Monday, April 29, 2013

May Project - A Scrappy Tree Quilt!

I love trees. Trees represent life, breath, strength, family and comfort. Six years ago, I discovered my grandma's free motion foot and started to "draw" trees on fabric. Here are a few samples...


(THIS IS NOT what we are doing :) Just sharing :)

                              I have also experimented with adding fabric to my tree designs. 


(THIS IS NOT what we are doing either- unless you want to??? - I used a disappearing fabric pen and drew directly onto the fabric, then stitched over the lines using my free motion foot)

As a child I remember climbing trees and resting in their branches. My brothers and I would spend hours playing in our special apple tree, our airplane!  

I have stood at the base of the mighty Sequoia trees in California. I have roamed through redwood forests of Western Canada and delighted in the art work of Emily Carr and the Group of Seven. Our back yard is full of trees; ceder, hemlock, maple, apple, pear, cherry and willow (to name a few). I have planted a tree in memory of each of my grandparents. 

View of our yard from kitchen window.
The pond behind our house.

This winter, I entered a local quilt block challenge to celebrate the 160th Fall Fair in Wellesley. We were given the fabric to work with and could choose any pattern we wanted. I designed and created this...

... and it got me thinking...and searching online for other tree blocks. I want us to create a tree quilt like THIS (click on the word "this" to view the quilt!) for our May quilt project!!! WHAT I LIKE the MOST about this sample quilt is that each block is DIFFERENT and that  ONLY SOME of the trees are typical green :)

Be creative! Let loose! Explore! 


Choose ONE type of tree block to create. 
Choose PLAIN white OR off white for the background.
Make TRUNKS BROWN. "Leaves" your choice (LIMIT the pinks and purple though!)
Block Size - 15.5 inches


* Another quilting group has done a similar challenge and you can find GREAT LINKS to tree tutorials here

* Look closely at the sample I linked and notice how most of the blocks combine some type of traditional quilting patterns with a twist - a wonky log cabin tree (bottom 2nd from the left), a tree with squares (top 2nd from left), a triangle tree stripped pieced similar to the spider web blocks (top left), strip pieced together and cut into a circle (bottom 3rd from left), flying geese, raw edge hexagons. 

* I like the different sizes of trees in this block

* if you find that your finished block is too small...add a strip of your background fabric :)

* Here is a tutorial for making a tree using fusible webbing. 

* love

* love this too :)

* I do not use fusible webbing. Instead, I use a glue stick and an erasable fabric pen (or chalk). This is how I make my fabric trees. 

                                             Here is a photo of my "leaves" up close. 

I am really excited to see what you come up with. Please email me with any questions you might have. Keep looking at THIS sample quilt  for ideas and inspiration! Let your creativity run wild. I hope you enjoy this project. Thanks in advance! Shauna :)

A tree made of stones - Oregon Coast

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Blocks for Meg and Amy .... better late than never?
I have had my blocks for Amy finished for quite sometime but I am just now getting around to posting a photo. I loved working with all the different colours of fabric for this block and really enjoyed the freedom of strip piecing. Special thanks to Katy for helping me get started and sharing her stash with me!

And now presenting, Meg's Ocean Waves blocks. I enjoyed learning how to do HST's. I think the finial project will look stunning. I feel that I have learned so much about precision piecing and how to pay special attention to how I iron my seams in order to aid matching up points. Notice the blue owl printed fabric in both Meg and Amy's blocks? A favourite fabric of mine that just keeps finding its place in different blocks! 

Looking forward to seeing both of these quilts put together. Thank you Amy and Meg! Shauna :)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Meg's blocks...a little late

So sorry for the delay in making and sending these blocks, Meg!! I have been a bit swamped this month with other deepest apologies. After I got into the swing of things, I realised how much I enjoy the HST and this design. I love the layout and can't wait to see the full quilt top... Amy and I got together to split up the blues in our stashes for this project, so her blocks are similar fabrics to mine, but different layouts...
Made with love,

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Charity Quilt 2012

Hello Everyone! I have been so excited to share this quilt with you. I am absolutely thrilled with our collaborative work. I know this quilt is going to make someone out there in the big wide world very happy. 

