Heather Ross strawberry print, which was the one with the white background and kind of orange berries. I had just a single strip of the pink background version, so I wrapped it around the little stack and pinned it closed to keep them in a nice little bundle.

I really hope Jan loves everything I’ve sent her – it was a fun package to put together. (And I got to taste test some delicious chocolates while in pursuit of a berry flavoured chocolate to include… There’s never any complaints from me about chocolate.)

30/30 Sewing Challenge: Month End

You know, I keep thinking I should have more to show because I’ve spent SO MUCH time crafting this month, but so much of it was absorbed in the beginning of the month with the Radiant Orchid challenge mini-quilt, that once I was finished with that, nearly all my time went into making things I had to make – bee blocks and swap projects. Which, hey, nothing wrong with that, but I still have so much more I wanted to finish this month!

It’s the last day of March, for example, [or the first day of April, even… I fell asleep before I could finished editing this post yesterday] and I didn’t even touch my Gypsy Wife booklet! Not a single Gypsy Wife block sewn in March! But if I get them done by the weekend, I’m still linking up with Ashley at Wasn’t Quilt in a Day.

Beginnings of two #quilts -- lowish volume and loud for the #gypsywifequiltalong

This (rather dreadful Instagram photo in a too-dark room) is where both my Gypsy Wife quilts are at. I’m really, really wanting to get working on these, but that Pershing block is really kind of scaring me – I’ve been having issues with details lately and none of my blocks lately have been working out quite like I hope. Pershing is not a good one for when you’re feeling wibbly about your sewing skills.

I’m also six blocks behind on the Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong! Six blocks!

Layer Cake Sampler QAL... so far...

This is where I’m at though! Loving how this is coming together, although I do feel a little bit like it’s too pink. I’ll have to wait till I have more blocks together, but maybe I’ll need to sash it in a dark purple or burgundy or something. I think I have a bunch of yardage from this line (Eva by Basic Grey), which was meant to be used as backing for a different Eva quilt-in-progress, but depending what the fabrics are, maybe I’ll be able to use it for finishing the quilt.

So what have I gotten done since finishing my Orchid quilt? Well… a couple bee blocks:

Stash Bee Hive #12 March Block
Stash Bee Hive #12 March Block

Neither one of them turned out exactly as I’d hoped – I don’t know… the first one came together pretty well, but that second one is a mess of bad points and it’s a little too small and I was really not happy with it. But I kind of love the colours – that domino dot was a great match for that centre print, although I think it’s a lot more green than the recipient was looking for. In any case, I had changed the needle (and thread) in between sewing the first block and the second and it was just a fight to get anything to work properly. I’m not sure what’s the culprit – maybe the bobbin is wound crookedly, maybe the needle has a bad point or it’s slightly misshapen or the wrong size or maybe I’m a poor craftsman who is blaming her tools. In any case, I’m going to start swapping things out and see if something helps.

I also finished a few things for the 4S swap on Flickr… I don’t want to write a full post about those yet, but here is a shot of the drawstring bag I created and the pincushion I tucked in along with some other treats (fabric and candy and chocolate…):

mosaic5574cfc68196e492b4700c6faf416cc886004dc2

I feel like there must be more, but I’m drawing a blank on it, so I guess that’s what I’ve been up to with all my 30 minutes (and more) of crafting every day for the last while! Truly, the majority of the month was taken up with this guy, time hog that it was:

Radiant Orchid mini quilt

Linking up with Sarah at Berry Barn Designs for the 30/30 Sewing Challenge. In general I was pretty successful with the 30 minutes a day thing, I think I only missed once on a weekend when I was unexpectedly working nights (but had expected to have time off). It feels like not very much stuff, considering the time I put into it, but crafting really can be a huge time suck. I enjoy it, don’t get me wrong, but it is not a speedy thing, even when something moves along quickly.

Radiant Orchid Mini-Quilt

It took me a long time to warm up to making a project for the 2014 Pantone Quilt Challenge – I didn’t have many purples in my stash, even fewer of them in that sort of reddish-pinky-purple that Radiant Orchid seems to be, and I just didn’t have any ideas. But then I read a blog post at Mary Corbet’s Needle ‘N Thread that introduced me to the hand over-dyed threads produced by Colour Complements. Mary was running a giveaway for threads from their Etsy shop and I got sucked into thread heaven, a place filled with pretty, pretty cotton and rayon, and I forgot the giveaway entirely: I just had to buy some thread immediately.

