Wednesday
Jul192017

colour confident stitching ~ book review

So you know how much I love embroidering and stitchy things.  I wish I had time to do more of it.  Handwork is - in my opinion - so joyful and rewarding on many levels.

Well I was so excited when I heard about this book, Colour Confident Stitching by Karen Barbe.  It's a wonderfully informative and instructional book about colour theory and how to apply it to ... well, anything creative really, but particularly to stitching.  So clever!  Because let's face it - no matter what we look at, we all see colour first.  I know that when I walk into a quilt shop I head straight for the pink section.

It is just full of pages and pages of beautiful imagery, fun projects, and really helpful guidance on how to understand colour so you can the right ones for you and make your finished project look as lovely in life as you imagine it in your mind.

I admit that I struggled for years transposing colours for my thread work.  If I saw a design that I wanted to stitch, but I didn't like the original colours in the pattern, I would always lean on the experts at the stitching store to help me out.  Experience has made me much better, and more confident in my choices.  (I'm certain this book would have gotten me to where I am a lot faster LOL!)

But we creative types can never had too much information when it comes to making things that express who we are and that make us really giddy happy inside when we see our finished projects.  This book has taught me things and has helped me fine tune some of the knowledge in my tool box.  And it couldn't have come at a better time as I labour to perfect the perfect colour palette for my next fabric collection. ;)

Monday
Jul172017

happy flower qal week 20

A few weeks ago, I commented on how much I love postage stamp blocks - all those sweet little 1" squares. However, this block - with it's 4 baskets and all the handles pointing towards the centre - is also traditionally called postage stamp. I've loved it ever since I bought my first quilt book "Quilts, Quilts, Quilts" back in like 1990.  And I've yearned to make a quilt with just these adorable little basket blocks.  Haven't quite made it yet, but there's still time ... ;) In the meantime, here's my single block. Five of the eight prints are from First Romance (not the yellow basket or it's white background, and not the white basket on the green background). It was a fun and unexpected surprise to see how my aqua oval/pink dot print translates into the perfect basket weave print. :)

Ok.  If you don't like hand appliqueing inside points (who does, really), this block won't be so much fun to make.  But your efforts will be rewarded tenfold once it's done, because it sure is pretty.

Friday
Jul142017

partial seam pillow tutorial

Last year I made this pillow and I've had many requests to do a tutorial, so here you go :)

For a 16" pillow, you will need:

  • (16) 2-1/2" squares
  • (64) 1-1/2 x 3-1/2 rectangles
  • FQ fabric for backing
  • (2) 4" x WOF fabric strips for binding
  • 18" square of batting
  • 16" zipper (optional, for pillow back closure)

Sew the first rectangle to the square with a partial seam - just sew half way down the side of the square.

Press seam away from the square. Only press the stitching, not the unsewn portion of the rectangle.

Sew the second rectangle to the square and press seam outward.

Sew the third rectangle, press seam out.

Add the fourth rectangle, again pressing away from the center.

Now finish sewing the first seam and press.  Block measures 4-1/2" x 4-1/2".

Make 16 blocks.  Piece the blocks together into 4 rows of 4 blocks, pressing seams open.

Quilt as desired and trim to measure 17" square (leaving extra batting to make a 1/2" bound edge).

Make the pillow back with opening style of your choice. I like zippers, but you could also do a folded opening, use buttons, or ribbons ...

Sew quilted front and zippered back WRONG sides together, and then bind!

All fabrics shown are from "First Romance" (available October 2017).

Happy sewing! xo k

Wednesday
Jul122017

new COSMO lecien thread

I came home from Quilt Market with a new thread to try from COSMO/Lecien. Well I've gone through an entire spool already and oh do I ever like it!

Let me preface this by saying I'm in no way a thread expert, I'm just a very prolific user who knows when it works for me and when it doesn't.  This new "tsu mu gi" 40/2-ply Egyptian cotton thread is lovely to use and it sews like a dream.

