All Things Small & Beautiful…

“All things small and beautiful, All quilts both great and small” … Not quite the correct words to the hymn, but the sentiments are there. This blog tour is also celebrating Tibeca (the blog tour organizer’s) birthday – so Happy Birthday Ti!!!30742404_10213173798634250_7586149616224043008_o

With birthdays in mind, this month’s blog is about gifts to sew. I have chosen baby quilts and quilting. Talking of which, I had better mail the latest baby girl quilt, or her mum will read about it here.

Quilting is about precision. If you can sew, you can quilt and vice versa. It took me a while to realize that where 1/16″ or a few mm doesn’t make much difference to a garment, it makes a huge amount in quilting. It is very satisfying when my corners are squared and line up nicely. I am quite a free spirit and love to free motion quilt. Once I settle into the rhythm of remembering to breathe, I slide my hands and fabric around under (what I call) the ‘jumpy’ or darning foot. Who darns still? Not me, that foot is for quilting! The secret is moving at a consistent speed and tension. That way the stitches remain the same size. I also put my feed dogs down for less surface tension, and reduce the pressure foot weight to 1-2. I don’t quilt as much as I would like too, but it is a bit of an addiction and leads to many UFOs (Unfinished Objects). Modern sewing machines have a plethora of pretty decorative stitches and I take full advantage when quilting.

I like making baby quilts. Actually I’d love it if queen or king size quilts came together as easily. It’s like making bread or baking; you get an end result really fast. I used to make baby quilts for my friends. Now it seems I am making them for my friends’ children and the women I have met on various sewing groups. I’m also currently hand quilting my ‘marriage quilt’. We have been married 16 years and the quilt has been in progress for almost 4 years. Ho hum, I digress. It will be a blog post on its own but here is a sneak peak.

On the frame and quilting in progress

Sometimes I succumb to a pattern in a quilting magazine but there are so many free patterns out there that I try not to buy them, and Craftsy is great for them. When I have used a good free pattern I am much more inclined to buy one from the Indie designer. I quilt weekly with a group of lovely ladies and don’t think I’ll need to buy any patterns for a long time.

Quilts should look as good on the backs the front. This means they need careful placement when ‘sandwiching’ the layers together before you quilt them. Or a big mess can result with lots of pleats. Don’t ask me how I know this so well.

I sent a quilt to my newest littlest great-niece in England. I hope her mum, Sophie, likes it. Its the Easy Fat Quarter Quilt by Kate Henderson Quilts trading as Two Little Banshees. I didn’t use fat quarters as I have a lot of small pieces of fabric. It is very soft and girly though. Her sister, Katie, is having another baby in early summer. I already have plans for quilts and things to send. England doesn’t have baby showers like Canada does, so I shall have to show her with gifts from afar.

This is the Star Bright Free Quilt Pattern by SwimBikeQuilt Patterns. I think the lady who owns this website and blog is my kind of woman. This pattern was free, but might be a purchased item now. This pattern is one of my favourites; I think it would be great as a larger quilt (but I must finish my daughter-in-law’s quilt first)! Once again it is for a little girl. This little lady’s grandma sent me a photo of the bedroom decor, so I chose colours to compliment it. I hope she likes it. What I love is how the same pattern can look so different depending on the fabrics and colours used.

Learning new techniques is always fun. Recently I learned the McTavishing method of Free Motion Quilting. It totally appealed to me due to the fluid way of quilting that results in almost a dreamlike quilt. The nice thing is that you set your needle in place and then go from there. I suspect each result will be different and as such, it is open to a lot of interpretation. My small piece has been claimed by one of my soft toys as a duvet. If you look closely I have incorporated my name, my husband’s name, a butterfly, fiddle head, snail and umpty ump hearts. My girlfriend, Harmony has heavily hinted it would be well used to make her little ‘Puffin’ a jacket. Maybe … it would be fun.

That’s about it from me. I hope you enjoyed the rambling dialogue. Do read the other bloggers posts about gifts you can sew. You might be inspired to sew something yourself.
Sunday, April 22nd: Sewing By Ti (intro), With Love In Every Stitch, Sewing With D

23rd: Stitched By Jennie, Tales from a Southern Mom, Aurora Design Fabrics

24th: Sewjourns, Big Fly Notions, Sewing Blue, JOT Designs USA

25th: Sewing By Ti, Auschick Sews, Hazelnut Handmade

26th: Sewing With D, EYMM, Middle River Studio, Aurora Design Fabrics

27th: Our Play Palace, My Sewing Roots, Make it Sew with the Bear and Pea, Seams Sew Lo

Not Just For Your Kitchen Sink! The Rag Apron

Hello Peeps! It’s another date with A Vision To Remember (AVTR) this week. Following on from the recent rag-quilt baby car seat cover, I have a raggedy apron to review.

