Crystals or Corals? Both.

Follow me on Instagram @charlamacphee

When Emma Jean Jansen released her By the Bundle book a few months ago, the “Crystals” pattern jumped out immediately. It looks like a perfect pattern for replicating coral reefs, which would go perfectly with my Coral Queen of the Sea fabric bundle. Surely, I knew my mermaid obsessed girl herd would love it.

I set out cutting and prepping this easy to follow pattern and began work on it at my once yearly guild get away. I was pleased with how much I was able to accomplish in only 2 days, especially since I was also working on my Lisa the Unicorn quilt. Having a house full of girls sure makes for some fun quilt projects.

The pattern is best suited for someone who loves half square triangles, and if you don’t have yourself a Bloc Loc ruler, this is the time to get one. I know this because I did not.

Link for the book : https://www.amazon.ca/Bundle-precuts-patchwork-quarter-friendly-quilts/dp/194065517X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1534265947&sr=8-1&keywords=by+the+bundle

Fabric by Moda : http://www.unitednotions.com/fcc_coral-queen-of-the-sea.pdf

img_5047img_5240img_5242img_5903img_5946

 

Advertisements

Adventures in Hand Sewing – Tula Nova

So, here I am once again. That place I swore I’d never go, doing that thing I swore I’d never do, becoming one of those people I swore I’d never be. I’ll be the first to admit that I get it now. Hand sewing is awesome. English Paper Piecing is now my favorite way to calm my mind, and boy, does having mental illness make that necessary.

I now have my Smitten quilt top done and ready for *gasp* hand quilting. But, if any of you know me personally or via my Instagram, you know I’m a die hard Tula Pink fan. And if you yourself are a fan of hers, then you know that all the happenings with Free Spirit Fabrics causes us all a bit of stress. Especially anyone who had pre-ordered All Stars and De La Luna. What a relief to hear that it’s all been straightened out, and our favorite non-beige artist will continue to make her gorgeous, rich, vibrant, and whimsical fabric lines. Yeah. I just said whimsical. That’s what this stuff does to me.

Already knowing it’s well worth my while to order the Paper Pieces kit for the Nova quilt, I did so and ordered the templates as well. My sewing time is so precious I refuse to waste time and risk huge errors by not using them. Plus, they’re hot pink, so what’s not to love.

Now, not every print is my favorite, some I’m not even fond of, but they all work so well together. To figure out how the heck I was going to set this quilt up, color and print wise, I stalked the #tulanova and #tulanovaquilt hashtags on Instagram.

The templates and paper pieces kit work beautifully and it’s a pleasure to cut, baste, and piece this using the gorgeous fabrics.

Here’s where I’m at so far.

Smitten Quilt – an Update

Find me on Instagram @charlamacphee

Back in May of 2017, I took my first steps into hand sewing. I had sworn I was a machine quilter only, but seeing posts on Instagram of all the gorgeous fussy cutting in various quilts; La Pas, Smitten, Ice Cream Soda etc.  Although, in my defence, I watched countless videos of how to actually machine sew paper piecing so as to avoid the actual hand sewing, but it always ended up seeming like just as much work. I couldn’t hold off any longer. After all, we were heading into camping season, and it was great to do while the kids ran wild (within eyeshot). Not to mention, there was still almost 6 weeks left of waiting in school pick up lines).

It’s been…a learning experience. That’s for sure. I started hoping to use paper pieces that I cut out myself, only as it turns out, printer paper is not the best for EPP (English paper piecing). So, hubby encouraged me to order the actual (sturdier) pieces from PaperPieces.com . They’re a lot better. Like, a lot.

So, in the car, watching movies with the kids, road trips, sitting on the pool deck during kids swimming lessons, and a lot of times, just to calm my mind, were spent working on the blocks.

Admittedly, this one is essentially an assault on the eyes. I was a little overexcited to jump in and use all of my favorite bits of fabric from scraps, new find, gifts etc. and well…it’s loud. Very loud. There is no rhyme or reason to it, but the kids have loved helping to pick  out prints to go in it, and arranging them endlessly around. It’s also proven to be quite an I-Spy quilt.

