Monday, 16 December 2013

Baby its cold outside.

I quilted this quilt based on the 12 inch blocks, ignoring the rest of the peicing and just did a large motif in each of the 12 inch blocks. I really love the look of this and would do it again. 

I used the bamboo batting! I told you I would and I did! I actually really enjoyed the bamboo batting for the middle of quilt. It was soft, incredibly warm and not bulky at all. I would say everything is positive about bamboo batting except for one small thing. The bamboo batting clung really tightly to the quilt top and bottom. That was great, but if I have one quilting flaw it would be the fact that I struggle getting my quilt backs flat and tight when basting and I tend to have a couple small pleats in the back. Maybe this will be my quilting resolution this New Years. Overall, I would recommend the cotton/bamboo blend batting, if you can afford it (or if you find a great deal like I did!).

The quilt I made for a certian Great-Grandmaman. It has the bamboo batting inside. The whole quilt was paper peiced. Free motion quilted.

Christmas is nearing and today I baked 8 dozen cookies. That sounds like a lot of cookies for a family of merely 3 people and a large cat who is not allowed cookies. I am dividing them in half, some for Christmas Eve with my fantastic French Canadian in-laws, and the other half for us. My house smells of ginger and cinnamon!

My daughter sewed these litte stocking decorations with her Grandmaman
She even used her buttons from her large collection.
Sewing last year at this time was simply crazy. I had so many projects not in completion that I was intending to gift that I would sew until 2am, then go to work the next morning. I can proudly say that this year..... I DONE! VOILA! I want to dance it makes me so happy. I am so excited that I can enjoy what Christmas is really about... family, our Christianity, tradtiton, and not have to stress over the material things like presents and lists of people and gift cards.

This year my Christmas gifts included 5 or 6 full quilts, place mats, table runners, pj's, the whole lot. I even finished my 3 year old daughters Christmas dress in plenty of time. This year the dress happened like this. "Chloe? Where are  you?" I said at the cutting table of a small fabric store near our home. "Right here Mom...and look... I found fabric that is PURPLE AND GOLD AND SPARKLY!!! AHHH" Replied my darling daughter. At least it was on sale? It is actually pretty cute and when she brings me these things, (like a large bolt of fabric almost as big as her, when she carried it, you couldn't even find her!) I tend to take it as a small challenge... sort of like one of those TV game shows where you get these ingredients or these decorations and they send you on some crazy mission.

With all this said and done, tomorrow my darling daughter is at 'double school' meaning she goes for the morning and afternoon on special Fridays (getting ready for full day kindergarten next year!!). So you know what I am going to do? I am going to make a tree skirt out of the leftover purple and gold and sparkly fabric! We are cutting the tree down this weekend and we are going with a purple and gold theme this year. I try to embrace whatever my daughter is into. This year was the year of purple.

With the new year coming I am very excited to start some new BOM (Block of the Month clubs). Of course the first one will be Amy Gibsons, she has promised us a new challenge of improving ourselves along the way, small challenges type of thing. Should be a lot of fun. Now it is time to sit back, enjoy a peppermint mocha, choose a cookie from the 8 dozen on my counter and start cleaning the scrap-filled sewing room.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Bamboo? Who knew!

Christmas is still coming. Not everything is done by December first, we are very close but just not quite there!

This week I finished my wall hanging for Christmas, very creatively named by my husband... "Christmas"... he is so creative. I made this wall hanging by taking a rectangle of plain backing, taking about half a meter of red Christmas print fabric, and basically jumbling around until a tree formed!

I drew a raw triangle on the back of the red fabric then just cut out blobs that filled out most of the triangle. I then attached Heat n Bond fusible lite to the red fabric. Apply that to your plain rectangle of backing fabric, applique around the shapes and voila! 

I finished it off with some free motion swirls and a string of battery powered LED mini lights! I layed out the lights on the back of the quilt, marked with a pin where every light landed and sewed a buttonhole there where I could pop the light through. 