2014 Pantone Quilt Challenge...

I paired up my sampler pack of threads (three sizes of perle cotton, a rayon chainette, and another very fine rayon thread) with three shades of Kaffee Fassett shot-cotton – Grape, Granite, and Lilac. I choose very quiet fabrics because I wanted to try out something called Kantha quilting and I wanted the stitching to pop, rather than blend into a busy print background. Kantha is a type of embroidery used in parts of India and Bangladesh to give new life to old saris – women would stack up several layers of old, worn saris and stitch them together using a running stitch which could be done in long straight lines or could used to create patterns or pictures. Most of the newer kantha quilts I’ve seen are done exclusively with the running stitches running across the quilts with little extra decoration, but if you do a Google image search or even go to Wikipedia, you can see pictures of some of the more decorative patterns that can be made with Kantha quilting.

Radiant Orchid mini-quilt

I did a little bit of both types, I suppose, since I did largely just straight lines, but also interrupted myself to include a very literal interpretation of the Radiant Orchid challenge. (So literal that I also brought an orchid home so that I could do a triple orchid take – plant, representation of the plant, colour named after the plant.) Because I was working with a sampler pack of threads, I had a little of a lot of varieties of thread, but not a lot of any of them, so I did five repeating rows of (six) different threads, which I also hoped would give it a nice texture and maybe kind of draw the eye around with the different shades of purple and pink (and little splashes of gold) .

Straight Stitching

I stitched the whole thing without a hoop or pins or anything – it was small enough it didn’t feel like it needed much support to keep it together, though I did start with the rayon thread and stitch it every 1-inch or so to help stabilize it enough that I really really didn’t have to worry. I was surprised by how much (overall) I enjoyed the process of stitching – it felt like it should have been tedious, but I didn’t get tired of it until I was near the end and using the worst of the threads – a 100% polyester (which feels scratchy and horrible) and the very thick perle cottons, which my needle was resistant to threading and which then didn’t want to take more than a single stitch at a time. The sparkle chainette (the one with gold flecks) was also a bit difficult because it was incredibly stretchy: I started with a piece of thread the width of the cloth and somehow managed to stitch TWO full lines without starting another length of the stuff.

Orchids

I free-hand stitched the orchids following a tutorial from Drago Art. For the flowers, I used another variegated perle cotton, this one in a blue-green-purple blend, but I found it sunk back into the background too much, so I outlined a lot of it with a very pale lavender DMC floss. Unlike the rest of the stitches in the piece, that back stitch does NOT travel to the back of the quilt – it’s all on the surface. A third thread was used to stitch the stem – it’s maybe a little too bright, but I like it anyway, so we’ll pretend I didn’t say that.

006

Anyway, this project absorbed a lot of my time throughout the first couple weeks in March, so much so that I feel like I should be sick of it now, but I’m pretty proud of how it all came out. It kind of dresses up that weird little nook in the strairwell/kitchen along with that print of one of Rodin’s Cambodian dancers and the actual orchids. My sister will likely hate the purple, so it won’t last there too long, I don’t imagine, but eventually it’ll go dress up my Mum’s house for spring.

This was finished on 17 March 2014 and stitched entirely by hand, by me. The binding was sewn to the front and hand-stitched to the back. The fabrics are all Kaffee Fassett shot cottons: the binding is “Grape,” the front is “Granite” and the back is “Lilac.” The threads are all from Colour Complements, except for one shiny purple one (directly above the gold flecked rayon) and the orchid outline, which are both DMC, though one is cotton and the other a horrible, scratchy Polyester. (Seriously, I don’t recommend it.) The quilt measures 15.5″ x 19″ and it is nameless, as are most of my quilts.

This was also my Lovely Year of Finishes Goal for March (goal post here), so success on all fronts!