And this pale pink ... well, you know what I think about that.  I seriously think it's become my new "neutral", especially for "First Romance" ;)

Monday
Jul102017

happy flower qal week 19

This first block is fabulous for using up little scraps.  I have a growing box of scraps from this project and it was ... theraputic to use some of the smaller pieces. And then I used one of my prints from "First Romance" for the large triangles.  Oh do I ever love it! :)

These leaves gave me a bit of headache.  The harder I tried to do that "deliberately make-do" look, the weirder it looked.  So I backed way off and here's what I got.  Cute, no?

Friday
Jul072017

happy hexie - delightful new book

You know how much I love Japanese craft books, right? Well Zakka Workshop asked me to help them out again on another book they've worked to get translated and published in English.

I didn't do any editing work this time.  Instead I made two of the projects and photographed four of them!  How fun is that?  I didn't expect any of my photos to end up on the cover.  SUPER surprised that three of them did, including both of the pillows I made. :)

If you're hexie crazy like me, or are looking for a lovely gift for a quilty friend, consider Happy Hexies.  It's a fun little book.

Thursday
Jul062017

first romance ~ pink

Ok.  You can totally accuse me for saving the best for last.  I won't disagree ;). These pinks just make my heart so very happy.

And it turns out that the best motivation to work on a long-term, hand-pieced quilt is to have your very own fabric LOL!

So this is the last of my First Romance colour series.  Don't worry, though.  I've been making lots of litthe things with it to show you in the near future.  In the meantime, if you'd like to have some First Romance in your stash, please let your local quilt shop know! :)

xo k

Monday
Jul032017

happy flower qal week 18

Oh am I ever happy with how this one turned out. I thought it would be a challenge to copy the scrappiness of the original here so I didn't try too hard.  Finding the "Little Ruby" print for the middle and then using a single Atsuko print for the triangles, rather than 4 different prints - made my life much easier.  I originally used an aqua stripe for the top left corner, but it just looked weird.  (At least I didn't redo the entire block LOL!)

I thought the fabrics in this original vine block were a bit ... strange? I thought it looked a bit confusing and muddly. But the joke is on me because despite my attempt to have more contrast with my prints, they are kind of smooshy too.  Sigh.  But I love the prints and it's still very pretty so it's a keeper. :)

Saturday
Jul012017

first romance ~ red & white

Today is Canada Day so I thought it would be fun to show you First Romance reds AND whites today. ;)

I made six little scrappy pouches for my quilt market booth - one in each colourway (sorry, forgot to take a photo of them) - but I gifted all except the red one away as I was packing up.  I met soooo many lovely people at Market.  Seems like such a long time ago already.  Thank goodness for texting and Instagram to keep in touch with far-away friends.

Anyhow, back to red & white. 

I've had more than one person inform me that my red isn't really red, that it's actually a really dark pink.

Hmmm.

Ok, maybe it is. ;) But I intended it as a red.  And it reads red next to my pinks.  So ... call it what you like, I love this colour.  I'm already seeing Christmas and Valentine's on the horizon, just saying.

These whites.  I love love love white prints.  Always have, always will.  I especially love these ones ... low-volume essentials, I'd say.

And I'll be using the tossed stems one (bottom center of the second last photo) as an embroidery background until I can no longer stitch, I'm sure.

Happy 150th Canada!

Friday
Jun302017

first romance ~ green

Fresh cut grass, a crisp salad, a fragrant herb garden, sunshine after summer rain ... these are some of the things this green evokes for me.

When I started my 1/2" hexie quilt, I had no idea that 4 years later I'd  ... well, still be working on it for one thing ... but more importantly, that I'd have the incredible fun of including my own fabric designs in it.  In fact, the small scale of my hexies had a strong influence on the scale of my prints.  I literally tested every single design in a 1/2" scale, just to make sure I could use them. And the print I used above is definitely one of my favourites.  It just looks so fun, like someone tossed a huge armful of stemmed flowers into the air.  It's just so ... happy, don't you think? :)

I'll be back tomorrow with something patriotic for Canada Day (and no, it won't be donuts ... or Justin Bieber) LOL!

