My first gifted Quilt

I finished a quilt! This is my third quilt I've ever finished and the fastest by far. My two previous quilts, I would work on in spurts over literally YEARS. But this one I finished in just over a month from receiving the fabric. I'm so happy that I've finally got a space set up to do my sewing in and also my new sewing machine is helping too :)

So, I decided to make a baby quilt as a gift for a friend of mine that just had her baby (a couple weeks early!). She had a baby boy but her nursery was going to be fairly neutral so I found this Fat Quarter Bundle of the blues/greys from April Rhodes Observer line with Art Galley Fabric.

I bought the small Half Hexagon Template from Missouri Star Company and used that to cut out all the hexagons for the quilt top. I actually ended up getting my first (and hopefully only!) quilting injury while cutting these hexagons - I had to get three stitches  in my ring finger :(

Also, for the back I did my first ever "improv quilting" and just used some of the scraps from the quilt top - it was really fun!

Lessons Learned - these are probably obvious to everyone but since I'm self-taught these are things I'm learning along the way!
- the backing fabric needs to be larger than the top - give yourself extra room!
- tape the backing fabric down when basting! This will prevent bunched up fabric
- trim up the binding so its perfectly even
- when quilting, start in the middle and work your way out



So, I think I'm going to start a crazy project! I recently found out that there is a sew-a-long happening of Tula Pink's City Sampler from her book 100 Modern Quilt Blocks. Angie over at Gnome Angel is hosting this on Instagram and hosted it last year as well. I was looking through the hashtag and it looked like everyone had so much fun last year and that it was intense but really great!

I've been kind of regretting not joining in on the #the100dayproject but I couldn't think of anything I could do for 100 days. But this would be basically spelled out for me - they do one block every single day, working their way though the book in order. I can be creative in terms of colours and what fabrics I choose but I will know what I'm supposed to do each day. And also there will be others doing it with me! I think I'm going to try. I've never attempted a project like this before so I'm a bit nervous but also excited. I bought the book on Amazon last night.

I also hope to learn alot of new techniques, get comfortable at making decisions a little more quickly (I expect this to be a struggle at the beginning), and hopefully get to know some other quilters that are participating as well! I've been thinking about how beneficial it would be to get into the habit of daily creating, and shaking some of my routines and habits that I already do daily (ie scrolling endlessly on my phone), and doing something that will make me happy as a priority.

It starts very soon - May 7th and I've already begun prepping for it. I'm still fairly beginner and it takes me quite a while to choose and cut fabrics and then sewing and ironing too! So I've selected and cut the fabrics for the first 20 or so blocks and I've even started creating the first few blocks so I have a bit of a cushion. I still want to try to have the experience of sewing daily. But I know that if I try to do everything all in one day, I would quit pretty quickly. I still have to post a picture of a block every day on Instagram. So there's alot to do! But I'm looking forward to it. I just can't decide if I should create a new Instagram account for this project or put it all on my original accunt...


Tip: Cheapest Design Wall

Watching videos on Youtube about quilting, you really get a sense of how other people do things, and what can make your life easier that you may have never even thought of before. For me, that is a design wall. If you're not familiar, a design wall is a large piece of flannel that you hang onto your wall or staple to a large piece of foam board, that you can stick your fabric onto while you're piecing a quilt. Because it is flannel, the fabric will "stick" to it and not fall off and you can easily move it around and design your quilt. Its alot easier than doing it on the floor and gives you a better sense of what the final product is going to look like.

Anyway, I went searching for an official design wall. Fons & Porter sells one that has lines printed on it, which could be useful, but I probably wouldn't actually use them that much. However, on Amazon.ca its $30 (I think it was even more when I originally searched it); and in Fabricland it was something outrageous like $60. (Don't get me started on how overpriced notions are at Fabricland, its absurd). I could have purchased a large piece of flannel, but probably would have had to piece together smaller pieces to make it big enough and it could have been quite expensive still.