I’m finally at the stage of sewing the rows together, then I just have to do the large triangles on the edges, and it’s done. Well, pieced. I’m toying with the idea of hand quilting it (Mom, pull your chin up, I’m serious). Go big or go home, right?

img_4006-1img_4004img_4112img_4142-1img_4111img_4345img_4140img_4420img_4421img_4457img_4530img_4531img_3641img_4284

 

 

Holiday Patchwork Forrest

Follow me on Instagram @charlamacphee

Tis the season or gifting. I’ve been approached several times now to make quilts to sell, but I think I’m like the majority of us. We’d prefer to make quilts to give to those we love. Since we’re coming up on Christmas, time becomes more scarce, but projects to finish and gift don’t. So, here’s a quick tutorial I found via Instagram. The blocks come together quickly, and it’s great for beginner’s or even kids because the more wonky your cutting is, the better it looks.

I used a bundle of Cotton & Steel I had pre-ordered at the beginning of the year, and added a few Christmas fat quarters I had around to make it go further. I had enough to complete this top, and 39 blocks left over that my 6 year old has claimed to put into a lap quilt.

Here is the link to the tutorial and all the cutting instructions. In my scrolling, I came across the completely red and white version and it was gorgeous. A Canada 150 Christmas quilt would a pretty great thing to make.

https://www.diaryofaquilter.com/2014/11/patchwork-tree-quilt-block-tutorial.html

img_3507img_2797-1img_3509img_3554

English Paper Piecing

English Paper Piecing, EPP to most. Hand sewing. Basically, everything that has scared and intimidated me since I began quilting. I used to think, “Oh, I could never! Who would have the patience for that kind of nonsense?” Well, as it turns out, I do.

I have always loved the look of hexies, and can remember a Smitten quilt hanging in one of my favorite shops in Calgary. I loved the details, the itsy bitsy stitches, and how beautifully it came together. It was the last thing on my list of “I should try…”. Until it wasn’t. I picked up the pattern and clear plastic templates shortly before leaving Calgary, because where the heck would I find those in the Maritimes? Good call, because I still haven’t found any here.

So, for over a year, they sit on a shelf in the sewing room, until an Instagram post of someone’s Smitten quilt catches my eye and a little voice in my head yells, “Go for it!”. So, I go for it. Hubby and I were taking the kids camping, so I wouldn’t be able to take a machine anyway. What perfect timing. He takes credit mercilessly. 🙂

It turns out, hand sewing, and EPP in particular, are incredibly relaxing and calming for the mind. Which, when you suffer from PPD and PTSD like I do, is a Godsend.

It’s perfectly blissful work, and I’m loving getting to cut up some of my favorites in my stash. I have every reason to believe that this will be an absolutely hideous quilt to the eye, as the mix of patterns, prints, and colours are going to be an assault on the senses. But I’m not letting that get to me. I started in May, and figure I’m about 85% of the way with my blocks. And since I’m putting so much time into this quilt, I may as well go big or go home and am planning to quilt it by hand as well. Yes, I know. Right? I swore I would never. Could never. But I’m going to. And I’m going to use the most obnoxious boldly coloured threads I can find.

Here are some pics of my progress so far. Your retinas have been warned. 🙂

Patchwork Swoon, Done.

Follow me on Instagram @charlamacphee

As part of #swoonalong2017, I finished the top for this Patchwork Swoon quilt relatively quickly, but didn’t get it quilted and bound for ages. It’s finally done. I backed it with some fuzzy flannel as requested by Little #2. Little #3 quickly stole it to use in a fort, but once she’s gone to bed, 2 has said she’s stealing it back because it’s ‘so cozy’.

The pattern is a variation of @ThimbleBlossoms  http://thimbleblossoms.bigcartel.com/product/patchwork-swoon-pattern-200-paper-pattern original Swoon quilt, and comes together beautifully. It’s perfect for jelly rolls, and since I had found a long lost Scrumptious jelly roll hiding in the shelves at my LQS, the timing was just right.

Swoon, one is finished. :)

My Instagram @charlamacphee

Swoon patterns, Bonnie and Camille fabrics, the two go hand in hand like that perfectly sweet couple who have been in love since they first set eyes on each other. Over the last couple of years, the original Swoon pattern has been tweaked by Camille Rosekelley to include a mini pattern, a patch work pattern, and a Swoon 16 pattern. FYI, they’re all gorgeous and look so beautiful using any of the fabrics from the countless B&C fabric lines.