2014 Pantone Quilt Challenge

30/30 Challenge – Week Two

So the sewing for 30(plus) minutes a day thing is going over pretty well! Unfortunately, I spent most of my time working on the same project, so it’s not a very exciting show and tell for the week:

More Radiant Orchid

It is done now, though, so it should be more interesting from here on out! But yes, this is my Pantone Quilt Challenge project… but I’m still keeping it under-wraps, a bit, because I want to stage my photos a little bit and I need to either do it at work (where I have access to some props, and thus I need to do it in the middle of the night while no one is there to wonder WTF I’m doing and why they’re paying me to do it) or I need to buy one prop in particular and bring it home and do it on a sunny morning. So.. all you get to see still is some rows of stitching and my four finished corners. I love when stitching binding and you round that last corner and there’s just a few more inches of binding to go. Best part of a project.

I also stitched up another two blocks for the Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong:

Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong

I LOVE this block. (I don’t love the wrinkling, though.)

Layer Cake Sampler Quiltalong

I had a slightly more frustrating time with this block – it just wanted to wrinkle all over the place and the corners wouldn’t line up and it drove me slightly made in general. But I’m trying to just let it go! It won’t be horrible in the finished quilt, it’ll just be another block.

I’m still two blocks behind and I was going to stitch them up on Monday, but I got distracted by the prospect of making a sample drawstring bag for the 4S Swap (Simple and Sweet Scrappy Swap) on Flickr. I had some purple fabric in a heap near my sewing table (rejects from early in the Pantone Quilt Challenge process) and really, really wanted to use that Anna Maria Horner fabric from Dowry:

Drawstring Bag

It’s such an easy little project to make, and I think every single one I’ve seen has looked great. I added a little flange to mine to emphasize some of the blue in the print and to tie it all in to the lining fabric. It might have been a slightly brighter blue than it needed to be — the perils of choosing fabrics in a mostly dark/ill-lit room — but I love it anyway. I don’t know what I’m going to do with this bag, probably I’ll give it away eventually, but making it was all for my enjoyment, and I did.

Ellie-cases and Valentines in December

I’m in Saskatchewan now for a week or so, but before I left, I had a mad rush to get a few things done for Christmas gifts. I’d promised to bring one of my friends some shortbread cookies on the Saturday before I left, but I forgot to buy butter, which kind of put paid to that idea, so instead I decided to make her some pillowcases using fabric I’d bought months ago with her in mind. She’s a huge fan of elephant everything, but only if the trunks are pointing up (because it’s supposed to hold in the luck?), so when I stumbled over this Madhuri line of fabric, I’d had to pick some up for her.

Ellie Cases

I made two pillowcases for her, and kind of did it in a fabric wasteful way – I wanted the elephants to be running left/right rather than up/down, so I cut the forty-four inches down the length of the fabric and then trimmed the 26″ from the width of the fabric – so many prints run in the wrong direction for the hot dog pillowcase method and that’s the only way around it, other than just living with it. Normally I am okay with that, but I guess the luck would run out if they’re sideways? I don’t know – this friend has a thing about the trunks so I indulged it!

Elephant Pillowcases

Fortunately, these are pretty quick and easy to put together, even with the additional odd cutting. Not too much time or effort required to make them, and they look pretty great. She was also pretty happy with them, though I’m sure her husband wants to kill me. (Poor guy – I wrote him an apology on the gift tag.)

The other thing I needed to get put together was a wall-hanging for my Mom for a Christmas gift. Last year my sister and I made a Christmas wall-hanging for her and we also gave her a vaguely Halloween-ish quilted owl wall-hanging and for her birthday I gave her a more generic spring/summer wall-hanging, all for a quilt rack we also gave her for Christmas last year. So we’re trying to give her an option for every holiday, but we’re spreading it out a bit, rather than giving her a pile of them all at once. This is a Christmas gift idea that can go on for a few years!

Valentine's Wall-hanging

We needed something pretty quick this year because my sister was in India for a good chunk of the fall (for work) and then everything after that just seemed to come too quickly and we kept putting it off and putting it off. Suddenly it was 5 days till I was leaving and my sister was so slammed at work that her job gave her carte blanche to work as much overtime (from home) as she can in order to get it done.

Valentine's Wall-hanging

The only craft she really does (besides a tiny bit of scrap-booking) is cross-stitch, so we chose a really simple pattern from a book called Stitch Graffitti (the Christmas wall-hanging came from the same book) and she did a row here and a row there while waiting for her work program to load or run updates and so on. She got it done on the Thursday before I left, so Friday I pieced the stripes around it to bring it up to size (it’s about 15.5″ x 18″ I think – I don’t have it here to measure!).

