in memory

I recently had a commission from a woman who had a tote bin full of her deceased dad’s t-shirts.  Quilting in crisp to quality cotton is the best, but there is something special about being able to create something new to treasure from a loved ones old clothes. I have made a few different memory quilts and one other t-shirt quilt, so I had a bit of a plan on how to attack this challenge.

First big step is to cut the images out of the t-shirts, and attach interfacing so that the t-shirts don’t stretch when attached to cotton.  Then layout…

These were the first parts I had a clear picture of in my mind.


C requested NOT the traditional t-shirt quilt of all just t-shirts.  Also lots of white if possible.  Lots of dark t-shirts made that a challenge.

So more playing with layout, leaving space for white.

Finally put it all together.


C also requested fleece hearts, if possible.  And some free motion quilting.


I stitched around a lot of the icons on the shirts.


This is the result before I bound it in white.


I stipple quilted all the white, adding a heart shape here and there, and for an extra touch, I put C’s dad’s name in the quilting.  Right near his photo.


C had a few squeals and claps and a big grin.  I take that as a satisfied customer.

This one was 5 1/2 by 7 feet.  Big! I worked from the center outwards in all directions, no puckers!  I often add a pucker or two for character;) heehee.

Now back to all my WIPS.  Oh wait, it’s baseball season. Better cut a few hand quilting projects to do in the stands!

Enjoy the sunshine.



round robin reveal

I talked about hosting and working on round robin quilts with my guild, here and there through last year.  The final reveal was at our December meeting, but I was away.  It took until the February meeting for me to get mine back.  This was my starting block way back at the beginning of last year.


I didn’t have a planned direction for this, just that I hoped for stars and curves, blue and green, and stripes. I then set it free for 5 other quilters to add to it.  And Voila


It turned out very different from what I imagined, but that’s the fun of a round robin, you have to let go of control and take what comes back to you.  BUT, I want it bigger, so am going to add more rounds, trying to make them distinctly different each round.  Maybe this is the perfect project for me: the girl who works on something for a bit, but then gets distracted by a new idea, a must-do project, an upcoming quilt “needed” for some celebration, etc……. By the time I come back to add more, I will have new ideas, new skills (maybe), and new perspective.  And now I can tell you as this grows, not keep it secret.

I like to share, and I am glad to have you to share with, so it is hard when I am making surprises, or working on commissions ( like the t-shirt quilt that I have now finished, but cannot show you until the client sees it), upcoming block lotto for my guild, or things like this round robin.  I only have so much sewing time, and when lots of that is secret, I just don’t have things to share. This is my reason for less posts in the last few months.

But onward; quilting, creating, and noticing all the colour around us.



purple procrastination

I am working on a big commission quilt and sometimes I need a change of “scenery”.  But really, I am just putting off getting the big job done.

Enter Productive Procrastination, Playing with Purple.

I had an idea in my head, to sew some squares together, cut them apart at a random spot, sew together, rotate, cut again, and keep going.  And since the Pantone colour for 2018 is violet, I thought that was a perfect direction for playing with building blocks.

I started with violet, medium purple, pale purple, and white.


I really just wanted to see if this would work,

Working pretty well, I think.  So I continued to cut, sew, rotate until I felt it was random enough.  Satisfied, yup.


Now, what if I cut exactly halfway thru each block?


Cool, now with HSTs.  This one reminds me of Argyle socks!


Next I tried the random spaced cuts, but some angles too.  This took a bit more planning as I had to make matching triangles on both sides to swap.


Which resulted in another fun block.


So now I have four 16″ blocks, hmm


maybe they need sashing? maybe they are better put together like this?

But then I had another idea to try…a braid.

Here is another one that starts by sewing strips together, then cutting them up, and sewing again.


And this one was so thin it needed a border, so all the blocks may end up with violet in between them.

Then family and weekend commitments at the ballpark, soccer field and hockey rink took over all my time.  But such is life.  I feel like there is more to create and play with on this four colour theme.  Maybe it will become a quilt at some point.  Better get back to my commission before more play.

PS. I submitted My Canada quilt to Quilt Canada 2018 CQA juried show coming up in late May.  Cross your fingers for me:)


order from chaos

Order certainly drives me.  I love lists, and lineups( and queues), and sorting books on a shelf.  Although it is never complete, I take satisfaction from tidying up.

This also works in the quilting world! From an idea and a mess of fabric, you can put together something quite lovely.

I hate to admit that this is how it usually starts, but that’s the truth.


At our November guild meeting, we were given a piece of card stock and a bunch of scraps and told to play.  At the end of the meeting we were challenged to make that into something quilted. ( my post card appears further along in this post). Some sketching and math to make this bigger than 4×6″ and so that it was makeable in fabric. And then I began the cutting and laying out.


Some different shades of blues, but a decent representation of the post card on the right.


When I made the post card I was thinking of water at the bottom, but in fabric pulling, I decided it was grass.

Now, a nice small piece like this quilts up fairly fast, which is a refreshing change from what I normally put on my plate.


My favorite part is the trees along the dark blue.