This was fun and I promised myself (and my husband hoped) that this would be my last trip to the fabric store this week before Christmas. I needed some material for a border, some backing, thread and maybe some batting (depending on sales). I worked at said fabric store last year so I knew Dec sales are good. 

I found all the fabric I needed and turned around to see a big red sign and some little stickers on some fancy looking rolls of batting. I grabbed the tag, flipped it over and read "bamboo batting, needle punched, 13$/m. This stuck me hard. Normally this batting costs around 28$ per metre (remember Canadian measurements!). I decided right then and there I would try it! This quilt is for my husbands grandmother for Christmas and if anyone deserves fancy batting, she does. I have never ever used this before so it will be a very big learning experience.   (raw bamboo 'wool')
I am very excited about using this eco-friendly, supposably luxurious, batting. I will keep you posted on how this goes!

This leads me to the last topic today... My husband always asks me "What do you need at the fabric store today?" I always answer with my list and he will inquire about my projects and offer help or suggestions. He is a pretty supportive guy. Also, he is kind of a pushy guy and always says with a smile "Will you show this to the guild?" I normally answer with "doubtful...maybe...I don't know!". LOL. Anyways, it kind of sparked this blog post. If I had not had gone to the fabric store this week, I would have never seen the bamboo batting, I would never have thought of trying it, I would never have had the conversation with the sales lady. Quilting is very much about the community, and it has really become one of the best parts of my life, it has truly become and art that I am proud of.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Christmas Prepping for Quilters

I have been absent so long!

Well with Christmas around the corner I am sewing like a crazy woman. I mean seriously crazy, talking to my cat crazy, slipping discs in my back so having to 'mod' my sewing chair crazy.

I LOVE making homemade Christmas presents. I love sewing away working on extra details to make something look so nice people ask where I bought it. I love answering "I made it for you". I think it adds a little love.. rather than sending out too many gift cards that have the tendency of saying "Look, I checked you off my list!". Not that gift cards are bad, I purchase some for the season as well.

Some tips for holiday sewing!

1. Do not start too many projects, it really takes away from the experience (I promise I did not follow this list, but I highly suggest this)

2. Do not expect it to cost less than a store bought gift! Sewing supplies are expensive and sometimes shortcuts are just as noticeable as a cheap gift. I am not saying it has to be pricey, but be realistic about how much thread costs, ect.
(side note, my husband recently added up how much I spend on thread.. his jaw was catchin' flies!)

3. Try to ensure the person receiving the gift actually wants it. Not everyone knows the value of a quilt, for those people, why not make a wall hanging style or decorative table runner?

As a farewell, I would also encourage you to really think about the person while sewing their gift, it really changes the way you look at gift giving. Spending 30 hours making a quilt will require deeper thoughts than an hour at the mall thinking about that person. Also, why not bind your quilted gift in front of the tv watching the Grinch with little ones while sipping peppermint hot chocolates?

Enjoy the holiday sewing season! We start much earlier than your typical gift giver!

photo courtesy of

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

The tortoise and the seam ripper.

The tortoise and the hare is a classic story that portrays the message that slow and steady wins the race. This was a hard lesson learned today as I tried to speed through some free motion quilting. That was when I realized my quilt was folded under itself while I was quilting. I ripped out stitches for over two hours. The stitching I ripped out was intense pebbling around peacock feathers.... lots of work. 

 I have been working on a quilt for a month or so now, pretty simple, lots of negative space. After taking a few more classes on, I wanted to make a quilt with lots of room to practice some new free-motion designs. Also, for this quilt I decided I wanted to use extra-thick batting. I wanted this quilt to be extra warm and usable and I was finding my quilts were rather thin for our winters here. This was going quite well, though I realized with extra- thick batting comes extra strained arms when putting the quilt through my domestic machine.

Extra thick batting = extra tricky placement in machine

You will notice that I trimmed the extra off the edges of the quilt because I am now quilting the border. I find sometimes that when I quilt the borders, I sometimes let the extra fabric flip under the area I am quilting, to prevent this I cut the excess off right before getting to the edges of the quilt.

