Tuesday 29 December 2015

Playing with words

I like words. As long as I can remember I have collected words. In school it was a diary with quotes and things I liked. Later, cuttings from magazines pasted in a "scrapbook", then Pinterest and a "Words" board. I am not such a great putter togetherer of words, but I like them and I have always wanted to do a quilt with words. I have had a million, well maybe ten or so, ideas over the years for word quilts, but they have never really materialized. Until now.

Fast forward to a couple of months ago when I was invited to participate in a Travelling Quilt quilt bee. How it works, you come up with a quilt idea, start it, then send it off to your bee mates. Each month we get a quilt to add to from each member in our group. At the end of the year the last person with the quilt quilts and binds it and then we each get back a finished quilt! I am stoked about this whole business. A little nervous about my skill level, as checking out my fellow bee mates, theses are some seriously skilled Canadian quilters. But I think I can keep up and it's all about the challenge for me this year.

We have had some amazing snow days this week, and I am on vacation (yahoo!) so into the studio I went a couple of days ago and started thinking about what kind of quilt I wanted my bee mates to contribute to. Words!!! I am going to start off with a phrase that inspires me, and then I will ask all to add to the quilt. They can add a word, a phrase, whatever they want! I think it will be cool to see what comes back, and the thing will have travelled the whole country!

I started with the phrase "Go Somewhere New". Simple, but powerful for me. I love going new places, exploring new things. And I need to get off my bum and do more of this. Also, I think it's kind of fun that my quilt will be going somewhere new each month. Lucky devil.

Once I had the phrase, I knew I wanted to paper piece my letters. Now my friend over at Purple Boots and Pigtails, who taught me improv letters this year,  will be appalled that I went to paper piecing. But I have not mastered the art of normal sized improv letters, they are all gigantic when I am done. I used Elizabeth Hartman's Fridge Magnet pattern (which I would give you a link too, but I no longer see this pattern in her shop). This pattern is meant for her special freezer paper template technique, but frankly, that looked like way too much work, so I just modified the pattern by tracing the letters in the reverse so that I could paper piece.

Given that this quilt will be ALL MINE in the end, I used some of my favorite new fabrics. Alison Glass's Abacus and some AMH Luminous. The luminous may not have been the easiest thing to Paper piece with, but it does give my letters a little bit of texture and some sparkle! Everyone needs sparkle.

Once the words were done I also wanted to add another shape to this starter block. I went with flying geese because I loooovveeesss them. I started making them using this method, but quickly had a hot mess on my hands. No points, weird sizes etc. I was rushing I think, excited to get it all together.

So I went back to paper piecing for the geese as well. Much better. The Points don't lie.

In the end I have a starter block that is likely way too big (28 x 15), and I don't expect my bee mates to make something so large, but I LOVE it. And I feel like I designed it all by my lonesome, so I love it even more.

As I am writing I realize that I will not see this wee bit of work back for a whole year! Weird and exciting. Cannot wait to see what the other chicks will add...

Have you taken on a new quilt along or bee, or something equally fun for 2016? I took a total break from all organized things in 2015 and it was good. But I need something to keep me focused and this bee will be fun me thinks.

Happy New Year!

ps. if you would like to follow snippets of our traveling quilts and happen to frequent Instagram you can find us at #travelingquiltscanada

Monday 14 December 2015

A Patch of Geese: A Finish

Where did a month go? It went to hectic places people. But who wants to hear about that? Not me, let's talk quilting!

This quilt started nearly a year ago (and was finished and photographed a month ago I might add - hence the leaves still on the tree, they are gone now!)...I wanted to find a way to thank the owner, Chris, of Patch Halifax for her support of my wee Guild, the MMQG. Since opening just over a year ago, Chris has generously allowed us to meet at her shop for our monthly meetings. This has meant the world to us.

So of course, making a quilt for Chris was an obvious answer! I threw out the idea to the Guild and I quickly had eleven of my quilty peeps volunteer to make flying geese blocks. We used the Migration Block Tutorial.

Once I had all the blocks in hand, picking out a layout was a bit of a challenge. I wanted something simple, but those blocks are pretty busy! So I decided to make a "Patch" of geese in some negative space. Simple straight line quilting with some coordinating thread gave the whole thing a little something something.

Some of the blocks were not quite big enough for the main patch, but I did not want to leave anything out, so I chopped those babies up and made a pieced strip for the back.

When we gave the quilt to Chris at our November meeting she was so pleased. Chris recently had a new baby boy and with another little one already at home, getting a gift just for her was a nice treat!

We all know that the process of making a quilt makes us feel good, I mean why else would be cut up fabric and put it back together again? But making this quilt, with my Guild mates, felt extra special. I love giving things that I know will be loved in return.

Speaking of love - I have to share this last picture. My Husband was helping me take pictures on a very windy fall day and when I was going through the pictures...I found this...my favorite. The PJs and rubber boots...that's my man!

My wee Guild is not so wee anymore and we have outgrown Chris's Shop, not a bad problem to have, but I will really miss meeting in such a creative atmosphere and surrounded by all of that fabric! That we have to move makes me even more happy that we were able to gift Chris this flimsy to remember us by! Mind you I am sure none of us will be strangers to Patch...did I mention the fabric?

Well I better get back to the Christmas sewing. Its a race!
Ho Ho Ho