The back looks as lovely as the front:

 The whole thing:

A classic New Mexico shot:

A very big thank you to Linda Lyle who did the quilting for us. She gave me a demo on her long arm quilting machine. She says it is very easy and fun! She has a whole converted garage and a bedroom to use as sewing spaces.

She was currently working on a half square triangle charity quilt for the local guild. She went through all of their scraps and picked out reds, pinks, and whites to use for this one.
Linda also recommended this book: Machine Quilting Solutions by C. Maraccini

Thanks once again to everyone for the work and beautiful contributions to our 2012 charity quilt project!!

Just a reminder about the 2013 Charity Quilt. 

This is the focus fabric:

The quilt will be for either a little girl or boy. You can send me two 12.5" (unfinished) blocks anytime between now and December. I got a start on some blocks while in New Mexico:

All of these blocks I found once again on this site:
As you can see I just cut and sewed doubles of everything. Feel free to do the same.

And finally, while in New Mexico I raided my mother's stash and made Katy's blocks. It was so fun to dig through all of her fabrics and find this selection.  (Katy, you asked in Bee Buzz about fabric storage...she has them stored and labeled in small tubs by color family.) Of course she was interested in what I chose and had stories to tell about their past uses. She was quite proud that she could contribute to our group project!

Continued happy quilting everyone!
Love, Jennifer

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Meg's blocks for Katy

Hi everybody -- First of all, thank you all so much for the 'Ocean Waves' blocks.  The quilt will be so beautiful; I can hardly wait to see it all together!  Some hardy souls sent the full four sub-blocks in and others did a wonderful job with two sub-blocks.  Almost everyone sent in extra HSTs or extra squares and I so appreciate that -- the border is full of them and I hadn't really thought this through but it's so great to have the fabrics in the body of the quilt also in the border.

Today was gray, cold and rainy in Canada -- perfect day to tackle Katy's block.  I have to say that I think this was my favorite project of all and so here's my recap of the experience.  (Bad news is, I can't find my camera.  I put it in a 'special' place -- so I could take more photos of the dog -- and apparently it's so special that I can't find it at all.  Ugh.  If we don't have a Bee Buzz question of the month, maybe this could be it:  What have you hidden that you didn't find until years later?)

So....I went through my stash and carefully chose a beautiful balance of fabrics that hit all of the values and matched each other.  BUT.  I have a value finder, courtesy of Kathy Doughty at Material Obsession in Sydney.  For those of you who haven't seen one of these, it's a very simple-looking square of dark red plastic.  If you look at fabric through it, it removes the color and leaves you with a value reading only.  Every time I look through it, I'm amazed at how my brain reads value incorrectly.  "Bright" equals "dark/medium" in my mind and in fact, there are many very bright colours -- like hot pink -- that appear rather saturated to the naked eye, but will actually show up in your quilt as a very "light" piece.  Anyway, after using the value finder, I re-sorted a few of my squares, then set about sewing.

I don't want to toot my own horn too much (especially with the mysterious absence of any pics!), but I am BEYOND happy with the results.  I'm normally a 'matcher'.  I find I just cannot tear myself away from Kaffe Fassett, because everything matches so darned well.  But for this project, I stopped thinking so hard and just pulled squares from the value piles.  I got some great combinations -- fabrics I wouldn't have thought to put together.

Katy, I'm sending 16 small blocks.  I will sort them into two baggies -- the first 12 blocks have 'naked eye' value differences.  The other 4 blocks look absolutely stellar through the value finder, but to my eye look like two mediums sewn together.  Will be interesting to see if the 4 extras end up being unusable or having that wow factor.  I also have called a couple of shops here, looking for a value finder to send you.  The women I talked to know exactly what it is, but I haven't actually found one.  I'll keep looking, but for everyone -- if you see one, it's worth the $3 or so to buy it.

