Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Sunburst and Aviatrix Deliciousness

I feel like I've been on a bit of a sewing bender lately.  I mean, I understand that I have an addictive personality and all but this is amazing.  I choose to explain it by claiming that I'm just trying to make room for all the fabric I can't help myself from continuing to buy. Um... Ya....That's it....

So my friend Alice moved in with me for a year this summer.  She needs a little something to brighten up her new digs and to give her room some personality and I had a pretty idea brewing in my head based on a picture I saw and wanted to emulate so the perfect occasion was born.  I took a charm pack of Alison Glass's Sunprints that I got in a Quilty Box a while back and some low-volume scraps I had and went to town...

I made some HSTs...64 of them and laid them out in this pretty design, then got to sewing together
You know what two things I loved most about making this project?  Because it was a charm pack, it was pre-cut so I was pretty much able to bang this out in a day.  And second, here is my fabric wastage:
That's it!  HST trimmings were the only wasted bits.  I LOVE that.
I chose an Art Gallery Fabrics Oval Elements in Curry to bind this cuz the contrast with the other fabrics used was awesome.  It measures a finished 32 x 32 inches!  Just need to hand sew the hanging sleeve onto the back and she is ready for the wall!

Happy new room, Alice!
Also, pretty much since I started quilting/sewing I have had the incredible pleasure to attend a quilting retreat at this awesome converted farmhouse called "Quilters Mis Bee Haven" with a group of seven other women once or twice a year.  Its scads and scads of fun and I get to learn and acquire (by osmosis too I think) new skills, tips and tricks from a group of women who have well over a hundred years of collective sewing experience.  That's right - bask in the glory of their awesomeness!  This year, we switched it up a little and went during the summer.  As per usual, it was amazeballs!  I took a couple of projects with me (more because I have unrealistic expectations of my own productivity than anything else) but I pretty much spent ALL of my waking hours on the aviatrix medallion which I had slaved over cutting out all spring long.

The first evening we were there I was able to go to work on the centre medallion. about complicated!  Starch and accurately marking the fabrics were my new best friends.  Those pieces are small and are cut on the bias so there is a lot of potential for stretching.  Just after breakfast the next day, I had the centre done.
Finishing this medallion has been the most satisfying part of the whole experience so far.  I was SO relieved when this was done.
After that I just went to town on the borders.  We were there for five nights and aside from the one day of cooking and cleaning duties, I was free to sew!  And I did.  Often for about 10 or 11 hours a day.  Did anyone say massage? Each border gets a little bigger and more complex and, in my opinion, slightly more awesome!

The first border was all grey-scale HSTs.
Border two was a selected random smattering or intensely coloured stripes:

Then border 3 started to get a little complicated.   This one took me more than a day to complete.  Good thing I had nothing but time!
I could look at this ALL day.  I am loving the solids!
Border 4 was a bit of a relief.  After 19 pieces x 25 blocks that comprised the third border, I was looking for a little chain piecing in my life.

Simple 1 inch squares
And although there were 40 blocks in border 5, I felt they went together pretty quickly and simply.

Getting SOOOOO big!
I was able to get the grey frame on the fifth border before we had to pack up and go home.  I can see light at the end of the aviatrix tunnel!  Only one more border to get on at home and then I can start to contemplate how I will quilt this massiveness.  Five days and five borders strikes me as not too bad of an accomplishment at all.  I will miss the amazing food and the time and space to sew to my heart's content.  

I can't WAIT till next year!

Sunday, 17 August 2014

The #Swoon-a-long

Remember that quilting army I have been trying to recruit and arm?  Its really coming together nicely.  Like, so nicely that at some point during the late spring, my quilty friend L (if it wasn't her, I'm just going to blame her because everyone will believe me) came up with the idea that we should all do a quilt-a-long together.  All of us had been eyeing Camille Roskelley's Swoon pattern and had it on our quilting bucket lists.  The block is big, it uses HSTs and Flying Geese units so everyone could make it, and its fat-quarter friendly so we decided our collective summer project would be the #swoonaloing.

I had gone shopping earlier in June for the fabrics I was going to use (pretty sure I have previously posted them) and so after my epic road trip out west I had to come home and put my nose to the grindstone to catch up with my friends.   The blocks are 24 inches square and a full quilt uses 9 blocks.  This is an epic undertaking but by the time I had my first block done, I knew I was ALL IN!

My first block - these fabrics are Waterfront Park by Violet Craft and I LOVE the colour combo!
I was only mildy interrupted by a mid-July work trip and a five-day sleepover party with my niece during which movies were watched, pictures were coloured and Disney Stores were attended.  Massive digression here - Look what she made!!!!!!!!