This was the section after being re-quilted. I will never make that mistake again!!!

For this quilt I am trying to achieve a contrast in the quilting, not only the fabric selections. I am trying swirls in the printed sections and some straight line stippling in the crisp white.

contrast in quilting designs adds an extra element of design 
While all this has been stressful, ripping it apart, even changing the size of quilt, it makes it very worth it when its all done.

I am rather pleased with the peacock feathers I am quilting into the border, I will have some detailed photos of the finished project but it is also fun to see some before and afters. 

Peacock feather

On a side note it was such a busy week! While ripping out the stitches on this quilt I realized I had to finish this cake for my sisters birthday this evening! The craftier you are, the less time you have.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

To the quild we go!

This week was our monthly guild meeting and I finally officially joined (rather than attending as a guest). This was exciting in its own, I am finally sharing and acknowledging this little love of mine. We had Kristy Daum of St. Louis Folk Victorian speaking to us about her Dr. Who quilt. How exciting it was! I love seeing face to face people I follow online, or quilts that people gawk at and take pictures of! You can find all her amazing work, including that stunning hybrid-pixel quilt here :

What was even more thrilling than my new venture into the guild was the fact that my husband was right there beside me. My husband is always supporting me and pushing me to acknoweldge my interest and talents and turn them into something like a business (or a blog!). He is always right beside me... from the delivery room to my craft show booth that man does not miss a minute... The guild is no different, and sometimes he ends up asking more questions than I do! It is so fun to share our passions with each other! I am very blessed to have him (and I believe he will be quilting himself one day! I think the bug will bite soon).

He is so cute! My hair looks a little silly here... stuck in a bobby pin... 2012
This week I also did a photoshoot with my little assistants down by the water front. We took pictures of the mermaid applique quilt that I was originally making for my neice, but my daughter put in 'dibs' first! She loved this mermaid so much she cried at the thought of parting. She placed all the starfish and really did "help" as much as a three year old can. So.... its hers!

This is the mermaid quilt- Spring 2013.
This quilt had to have Chloe in the picture because she simply loves it. It was applique, and free motion quilting. It was an all over stippling design followed by some more intricate designs in the borders. I used the fusible product "Heat and Bond Lite" to fuse the fish, seaweed ect. The mermaid was not fused down, I found pins did just fine to hold her in place. There will be more on this quilt int he "Applique" section of the blog very soon.

Hope you have a great week! It is very cold up here in Ottawa but that just means more inside time for quilting! Have a great fall day!

Friday, 1 November 2013

This was Halloween, This was Halloween

This was Halloween.

Chloe showing off her goodies for friends

This was a very tasty Halloween.
This was a very dressed up Halloween.  
                                                                   And all good witches have a cauldron to pull candy from!

This was a make-it-yourself super cute Halloween!

Ok, enough with the cute family pics, time to quilt. Before I get there though I would like to say that when sewing the cuddle fabrics, there are tips to remember. The cuddle fabrics are becoming very popular for quilts, and why not, they are great for babies! The white in the panda costume I made for my daughter was a cuddle fleece, and let me tell you, my machine was not impressed. There was fluff everywhere, and even though I had just changed the needle, it was nearly garbage after getting through the thick cabbage-roll fleece. So, if you are going to sew with cuddle fleece, keep those needles separate, and make sure to really clean your machine after. Also, I found a wet cloth rubbed over the fluffy fabric helped grab all the bits that were about to fly away, it helps with all the lint.

Halloween Wall Hanging
 This is my Halloween wall hanging! The picture is a little wonky and an odd angle, it really hangs pretty straight. I found that the dense quilting was a little tricky to keep it hanging as a square, and I will say that it is important to make sure that accross the quilt, you generally have the same density. I tried to stick with a 1/4 inch scale on this quilt. It took a lot of thread but it was so much fun!