I must admit to being a bit perplexed about a rag apron. After all, rag quilts are several layers thick depending on the end fraying effect you want. Thats a lot of fabric! I’m a post menopausal cook, so I’m hot in the kitchen anyway. I couldn’t imagine 3, 4 or 5 layers of fabric. But 2? Now that had potential. Especially as I live on a ski hill. We have tons of snow, yet still manage to BBQ in winter. Plus, I can see me taking this to the lake to BBQ. Perhaps there is room for a warm apron in the kitchen?

My plan decided I looked at the pattern. The drawing at the end is very useful and gave me the idea to make the apron a scrap buster. After all, why not make a scrappy apron? With the right flannel backing (more scraps), the fraying effect could be most pleasing. I like using scraps. They bring so many memories of previous projects, favoured articles of clothing and fabrics I love. The smaller pieces of fabric were bequeathed from a dearly departed quilting friend. I decided to use lace from a thrift store as the ruffle. The large squares are the remains of a ‘layer cake’ I used to make my mum’s 75th queen bed quilt. The whimsy in me decided that the pea pods fitted in, though I nearly broke out all the fruit and veggie fabric when I saw how good it looked.

All the pretty things

If you want a fairly quick project and are tired and grouchy, make this one. As the designer states, it is very forgiving as long (as you don’t snip through all the stitching). There were a few glitches, but credit to Bobbie the designer , who reviewed and tweaked her pattern before we started the tour. That did impress me.

The pattern came together easily and sewing it together was rewarding. I have a lovely 1970s Kenmore called Evelyn. She is solid and I use her to sew my heavier fabrics. With a size 16 needle she easily sewed through these many layers. I decided to use my ruffled eyelet lace as a ruffle, as I have so much of it! As such, I cut the scalloped bottom 9″ deep instead of 5″ and just sewed the ruffle to the top. I also measured the neck band and made mine 25″ long instead of 18″. When I came to pin it in place I measured it and re-pinned to a size that went over my head easily; it ended up being 22″ long. The back is made from a lovely green flannel. Yes, it was meant for a baby quilt, but now it can snuggle me. I added a couple of pieces of random beige in as a bit of a highlight.

Soft and gentle colours

I’m really pleased with the end result. I did intend taking photos by the BBQ, but we had over 6″ of snow today.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my apron. If you’d like to check out some of the other creations here are their blog links:
2/22/16: Larissa from CBAT

2/22/16: JaNette from Merri Poppins

2/23/16: Patricia from Sew Far North

2/24/16: Melissa from Rebel & Malice

2/25/16: Ula from Lulu & Celeste

2/26/16: Denita from HattieLu Handmade

2/24/16: Essence from Amazing Adventures of Bubba and Bug

Disclaimer: To be able to make this item I was given the pattern. My views are my own, and not influenced by anyone. I hope you enjoyed the read!  

Quilting 101: Addy Mae Car Seat & Tent

The hardest part about making any quilt is choosing the fabric. This is even harder when I don’t know who the quilt is for, don’t own a car seat – or a baby for that matter! Originally I was going to hack this pattern into a cat cage cover. After all, those furry critters get chilly in their cages, but a friend is expecting her first grandchild in spring, so I decided to make the pattern as is. It looks so very cute after all.

Love, love, love this look!

My girlfriend, an accomplished quilter and seamstress says quilting isn’t usually undertaken by the young for the following reasons. Fabric, notions and miscellaneous supplies can be expensive; it calls for time, which most people don’t have; it calls for precision and the ability to follow instructions carefully. I’m not sure I agree with her to he honest. I see a lot of young women, especially those with a graphic design or creative backgrounds developing as designers in all areas of fabric and textile art. Plus, sewing in general is having a resurgence. The ability to go online to purchase fabrics, sign up for a class, ask for help and post your finished item has opened the world of quilting (and sewing) to everyone.

Back to the pattern… I’m really glad I made it because it is so darned cute! I’ve quilted for a while now but haven’t made a rag quilt before. I didn’t read the pattern the whole way through, and as such didn’t see there was an option for a larger size.Doh! I’m also used to concise quilt pattern instructions that assume some knowledge. This pattern has an artsy font, but it’s easily readable with good visual instructions. One thing to remember and to stop the Husband thinking there has been a snowstorm in the laundry room, is to open the dryer door carefully and slowly, and to not shake the quilt indoors. It made a heck of a mess! I don’t have a car seat, so haven’t sewn the positioning straps on. That said, I might not … it just might sit on my chair for a while.

On a final note, watch this space over the next few months for more A Vision To Remember pattern reviews, click here for the Etsy shop link, and check out the FaceBook Group.  If you make this pattern and enjoy it, get out and buy a quilting magazine, join a quilt guild and keep quilting.

A Vision to Remember Addy Mae is the perfect gift for all those little babies this winter! Be sure to check out the different blankets this week!

Jan 26- Larissa from Connected by a thread

Jan 27- JaNette from Merri Poppins

Jan 28- Patricia from Sew Far North

Jan 29- Essence from Adventures with Bubba and Bug

Jan 30- Jona from Stitches & Spills