Well, I came up with a better idea! I ended up deciding to buy a flannel-backed tablecloth! I got one from Amazon - 52" by 90"  - so its huge! And it was only $11. It came all folded up so it has some crease marks in it, but those will eventually drop out, I'm sure. And it works like a charm! I just used some pins to attach it to the wall and have been planning my projects and "storing" blocks that are in the works. I love it! Highly recommend.

Here's another picture of it folded in half - makes it look a little cleaner, but I do like having the space of the full wall. 

And a sneak peek of my Christmas quilt that I"m slowly working on!


Weekly Wrapup

This past weekend I actually worked on a few different crafty projects so I figured I should share them here! Because that's why I have this blog, right?

1. To begin with, on Friday, there was a Fabric Sale held at a local church, put on by a group called the Ujaama Grandma's (No idea what the name means!). There was rooms and rooms of fabric that people had brought in and donated, and all proceeds were going to charity. Wow, I spent about an hour going through the quilting fabrics room in detail, and then a quick peruse in the notions and yarns, general fabrics, and books; and walked away with a massive bag full of things. I got mostly an assortment of scraps that I'm going to be using for a project I'll talk about next, as well as some fabric for a potential Wiksten Tank I'd like to try making, and a couple books and some batting. It was quite successful and nice to know that all that money goes to help Grandmothers in Africa.

2. So on Saturday, I went through all those scraps and organized them by colour. There was a lot of browns and neutrals which is not a colour I can see myself using that much.. so we'll have to see if I end up using much of it or if I end up giving it away. I've got each colour in ziplock bags at the moment but I'd like to get some sort of organizer to store all my sewing stuff in. I just don't want it to be too big, because I don't need an excuse to get too much stuff!

3. So I've decided I'm going to take part in the #100days100blocks2017 challenge! I was debating on it for quite a while, mostly because I didn't want to have to spend alot of money on all that fabric. I was looking at different colour schemes and thought it would look very cool in a limited colour scheme, but knew I would have to buy a lot of fabric for that, and it would be hard not to get bored of that kind of colour scheme for 100 blocks. So with the fabric sale, I ended up deciding to just go with the rainbow theme like on the front cover of Tula Pink's book. I think it will be easier. I've never tried a daily challenge of anything before, so I'm a bit nervous on how hard I'm going to find it. What I've decided to do is to try to plan out the blocks and do my cutting beforehand. That way, I can just sew up the blocks and share it on each day (which will be hard enough!). So I've prepped the first five blocks. I think that is the most time consuming part actually - picking the fabrics and colours, etc. But I think if I can keep on top of that and prep most of the blocks before the challenge even starts (on May 7), then I at least have a fighting chance of keeping up with this challenge. So watch out for lots more posts on that project coming up.

4. And finally I did a little home project! We have these curtains in our bedroom that are nice and dark and allow us to sleep in on the weekends! I actually just brought them from my old house, but they're originally from IKEA. Anyway, in our bedroom they were far too long and looked really sloppy all over the floor, plus they would cover our heat vent. So I decided to cut off about 20 inches from the end of them and it looks so much better. I've ordered some grey thread so once that comes in, I will try hemming them (I've never hemmed anything before!), which will look even better. But it already helps our bedroom look tidier so I'm really glad I finally got around to doing that.


Modern 9 Patch Mashup Quiltalong!

I have never taken any sort of training to learn how to quilt. I've read blogs and that's about it! I hadn't  even (until recently) looked at quilting books. Why? I'm not sure... I like to be independent and learn things on my own for some reason. But after making a few quilts and running into similar problems with my accuracy, I figured it was about time to get some sort of help. I found Melanie Ham on YouTube, where she does videos on quilting, sewing, and crochet projects. She was running a Quiltalong (called the Modern 9 Patch Mashup QAL) that was for beginners and more advanced quilters and the blocks included some techniques that are basic but that I just haven't really tried before. So I decided it would be a good opportunity to learn some things that will help me out, before I develop bad habits.

The course is an online video based course that is distributed in chunks every other week. The first lesson (of about five videos) was about selecting your fabrics and colour theory. I found an image that I used for my inspiration. This is just a picture I had pinned years ago because I like the colour palette of purple, teal, neutrals, and a pop of orange. Then I selected my fabric.