 I appliqued all the pieces onto a flat black square. This means that by the end of quilt there might be 3 or even 4 layers of fabric. I machine stitched all around. When I applique I prefer to use a tight 0.6mm width zigzag with a stitch length of 1.5mm. I find this works the best to get a nice line around that really holds down the applique, even after washing.
 I hate scraps. I mean, I really hate scraps. Scraps of novelty prints? I could just die. I find the novelty prints are really fabrics that eat up space and never leave. You pay a lot for them and can only use them on their intended occasion, such as candy corn Halloween fabric! Thus, I made a door hanger. It was made completely out of scraps. Even the backing. I really love my free-motion spider web quilting. Holidays are a great time to try something daring! :)

Well thats all for now, enjoy fall, it is my favourite season to sew. Its cool outside so it makes us want to bundle up with a quilt, a picture book and a pre-schooler! Or is that just me?

Sunday, 27 October 2013

The concept of "Homemade"

This week was very busy for the Moose Mama. I took my daughter to the nature museum here in Ottawa. It is an enormous castle downtown and it was very recently renovated and now contains 5 floors of spectacular exhibits. Chloe was so thrilled by this outing she has been talking about it all week.The time we spend with our little ones is short and the special moments they will remember too.
The playroom quilt

This really got me thinking of how children form their memories, and what really sticks in our minds. In todays day we do not always sit together for dinner, Sunday is no different than Saturday to most of us. We purchase all our clothing, beddings, gifts and food. The concept of "homemade" is reserved for the artsy people and our grandmothers. Yet when I try to remember my haloween costumes, or my favourite suppers, you can bet they were the homemade ones.

Home-made coat I made for Chloe from a pattern from the 1940's

I love making something for my family and friends because I really think it shows how much we care.This is not to say that a gift-card for the movies isn't nice, but I am certain that my handmade quilt for a friends new baby, will be more thought of during those 2am feedings. They let the receiver know that they, or the event they are celebrating, is important to us, so important I spent 50 hours cutting, pressing, sewing, and planning a new blanket for a very new neighbor.

Baby quilt for a little guy born a few doors down

I also feel that quilting (or sewing in general) really helps us not be so disposable. I really feel that when I make a garment, a quilt, or even just a pot holder, I am much less likely to throw it away and get a new one, compared to a purchased version. In a time when being eco-friendly is more important than ever, I think sewing will play a big part in this. When I go through  my linen cloest, I will donate and get rid of old blankets I do not use anymore. This can be compared to people who collect antique quilts, or family heirlooms passed down through generations. These items have a soul, a history, they were handled for hours in the making process and given to someone on some holiday, they really meant something to the people they belonged to, they will never be thrown away. We tend to give handmade items more respect compared to objects like store bought comforters for example. When something breaks we throw it away, when an old family quilt gets torn, we gently mend it, and put it back on the bed in the guest room.

So take a minute and remember how we used to preserve our foods, sew a quilt for a new baby, and make our childrens Halloween costumes. If you don't already, you should try making something you are proud of, and just watch how long it lasts or how much more it means to someone when you answer the question I always get.. "Did you make this?!".

Happy Stitching! Make something homemade!

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

The Paper Piecing Plunge Tutorial

Continuation of "The Paper Piecing Plunge" now complete with pictures! I am a visual learner, eventually I hope to have videos :)

To paper piece "Circle of Geese"

To begin paper piecing you need a pattern of course. This one is courtesy of, 2012 BOM, which they got courtesy of Beth of 
Some people like to perforate (sew with an un-threaded needle at a low stitch length) before starting so that the paper tears away easily at the end. I tried this and found the paper fell apart before I attached my fabric! Now I simply use a stitch length of 1.0 while I attach the paper and fabrics together and I find the paper tears away with no problem when finished. This is just my personal preference, do what works best for you!

