Monday, May 26, 2014

Amalfi Coast Happy Village

Happy Villages by Karen Eckmeier
In March, I took a workshop to create a Happy Village, based on Karen Eckmeier's book, Happy Villages. The course was taught by Jan Kittle, the owner of The PickleDish quilt store in Carleton Place ON.

I completed a large part of the wall hanging that weekend, but like most things, it took me a while to finish the entire project. Well, it's done!

I chose the Italian Amalfi Coast because I fell in love with it when we visited. The views were spectacular and we had the best lunch ever! Anyone who knows me, realizes that travelling is about the food (and the people, the views, the wine and when ever possible, the fabric!)

Amalfi Coast Postcard
Amalfi Coast Postcard
Here's a picture of the postcard that the wall hanging is loosely based on.

The project calls for adding mesh on top of the piece and then sewing over it. This stops the fabric from fraying. I chose not to do that since the mesh really tones down the colours, no matter what colour mesh is used. Since I'm all about colour, I just couldn't do it.
Final Amalfi Coast Happy Village Project
Final Amalfi Coast Happy Village Project

Here's the final project.  It was a lot of fun and I hope to make another when ever I get inspired!
















What I learned:
  • It may have been finicky, but it was a lot of fun.
  • I didn't follow the book's instructions (what else is new!) because I couldn't "see" the houses when I lay the blocks down as directed. So I started working in the left corner adding structures, steps, doors and windows. That worked best for me.
  • I enjoyed the free motion quilting - it's far from accurate, but it goes with the rest of the whimsical project. Besides, from far, you can't tell (and if you can see it, you're standing way to close!) 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Colourful Learning Project

Although I haven't quilted much in the last few weeks, I did get a couple of projects finished. That's always a great feeling. Here's the first one.

I started my Beginner's Quilt-Along Quilt with the Quilting Gallery almost 2 years ago, in June 2012! I've been blogging about this project for a while now, in all of its various stages. That's what's so great about a blog; I have a record of what I did and when I did it! That is so much more reliable than my excuse for a memory. In June of 2012, I made the first 4 blocks and another 2 in July. By the end of August I had 11 of the 13 blocks completed. I was more or less up to date, until we had one week to put the quilt together and another to quilt it. That totally did me in.

Finished Beginner's Quilt-Along Quilt
Finished Beginner's Quilt-Along Quilt
I sort of left the project aside for a while. I'm not sure when I put in the sashing but I do remember adding the piano key border at a CTQG retreat in Cumberland. At some point before March 2014, the quilt was sandwiched and ready to quilt. I do know that I was waiting to learn to free motion quilt (FMQ) so that I could use it as a practice piece. At the beginning of March 2014, I had started to FMQ it using Angela Walter's Dot-to-Dot quilting technique from Craftsy. At the time of the blog, I had 5 squares quilted and 3 others marked.

FMQ on the border and sashing
FMQ on the border and sashing
In March, I joined a 30/30 challenge, where I tried to quilt for 30 minutes each day, for 30 days. I worked on the Beginner's Quilt-Along project during the first week and finished FMQ all of the blocks and sashing. It was a very hectic month with overly ambitious goals, but I sure got a lot accomplished! By the end of the month, I only had the piano key border to finish and the binding to attach. Of course, it didn't help that I couldn't find any more of my sashing fabric to use for the binding!

Since I didn't blog about it, I'm not sure when I finished the quilt. I have a vague recollection of having it done by Easter weekend. Once it was finished, I ordered some Breezy Color Absorber, because I was afraid that the red block would bleed. I had washed the red fabrics several times and even soaked them in salt, but when I rubbed off the marking pencil, some of the red still came off my wet towel. The Breezy worked like a charm and the quilt came out really lovely.

After all of that work, I still needed to create a label for the quilt. It's very pretty, even if it doesn't really look like a sunset.
Foundation Paper Pieced Label
Foundation Paper Pieced Label

Here are close-ups of some of the quilting on the blocks, sashing and piano key border.






What I learned:

  • This was a great project and my first Quilt-Along. I learned a great deal throughout the whole project, from planning and making the blocks to quilting them. 
  • The project was perfect for practicing my FMQ. I was able to use many variations of the patterns I learned in the Craftsy course.
  • For the FMQ, I used a different thread for the top of the quilt, so that it would blend or match each coloured block. In the bobbin, I used very light Bottom Line polyester thread that matched the back. The thread goes a long way; I didn't have to change the bobbin thread every time I changed colours; and the thread really works well in my machine. It was a real charm.
  • The one planning error I did was not putting aside fabric for the finding. I was able to find matching fabric, but I do hope that the next time I make a quilt top, that I'll set aside some fabric in a marked baggy, with the project so that I won't end up using the binding fabric in another project. And, if I don't have the binding fabric, then I should write myself a note in the pattern to say that I need to find fabric for the binding (that might save me an hour or so frantically going through my stash looking for fabric that isn't there!). Here's hoping I'll put this recommendation into action!
  • So what do you do with a practice quilt that is by all standards far from perfect but made with love? You find it a good home where it will be appreciated, flaws and all. Thanks Diane!


Enjoy the rest of spring, or the beginning of summer wherever you are!
Happy quilting.















Friday, May 09, 2014

Invitation to the CTQG Quilt Show this Weekend

This weekend is the Common Thread Quilt Guild's quilt show. It is held every second year at the RA Centre's curling link in Ottawa. The RA Centre is located at 2451 Riverside Drive. I hope you'll have a chance to attend if you're in the area.

Patches
Patches
This year I will be exhibiting 3 wall hangings in the "pieced wall hangings" category. You may recognize these from previous blogs. "Patches" will be there of course!

Holiday Wreath
Holiday Wreath












I will also have my holiday wreath as well as Lilliane's favourite - Winter Vacancy.
Winter Vacancy
Winter Vacancy

Since the quilts were already completed this winter, this is the first year that preparing for the quilt show was almost painless. I did have to make and attach a sleeve to the back of each quilt since my hanging technique of choice is pinning them to the wall (you can even see the pins in the photos!) I completed Patches' hanging sleeve almost a month ago, but that's as far as I got. Of course, the night the quilts were due, I was busily stitching the last sleeve... so for me, that was pretty darn organised!

I am really looking forward to going to the show. There are always so many amazing quilts. Since I'm working on security Saturday afternoon, I'll be able to spend some quality time looking at quilts before and after my shift. I love looking at quilts, appreciating the work and getting ideas for my own creations. Now that I am free motion quilting, it's even more fun to look at the quilts since I finally understand how they are quilting it!

What I learned:

  • Even if you do part of the work ahead of time, it's not finished until the last one is done!

Hope to see you at the show and Happy Mother's Day!