The next week's lesson was our first block - the Half Square Triangle block. She included tips on prepping, cutting and measuring fabric that were a bit eye-opening to me and already have made the class worth it to me. And over the long weekend I created all three HST blocks that we're supposed to make! I'm loving and I'm having a ton of fun working on this project.

But now I have to wait another week and a half before the next prompt! I'm itching for the next project already... and I may have found one but its a big commitment... I'll talk about it more in a future post but here's a hint - #100days100blocks2017


My Creative Journey

 I wanted to give a little history of where I've been the past few years. One of the reasons I restarted this blog was because I feel like I've recently found a bit of my creative "mojo" again after not doing much creative work for the past several years. So I was reflecting on my creative journey over the years..

Back when I was in college and writing this blog, I was constantly creating things - knitting, sewing, crafty goodness. I had always been a crafty kid growing up too. In college, I was reading other people's blogs back then, but I often found it inspiring in a way that actually allowed me to still create the things I thought of creating.

 After I graduated college, and got my first real job, I had more limited use of my time and resources while I paid off debt and worked hard. I also started making real money for the first time and found that I really liked going out to events, concerts, and hanging out with friends. I spent much less time at home in my mid-twenties doing the things that I always loved to do - reading and crafting. Then I discovered the brilliance of Netflix and Youtube.

 I went through phases of my Youtube addiction - starting with beauty vloggers. I learned how to apply makeup and how to spend my income at Sephora. I enjoyed it but eventually grew somewhat bored. I found other Youtubers to follow - so many in fact that I would spend on average 1-3 hours daily catching up on all my favorite youtuber's videos. Its embarrassing to admit that it was that amount of time but it definitely was. I watch videos about makeup, books, lifestyle, and random people's lives ie daily vloggers. I loved seeing other people living a creative life and following their dream. But I didn't realize that I was stifling my own desires to live a creative life while doing this.

Then about a year ago, while my hours were cut at work due to an economic downturn, I found myself with lots of free time, but not the financial stability to go out and spend money as much - I was also in a serious relationship which comes with its own reasons to spend a little less time going out. So I began to spend more time at home, mostly focusing on rekindling my love for reading. After watching so many Youtubers I had thought many times of starting my own channel, and so I finally did - a channel about reading and books. I had always planned on creating videos about other things, but other than a couple travel vlogs, I didn't really end up doing that. And, predictably, I lost interest and motivation after about 10 months in making videos about books. I liked reading but I wasn't passionate about it, especially not about talking about it.

Back in September, I discovered the Calgary Modern Quilt Guild and have been going most months since. I found it so inspiring and exciting to meet women who had similar interests as me and to be able to interact in real life was so nice. It really inspired me to spend more time creating and working on the crafty things I always enjoy doing when I devote time to them! And increasingly since then, I've been realizing how much happier I am when I spend time being creative and making things, than when I'm sitting idly consuming content.

Not all that surprising but something I continue to struggle with in terms of how I spend my time! I'm really trying to get back into the habit of creating rather than consuming in my free time, and I want to document what I'm working on here. Future posts will have some pictures, I promise! :)


6 Years Later...

So after six years (a week short of exactly six years!), I'm deciding to bring this little blog of mine! Not that I expect anyone to still be following this, especially with the death of Google Reader (remember that?!)

I could have easily started a new blog for my comeback, but I was recently looking back at my old posts and I didn't think it was so bad actually! I had written 200 posts which was over 4 years. I had made this blog private because I was embarrassed about it, but now I'm not as embarrassed and decided to keep the same old blog. I know I'm going to wish I hadn't ever stopped.

I'm not planning on this blog to have any schedule or regularity of posts at this time, but I will just post when I feel like it, with no guilt associated. But I'm hoping to go back to my creative roots and use this as a place to share my creative projects and thoughts I want to put out into the world. But mostly I'd like to have an archive of my projects. I'm currently very much into quilting right now. I'm just really excited that I think after many years, I've finally found my creative mojo again.