My printer decided to hate me, so I simply traced it using my husbands laptop.
 G= goose fabric B=background fabric
Pattern piece, double check your lines when tracing!
Next we will trim down the paper with craft scissors to 1/4 inch around the square. 
This is also when I pre-cut my pieces. When you are pre-cutting your pieces make sure to make them approximately half an inch larger on all sides of the shape you are sewing. This will allow you lots of fold over, and seam allowance space. 

All the pieces pre-cut and in order to sew

Now to start the block we will take one of our "geese" fabrics and place it right-side down (we only put the first fabric right side down) underneath the piece marked "1", as in the first piece to place. Feel free to pin or glue that fabric in place. 

Right side down only got the first fabric.

Now we will fold the pattern on the line between piece "1 G" and piece "2 B". We then trim what will be the seam allowance for the join between pieces 1 and 2. 

Trim seam allowance where you fold
Next we will align our next fabric (which happens to be a background piece, the piece marked 2 B), right side up (or right sides together). 

Now we unfold our paper pattern, keeping our fabrics together (feel free to pin) and we sew on the line between piece 1 and 2. 

After we are done sewing that line, we are going to flip over our pattern and trim the seam allowances on the stitching line we just sewed. Then we are going to press our work so far. 


Now we repeat these steps for the rest of the block. Pin paper pattern back onto the line you will sew next. Place the next fabric right side up with the last fabric you sewed. Unfold paper, sew on the line, trim seam allowance, press, continue on.

Now it is time to square up the block and tear away the paper after the final press. I find that pressing, then tearing, then re-pressing works best. 
Remember to give yourself that quarter-inch for seam allowance all the way around the block. 

We will then assemble 4 of the same blocks and attach them together to make a full Flying Geese traditional block!

Happy stitching! Hope this was helpful, shoot me an e-mail or comment if you have any questions. 

Saturday, 19 October 2013

The Paper Peicing Plunge

I have always considered myself a rookie quilter, only quilting for a year or two now, but not anymore. I have paper peiced!! Yes, its true, I took the plunge. With the paper peicing I think the best advice I can give to someone like myself who swore I could never do it, is to watch a really fantastic tutorial online. I know we love our live classes, but when you are sitting at your machine, it can sometimes help to have a 30- second replay.

I watched the Craftsy BOM with Amy Gibson (Craftsy) , I watched it over and over and over. Finally I got it! I have decided I am doing a whole quilt made out of 'Circle of Geese' blocks. Scrap-busting galore with paper peicing because you only need small scraps, all put together little peice by little peice. Its simply amazing after you get it, you just run with it.

With paper peicing you print your pattern (or trace it like me when your  printer decides to go on the fritz right when inspiration strikes!) and get your fabric pieces ready. Make sure for each peice of the pattern, the fabric peice you select is about half an inch bigger on each side, this helps for the first time. You attatch the fabric to the back of the pattern, with a pin or glue, then fold over the pattern on that line, and match up the ajoining peice, fold the paper back flat and sew on the line.

I will post some pictures this afternoon of how I am paper peicing. Of course there are so many types!

Never be afraid to try something, if you take your time, you can succeed.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Welcome, welcome!

I am a mother, I am a quilter, I am Canadian! This is the very first blog post and here we go! I will put an 'about' section up very soon, but for now I will give you the quick summary.

I am a young mom living in Ottawa, Canada with my husband and darling daughter. My daughter, Chloe, is 3 years old and basically runs my life. Her needs taught me to sew, her vibrancy is always my inspiration. I learned to sew by creating the bedding for her nursery with my mother, then I made all her clothes, now I got bit by the quilting bug and it has stuck! My husband is a tech guy who loves all the quilting tools, currently he is really excited about a craft cutter.

I promise that any quilts I make I will make a little formula here for you! Quilts are expensive enough and if I went through the trouble to make it, I am going to share them with you! I try to take as many photos along the way as I go ( stressing the word try here, my three year old keeps me rushing sometimes!).

Thanks for stopping by, I will try to blog as much as possible and share my life with you, and don't worry, my life always involves a quilt or two.

This picture is from a baby quilt I did some English paper piecing. More to come soon!