Sorry for the extra long post, but I really did enjoy this month's "work":)  xo Meg

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Linsay's blocks for Katy and tales from Scotland.

Like Anthea I feel that I haven't done enough.  I chose fabrics that I like and I think that they have turned out well but they don't look their best in the photograph.  I tried to take the photo outside because the sun has come out, at last.  There is a very slight breeze and the squares just kept leaping about the garden so I gave up on that idea.  I think you are going to have great fun making your value quilt.

I have just come back from Scotland where I was helping my brother, Innes, look after his kids who are 3, 5 and 7.  My other brother, Murray, was there too.  Murr had flown in from Perth, Australia the day before.  It was the first time that the three of us have been together since 2006.  We are close but geography keeps us apart.  Innes had a project which involved digging a big drainage ditch in the garden so the boys got on with that.  My girls and I were in charge of taking the kids to swimming lessons, cups of tea (extremely important in Scotland) and food.  We had a very happy week together.  When my brothers were young Murr had brown, curly hair and Innes had straight, fair hair but now that they are both bald they look identical.  My husband can't tell them apart.  You can see for yourself in this photo.
The workers taking a break with an essential cup of tea.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Anthea's HSTs for Katy's value quilt

Golly, I can't help feeling that I haven't done enough for you Katy. I have read and re-read your directions several times and think that I have done all you require, but please check in case I have completely gone off on the wrong track.

Sorting my favourite fabrics into value piles was fun, I certainly learnt something about what I've been collecting all this time.  The trickiest part was narrowing down which fabrics to use.  So given your very generous suggestion to select fabrics that speak to you, and then my challenge to match them with something that works, I have ended up with the above lot.

I know that you didn't ask for a colour spectrum Katy, but I feel that something is missing from my HSTs.  Perhaps I would be seeking out purples and stone/taupes if I did another HST for you.

One of my favourite low value fabrics is those little yellowish trees and I hope you can tolerate the high value I matched it with.  I am also worried that the paisley red is to orange-red for your liking Katy, but my love of paisley kept it in the "yes" pile.

I gave myself a problem trying to choose a low value fabric to make the medium value green retro floral number sing.  In the end Miss 8 walked past and instantly and boldly nominated the high value dots. Such confidence. And just like that, what was medium value on its own became low value when grouped.

Looking forwards to seeing your end result,

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Meg's waves

I, too, only had time to do squares. I cut the rest, so hopefully it'll be easy for you, Meg! Precision is soooo not my cup of tea, so part of me thinks she would do a better job anyway!! I do love how fresh and sharp the contrast between the blues and whites is. Very pretty!

Regarding my quilt, I've received all of my far flung squares, only waiting on the local peeps. No rush, ladies! I'm doing my first proper craft show in two weeks, so I'm madly sewing for that. If you're curious, here is a link to my website and the items I'm making for the show:

I'm hoping May will be the month to put together my spider quilt, just in time for Spring! Ours is slow coming this year...

Hope you ladies are all doing well!
xx Amy

Monday, April 1, 2013

Making Waves

Not a great shot; this was pieced and photographed last week amidst the mad rush to finish packing up our lives and move from our little two-bedroom condo to our new home.  Hence the fact that I only made two quadrants for Meg, and didn't take the time to pick off the threads before snapping a pic on the design wall!  The blues came mainly from my scrap basket and even include a few vintage scraps from my Grandma's scrap bag.

This is one of those quilts I will definitely wish was coming to live at my house!  Meg, it is going to be just beautiful...

Looking forward to making more scrappy HSTs for April!


Chris' Ocean Waves

Thanks for a great challenge Meg. I feel I've been busy honing my precision piecing skills and I'm happy with how these blocks turned out. You are going to have a fabulous quilt :)