Valentine's Wall-hanging

I did matchstick quilting, which was unbelievably time-consuming, but which I think looks pretty great. The worst part was hiding all the gazillion threads on either side of the cross-stitch section – so very many starts and stops!

I was vaguely concerned the stripes of colour really didn’t work together that well, so I thought maybe quilting closely with the same thread over the whole thing would kind of help tie it all together a bit, as if it were one weirdly striped print, rather than all the random long strips of scrap solid fabric I had in a colour range between pink and burgundy, with a little purple and pale blue throw in for good measure. I was going to quilt it with a grey thread all over, but discovered a variegated thread in my stash that ranged from the palest pink to a deep burgundy – the perfect choice!

Valentine's Wall-hanging

I bound it mostly with a grey dot, but also used a little of a pink flower dot that I’ve had in my stash for ages and ages. I intentionally avoided prints in the main part of the quilt – I thought it would be too distracting, and I wanted as much of the focus as possible to be on the cross-stitched area – so I thought the binding would be a nice place to add in a little printed texture. I had the whole thing quilted by Sunday, but then it was getting the binding done. It’s small enough not to take an enormous amount of time, but I didn’t want to have to bring it back to Saskatchewan with me – too easy for my mom to find it in my things. Monday night I stayed up stupid late to get it finished, since I was flying out Tuesday morning. I took my photos sometime after midnight, under the light of my harsh overhead CFL light – I’m surprised these photos came out as well as they did.

Valentine's Wall-hanging

Except for this one. Washi tape sucks!

Sunshine & Cats

A little while back I got a mini-charm pack of Kate Spain’s Sunnyside collection – I didn’t pick it out or even have a plan for it because it was a gift included with a purchase over $50 from an Etsy shop – but I found a pattern at Sew Me Something Good for a Christmas pillow, Joy that I thought I could turn into something more sunny.

We’ve just had a blizzard that dumped piles and piles and piles of snow on us, so it’s particularly good timing – I could use the reminder of summer and sunlight and bright things.

Sunshine pillow

This is a general idea of where the thing is going. It’s a bit more put together than this now, but it’s far too dark for photos – even these ones are pretty flooded by the light I use to light my table for sewing.

Sunshine

I swapped out JOY for a quote from the song “My Girl” but I got a bit lazy and didn’t want to do the bottom layer of the appliqué (in the original pillow, you sort of have a drop shadow behind the word) so I just hoped that the bronze thread and the bright orange would provide enough contrast. I think it works okay, but the gold I used for the stitching is… not ideal. A little too similar to the background, alas. Ah well, it gets the gist across anyway!

Cat-vent Quilt-along

I’ve also been cat-venting along with Elizabeth at Oh, Fransson!. This project is so very, very much not like me and I don’t know at all what inspired me to sew along with it, but four days in and I’ve sewn a four different cat faces.

Cat-vent Quilt-along

I think I started it in part because I happened to have a partially used jelly roll of Kona cottons sitting on the floor in my bedroom and I was reading the original post about the Cat face quilt and it was done in a rainbow of colours and I just kind of went… I could do that. And so I am. I’m trying to use scraps only for the prints, which means I’m probably not always going to have the best colour-matches in my blocks – the solid above wasn’t a great match for any fabrics I had and the solid orange really only closely matched the Natural Elements print, but I think as long as it’s within approximate range it’ll be okay. I don’t have a plan for this once it’s finished, but it may either be donated for a Linus group or it may get saved in my closet for a future baby gift. I thought all my friends were mostly done having babies, but it turns out I’ve been wrong about that, so no harm in having some spare gifts around!

I’m still working on the hexagon quilt, but I haven’t touched it in the last couple days. Tomorrow I’m hoping to get all the hexagons done for the last two blocks, even if I don’t get them sewn down just yet. My freezer paper hexagons have mostly lost their stick (I’ve used them five or six times already) and I’ve been torn over whether to print more or if I should just keep trying to get by with the ones I have. I’d like to just get by, but the last set of hexies gave me a little trouble because it kept peeling up on me at inconvenient moments. We’ll see how I feel about it tomorrow, I guess!