Thursday
Jun292017

first romance ~ yellow

Here's the second colour grouping from "First Romance".  I don't typically use a ton of yellow, but I adore it for accents. And I'm learning to appreciate how it can really enhance a quilt.  It really is a happy colour. :) 

And this was the first diamond I made for my taking.forever.to.finish 1/2" hexagon quilt using First Romance.  Oooh ... the small scale of First Romance is just so perfect for little piecing!

Wednesday
Jun282017

first romance ~ aqua

I know my fabric won't be in stores until October/November, but I just can't not share it with you. :)

I'll be featuring each color group over the next little bit to get you inspired.

Now. Although you know how much I love pink, this aqua runs a very close second for me so there are 9 aqua prints in First Romance and I heart every.single.one.

I made this little clasp purse in less than a few hours ... the must frustrating part was getting my glue bottle unclogged.  As soon as it was finished, I showed it to my daughter because I was all proud of it and I thought for sure she'd agree with me about how pretty it is. But she looked up at me and asked, "What are you supposed to use it for?"

Sigh.

She's 14.  She doesn't yet understand that - for me - it is (almost) always about the making, not the having, that is the point.

That said, I told her that it can be used as a very practical little home for coins/money, keys, ear buds, library card, fitness pass, hair elastics and bobby pins, meds, "girl stuff", bandaids, a fancy envelope for a gift card present ... and that's just for starters. If we want to continue on with sewing notion, I'll be typing forever.

By the way, I got the clasp & pattern kit from Zakka Workshop. They have plenty more styles available too! I love them.

Monday
Jun262017

happy flower qal week 17

This was such a fun block!  Don't know why, exactly. I loved finding that text print by Lori Holt in my stash. :)  And there aren't a lot (if any?) solids in the original quilt.  But the colour worked so I just went with it.

Full disclosure - I made this block back in February-ish when I was dreaming of spring and pretty purple crocuses, so I deviated quite a bit with these colours. Aren't those curly vines the cutest? They were fun to stitch up. :)

Sunday
Jun252017

pink, aqua, yellow ~ an encore

I know, I know.  I made a very similar round pencil case last year. But here's the thing ... first of all, I gave it away. And second of all, I really wanted to remake it with First Romance!

I'm DEFINITELY keeping this one for myself.  Hopefully.  Maybe.  ;)

Monday
Jun192017

happy flower qal week 16

I love postage stamp blocks. This block makes me want to make an entire quilt with 1" squares. LOL!

And we have another ricrac stemmed block, which I just embroidered. Sometimes I second guess my approach to these blocks by choosing very similar prints and colours as the originals. But I admit that the "not having to think" part of copying sure makes the fabric pull and decision making faster.

 

 

 

Sunday
Jun182017

made for baby ~ made for me

I love being asked by a talented, unmet, online friend to help share their inspiring work with you.  I really really do. :)

The lovely Ayda Algin of Cafenohut sent me her book a little while ago and I found a few hours to enjoy it and make something.  The book is called "Made for Baby" and is just the sweetest collection of projects for little ones.  Even though that part of my life is past (until I maybe have grandchildren someday ... hard to imagine with teenagers at the moment LOL!) I saw something that I wanted to make for myself - that I could use in my sewing room as organized storage for pretty notions.

These tiny fabric boxes are about 3" and they look so cute all nestled in their custom tray. I made this entire set in a few hours, using my "First Romance fabric (available thru Moda in October).  I can see it perched in a nursery with supplies, and then graduating to a toy room to hold smaller objects (anyone remember Polly Pockets?)