So from the chaos of my dining room table, this one came out pretty well, I think.


PS, It does hang straight on a wall, but the branches were not very supportive of my photo taking.


Old one done

I know everybody says it, but really, where did that year go?

You can clean the bathroom, and the rest of the house and do all that laundry endlessly, and, oh look, there’s more.  But you can count the quilts you made and feel creative satisfaction!!!

What did I make this year?

My youngest turned 8 in January and I have started a tradition of making my boys a new quilt every 4 years.  So a pixilated Storm Trooper came into being.  I learned a bit about colour strength with this one. (i.e. that shadow through the middle should have been a much lighter fabric).  But you can see the grin on M’s face, so that’s really all that matters.


Next I finished my third rocking horse for the same girl.  She found me through a friend years ago and had me replicate her baby quilt in modern fabrics ( her fabric choices, not mine).  2 babies and a nephew all have versions of the same quilt.


And then I tackled a creative mini.  This is my rainbow Fibonacci quilt.  See the mathematical explanation here.  Maybe in 2018 I will to the reverse, starting with purple in the centre.


Hmm, I was pretty productive this year!

So along came baseball season, and I managed to finagle a bunch of baseball t-shirts and jersey’s.  This one will be in a silent auction for a baseball park fund raiser this spring.  Oops, this photo was before quilting and binding.  That is done.


My Canada was a big job.  So many details put into it, and so much time.  But I love it every time I look at it, and I am going to enter it in a show this year.


Then we had a challenge at my guild.  I made Shiny, Happy.  I love it.  And mini quilts are so satisfying cause they finish up so quickly.


And then my hubby’s birthday quilt, with lots of sentimental t-shirts.


And finally the Prairie Sunshine quilt for my sister-in-law.  I wasn’t a huge fan of the colour guidance I was given, but really warmed up to the yellows. This one had me going in circles, sorry, couldn’t resist.

It looks perfect in it’s cold prairie home


Along with all of that I quilted for a friend, made pillow cases and potholders, worked on a round robin quilt throughout the year and had lots of fun coming up with a block every month for my guild meeting.

Ooh, almost forgot the last quilt I squeaked in this year.  Not a bargello was a satisfying one, since it took about 8 years from it’s beginnings as a bargello quilt to this result.  Further explanation here.


Thanks for continuing to come and see my rambling and stitching.



Seeing Stars

Way back in the spring I did a block lotto for my quilt guild.  A stretched star.


Usually these are turned in at the next meeting, but I made my demo from a slightly different grey than what we had available to buy at the guild meeting, so I kept this one and made another one to bring to the meeting.

I have a drawer that has lonely single blocks, that may be useful at some point.  Certainly not to be thrown away:)

November came along and I was inspired by a rising star quilt, so did a little research.  This is a rising star  block I found online ( Missouri quilt co tutorial).

Image result for traditional rising star quilt block

With so much potential variations (

Image result for traditional rising star quilt block

I decided to make an improvised one, with no measuring, and ending up not symmetrical.


It was so fun and easy that I decided to try one in my favorite blues.

DSC04234Loving it!!!  Now my mind is running full speed.  Planning a quilt of the whole rainbow of various stars, nope, maybe just yellow, green and blue.  Hmm.

In the meantime, this is a great block, can I alter it again?  And while I am at it, why don’t I make a Star of Bethlehem for my eventual nativity quilt. Eight points? sure.


Well that turned out pretty good too.  I need to do one in grey for that quilt too.

Do you see where the problem comes in?  Another quilt in the planning.  Just what I need!  But I really can’t help it.

And between piecing days, I finished quilting the Hawaiian turtles for my friend, and have begun quilting the sunshine quilt.


Ah, the never-ending fabric play.  I don’t know if it keeps me sane, or drives me close to the edge.



Difficulties with tension cause, well, tension!  I am quilting a friend’s quilt top.  Her batting seems the same as what I use, but must be less dense, and I normally use flannel or fleece on the back, so that adds more thickness too.  Which all equals a thinner quilt, therefor tension adjustments on my machine in order to get things to look good.

I start with some ugly fabric, batting and ugly fabric on back.  Then adjust the top tension knob one step at a time, checking how the free-motion stitches look each time.


I thought I had it pretty good, but then NOPE!

this is not right. (The stitching, and the ugly cat fabric).

Finally it looks good, and sounds good with the actual quilt running thru my machine.


So, quilting coming along very well.


But then tension problems of a different kind appeared! argh!!!!!!

My bobbin holder is shifting out of place while I am quilting, thus jamming everything and making nasty sounding noises in the process.  I have been piecing all weekend with no problems, but clearly my machine is not in the mood to quilt.  This happened almost exactly 1 year ago when I was free-motion quilting my Quiltcon entry.  I have done lots of free-motion in the year in between with no problems.  What’s up now???

And the kicker is that I have been procrastinating on this quilt, and finally just got to it.  Now machine problems.  Did I say Argh!!!! already.

And, I have a this week off and planned to do a whole lot of quilting.  We will see what Sawyer’s sewing centre says tomorrow. ( if they are open due to the holiday).