This is her first sewing project!  She made her very own pencil case.  Selected her fabrics, helped cut, practiced her straight lines and went to town!  Now her vast array of markers have their very own home.

People, I'm not gonna lie.  My quilting army is now multi-generational!  Okay, okay, back to the swoon... Before she arrived, I was able to get five blocks finished.  While she was here, I kinda decided that it would be easier to chain piece the last four of the blocks for the swoon all at once.  I took advantage of pony-colouring time to mark up and organize my fabrics so I was off to the races when she went home.

These are all the HST units for the remaining blocks.  Nothing prettier than a gigantic stack of in-progress blocks!
I think by the end of that day, I had all the blocks finished and instagrammed!

Here are all nine blocks finished - in no particular order.
I had to move all my living-room furniture out of the way so I could get enough space to lay out this monster and figure out which ones I wanted to put where.   I was pretty motivated to see what it would look like when it was finished so within a couple days I had the top finished.

Super happy with the way it turned out!
And extra bonus! I decided to save up and gather all the corner cut offs from the flying gees units to see how many I would have.  I thought I could turn them into HSTs pretty easily since they were already matched up and the same size.  I chain pieced the entire pile and ended up with 144 2.5 inch blocks.  Not too shabby!

Can I admit that I was not looking forward to pressing and trimming this ginormous stack?!?
At the end, I have this 24.5 x 24.5 inch thing of loveliness that I will turn into a wall hanging or a big, floppy cushion, or that I may keep and see what else I can add to it.  

Not gonna lie - this makes me seriously happy to look at! to quilt the Swoon.....

Friday, 15 August 2014

Summer VACATION!!!!

I know I have been REALLY negligent on the blog lately....but only cuz I have been having the most epic summer.  I thought, as my August begins to wind down and the new school year looms that I would recap (in the most chronological order I can remember) just what I got into throughout the summer.

As soon as the school year ended I HAD to celebrate so I went over to see my friend Stephanie - whom I have known since I was about 5 - and a couple other long-term friends.  She is an AMAZING photographer.  I thought instead of a traditional hostess gift I would make her something.  I ended up on a boxy pouch she could use to store...well....anything she wants, really.  :)

I used the tutorial by Pretty Modern but there are a TON out there - really, all you need to do is google "Boxy Pouch"
The pouch uses my very first on-line fabric order of Katy Jump Rope by Denyse Schmidt both inside and out.  If only I knew back then what a ridiculous fabric hoarder I would become. *sigh*

The day after our throwback celebration, I took my newly converted quilt-army recruit and her visiting sister on a fabric shopping extravaganza! I was thinking - no problem - let them go nuts buying stuff and sit back and watch and enjoy....but have you seen the 7.99 room at Sew Sisters?!?!  Its an Art Gallery Fabrics lover's dream!  And really, who am I to keep dreams from coming true.

Did I mention I had also ordered about this much from them not two weeks earlier?  I'm disgusting.  
Next up, a few days after the year ended I headed out west with my BFF for her national competition.  Totally insane dummy that I am, I promised her if she made nationals, that I would make her a new competition suit.  She made nationals.  I made the suit.  At the end of the school year.  While trying to turn over the school year.  Seriously people - I need to be medicated.

All of those crystals are individually added.  I was cross-eyed for three days after I finished.  She looked epic though! 
So to avoid keeping you in suspense - she came 6th!  In the country!  She exceeded every personal goal she set for herself before the competition!  So proud!  We took full advantage of being most of the way across the country to make a road-trip vacation of our experience.  We went to Jasper and Banff and made sure to stick our toes in Lake Louise.  We came back through the states and ended up driving through Wisconsin. Since we were there I KNEW I had to make it out to the Sewcial Lounge.  You know, since I live vicariously through it online and through Jeni Baker's Blog and all.

I would like to admit that I have no self control.  Isn't the first step in addressing an addiction, admitting that you have a problem?  Hehe.  How could I pass this up?  A little Jeni Baker, some Amy Butler, a few fat quarters of Mormor and a nice rounding out of Terra Australis!  And I was on vacation people!  Cripes.  I need a bigger house.

Tell you what - I won't even tell you what I bought when I went to New York City.  If you hear me whispering "Anna Maria Horner" or "Pretty Potent"....just don't pay attention.  That's right shoppers...move along.  Nothing to see here.

One last step on the vacation trail - I finished cutting out the crap-load of pieces for the aviatrix medallion.  In fact, the occasion was so monumentous, that I had to immortalize the last freaking step!  288 template pieces.
All ready to start sewing!
So that's what I did on summer vacation -- what kinds of trouble did you get into?