Thank you for the book, Ayda! It's beautiful and inspiring. xo k

Monday
Jun122017

happy flower qal week 15

Well it seems I have a problem.

I've been wanting to make this quilt for soooo long, and have built it up in my mind so much that I'm constantly rethinking my fabric choices for these blocks. Seeing so many lovely blocks on Instagram isn't helping either.  I feel like mine never turn out as pretty as everyone else!

Like so many weeks past, (I haven't even shown all the remakes because it's that ridiculous!) I remade another block this week.

This one is ... "ok", but it seemed a bit to ... I dunno, not scrappy enough? I love all the fabrics ... they're really pretty.  And they look good together too.  It's just kinda .... meh.

I'm SO much happier with this one!!! :)

For both of the above blocks, I finally broke down and added some fabric from my debut Moda collection (the aquas, yellows, bottom greens, lower red, and middle pink).  It's called "First Romance".  I love it so much - bright colours, small scale, dainty florals ... :)

THIS block, however, turned out perfectly the first time!  Yay!

And I finally decided on a sashing fabric ... ;) ... it's also from "First Romance". Please don't be too annoyed with me for showing it to you now, even though it won't be in shops until October. I just thought you might like to see it in case you're searching for a sashing fabric too.

In case you missed it on Instagram a few days ago, here's a pic of most - but not all - of my blocks together. This makes me soooo happy. :)

Monday
Jun052017

happy flower qal week 14

Whoa. Who else can't believe it's June already?

So.  If you're quilting along with Wynn, Melissa, and me, how's it going?  Are you enjoying all the block-making? Don't worry if you haven't "kept up".  That's not the point of this project. We're here to inspire, cheer, entertain, coach, keep you company ... We creative people don't always have the wherewithall - for one reason or another - and that's totally ok.  Life is never a straight line and neither is the process of making.  So whether you're nearly done this quilt or you haven't even pulled your fabric for the first block, this quilt is waiting for you to make whenever you are available. :)

In the meantime, I hope you're enjoying all the posts - have you been following us on IG at #happyflowerqal? There is a growing number of beautiful blocks that are soooo fun to look at and are very inspiring!

So here are my blocks for this week.

What is it about any block set on point that just takes it to another level?  Especially these simple 4-patches.  Gosh they're cute!

 These cherries ... I'm particularly happy with the yellow background.  Makes the cherries seem like they're ripening in the sun. The stems in the original block are made with ricrac. It adds a super charming detail, like it had been salvaged from an old pillowcase or a little girl's dress and retrieved from a sewing basket or a tin of rescued notions. But I didn't have any in my sewing room, and I didn't feel like sourcing some out and buying it so I just embroidered mine.

Thanks for stopping by. Hope you have a great week!

Monday
May292017

happy flower qal week 13

This week's original block has a super large - and very dark - green plaid.  I did my best to find something similar in my stash.  Not nearly as large and not nearly as dark.  And I'm super ok with that!  LOL! (And yes my yellow/blue triangles are reversed ... by accident, not on purpose ... but I don't think it matters in the least.)

Original Block # 25

I think this little love bird is one of my favourite applique blocks in the quilt.  Simple, sweet, and charming.  In case you didn't know, Lecien has a cheater panel with blocks from this quilt.  I literally cut this birdie out of the cheater block and appliqued it onto my background. And that thin Tilda stripe ... home runs all around for that print!

Original Block #26

Monday
May222017

happy flower qal week 12

Gosh are these scrappy blocks ever fun!  Kinda like ad-lib cooking ... "a little bit of this, a pinch of that, a handful of this ...stir it all together and voila!"  Delicious eye candy :)

Original Block #23

Original Block #24

 

And we have another "freebie" this week - a single beautiful print to feature as a block all by itself.  This sweet hatbox by Atsuko Matsuyama is one of my very favourites.  I find it hard to use as patchwork, but this ... this is the perfect application!