My love for Instagram is no secret (hello inspiration) and the #swoonalong was the push I needed to complete not one,( well, okay, I’ve only actually completed one so far) but two of the Swoon patterns. I managed to finish the original (that I started last year -whoops) and get the top done of the Patchwork version. Love them. They come together in such a beautiful way, and if  you haven’t done one, I highly recommend it. They are a classic.

 

IMG_8037IMG_0583basting2IMG_0751IMG_0771IMG_0803IMG_0807

I Heart You Mini – A Free Pattern

My Instagram @charlamacphee

Instagram strikes again. Cluck Cluck Sew is a great, and I mean GREAT sewing blog. (You can find it here ( https://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiOxKayjf7RAhWm3oMKHVDGBl0QFggcMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fcluckclucksew.com%2F&usg=AFQjCNE88-dPIIJdjJY9Ql3RGvXN70mJEg&sig2=wPMlDBLnCoPJFn-89Ca2lg )   There’s a plethora of information, tips, patterns, knowledge, and encouragement. Best of all, inspiration. I’ve used a version of this free heart pattern and made my heart quilt. The hearts are really cute, and come together quickly. That’s a must for this busy mama.

Here is a link to the pattern ( http://cluckclucksew.com/2016/01/i-heart-you-free-mini-quilt-pattern.html ). For my fabrics, I stuck pretty close to the norm and used a few Bonnie and Camille pieces I had. I quilted it with simple straight lines and left a heart shape in the upper right hand corner in-quilted as I have seen done with this. It’s cute, easy, and adds a fun simple element. Plus, my helper enjoyed tracing a fridge magnet to get the shape and then using my Fons & Porter 1/4 inch rulers to draw on the straight lines for me.

To see lots of different versions of this super cute mini, search out #iheartyoumini on Instagram. 🙂

heart1heart2heart3heart4

Patchwork Swoon, Part 1

My Instagram handle @charlamacphee

It’s no secret that I adore Instagram. Endless inspiration comes from every angle there. As it turns out, so does a swift kick to the arse to get me sewing. There are several sew alongs that I would love to participate in. What’s a sew along? On Instagram, it’s where who ever would like to, commits to completing a project and updating their progress with  photos using the same hashtag as others who are committed to the same sew along.

One of the ones I joined this year is #swoonalong . Swoon is a quilt pattern designed by Camille Rosekelley of Bonnie & Camille. Currently, there are four versions of the pattern. The original, mini, 16, and patchwork. I had started an original Swoon last year, but only ever finished three blocks. The blocks are big, and at the time I was sewing on my dining room table and packing it up each time we had a meal was getting frustrating. Eventually, it was placed in a bin for ‘later’. The #swoonalong was great for getting me back at it. It is so helpful and inspiring to scroll through all the gorgeous blocks, colour combinations, and works of everyone taking part. Kind of like how Show and Tell at a guild meeting puts you in the mood to sew, so can a sew along.

When I signed up, I had no intention of doing a Patchwork version, but after seeing all the photos of how beautiful they turn out, and having a jelly roll of Scrumptious on hand, I started and was finished the top in just a few days.

Here’s some photos of the process.

patchwork1-copypatchwork2-copypatchwork3-copypatchwork4-copypatchwork5-copypatchwork6-copypatchwork7-copypatchwork8-copypatchwork9-copy

 

That’s a Wrap.

Christmas and quilts. I love ’em both. I am lucky enough to be an aunt to the most amazing nieces and nephews a gal could hope for. My goal is to gift each of them a quilt over the next 2 or 3 years. I managed to get one done this year, and hope that with this goal in mind early, I can do 2 or 3 more for next year.

This year’s is another Missouri Star Quilt Company pattern, called All Wrapped Up, which I found in an issue of their Block magazine (which I highly recommend as each issue is packed full of great patterns). I used some Christmas-y fat quarter bundles I had picked up from various places over the past year, and some solids for sashing I had stocked up on in Calgary before leaving.

This quilt comes together quickly, and works really well for showcasing the fabrics we all fall in love with. I kept the actual quilting pretty simple, thanks to a tight time frame, but it works. In total, I have three All Wrapped Up quilt tops made, one completed and gifted, and two for my own little family that I’ll finish and keep for two of my own girls.

img_9747img_9748img_9808img_9821img_9829img_9831img_9844img_9955