Folding Trays in Stitch Fall 2015

It’s been a while since I’ve published a pattern in a magazine. But now that Stitch Fall 2015 is out, I can let you know about my latest one. It’s a pattern for a set of 3 folding trays. The fall issue is filled with great projects, and I’m happy to have this fun and quick project part of them. You can you can preview the other projects in the issue here.

Folding Trays, Stitch Fall 2015. Photo by JackDeutsch.com

Folding Trays, Stitch Fall 2015. Photo by JackDeutsch.com

I initially proposed my project for the Eastern Influences theme. The Stitch team decided to include it in the Simple Lines section, which I think is also a great fit. I love the simplicity and functionality that characterize Japanese designs. This is what I tried to achieve with these trays. Their design was a also inspired by the Japanese art of paper folding: origami. The main feature of the trays is the use of buttons and string to hold their shape. It makes it easy to unfold and carry them with you in your luggage.

Folding Trays

I proposed a set of 3 trays with two smaller square boxes and a longer one. This way the trays can be disposed in a square layout.

Folding Trays

For the trays published in the magazine, I used the Fletching Chant print from the Wild & Free collection by Maureen Cracknell for Art Gallery Fabrics for the lining. I combined it with different colors of Kona cottons for the exterior (Navy, Curry and Cayenne). Here are a few other versions I made for my-self.

Folding Trays

Folding Trays

I definitely plan to sew some more. These make great little gifts. The longer one is great to put on a desk for storing pens and pencils. The smaller ones could be great for keys or pocket change.

Expanding my favorite jeans life

Just a short post today. I had a pair of jeans that I just loved, it’s so comfortable and it’s a good fit for me. Unfortunately, it had a hole on one of the knees, so I wasn’t wearing them anymore. But, I couldn’t part with them. So, I decided to expand their life by cutting them to transform them in a pair of bermudas.

Expanding my favorite jean's life

I made my-self some bias tape using Oval Elements in from Art Gallery Fabrics that I sewn on the raw edges. I just love this print. Particularly in this color which I think is Eggplant. It a great mix of rich colors. I’m happy with the results, and have been wearing my jeans again quite a lot this summer.

Expanding my favorite jean's life

Enjoy the summer while it lasts!

Sewing Room Updates

In the past months, I have put a lot of efforts in making my sewing/laundry room more functional. I had shared my sewing room before. Since then, I tried different layouts and a lot of thinking went on optimizing my small space (13′ x 7′). I thought I would share it with you again. It might give you some ideas for you own sewing space.

The initial plan was to have some custom wall cabinets on the two longer walls of the room to have storage space that wouldn’t take floor space. But considering the money involved in making custom cabinets and the already long list of projects for our home, I decided to go for a cheaper and faster solution. I chose the Algot storage system from Ikea. With the help of my husband, we removed everything from the room, repainted all the walls and installed some shelves. Here is a view from both sides of the room.

Sewing Room Updates

Sewing Room Updates

On the smaller walls, I have a window on one side and a design wall on the other. I really appreciate the natural lighting coming through the window next to my sewing table (though it was a bit hard to take a good picture facing the window). And I love being able to stand at a distance from my design wall. For the one curious of what I currently have on my design wall, these are two quilt tops waiting to be quilted. The one on the left was made with friends from the Montreal and Ottawa MQG during an improv round robin. The workshop was lead by Cinzia which wrote a great post about it. The one on the right is a quilt top I designed and made for a modern quilt showcase that the Montreal MQG is organizing.

Back to my sewing space, I’ve put some shelves where is my sewing table. I used narrower shelves for the ones closer to the desk to avoid blocking the light and obstructing my working space. In the picture, you can also see my drying racks, which are in between my sewing table and washing machine. They do take some space in my room, but I couldn’t live without them. They are usually full of clothes or fabrics after pre-washing them, and sometimes WIP projects.

Sewing Room Updates

On the other long wall, I used a mixed of shelves and wire baskets installed high enough to still be able to stand beneath them. I use the baskets to store batting, polyester fill, interfacing, etc. On this wall, I also have a pegboard and a second design wall closer to my sewing machine which is useful when working on quilt blocks.

Sewing Room Updates

I have an ironing board and a kitchen island underneath this row of shelves. I bought the kitchen island at Target just before they closed down here in Canada. It’s great because it’s on wheel and it adds storage space. But, the main feature I was looking for was a cart with a drop-leaf table to extend my work surface when needed. This one was perfect. When it’s closed, I can use my small cutting mat (18″ x 24″) on it. And when opened, I can use my larger cutting mat (24″ x 36″), which makes it great to cut larger pieces of fabric.

Sewing Room Updates

Sewing Room Updates

I also bough a small used computer desk on wheel that fits under my large table. I can pull it out to extend my quilting surface or to setup my second sewing machine (or serger).

Sewing Room Updates

Or I can use it, to have a small ironing surface just next to my sewing machine.

Sewing Room Updates

My large sewing table where I can drop in my sewing machine to have it’s bed at the same height as the table is still the tool I appreciate the most in my sewing room. You can read more about it here. But, my favorite and latest addition is definitely my peg board. It’s great to have sewing tools close to me, but out of the way on my work table. I was waiting for my husband to make this for me to share my updated sewing space with you. He just spray painted a piece of peg board bought at Home Depot and added a small frame behind to create a gap between the wall and the pegboard and make it easy to install hangers on it.

Sewing Room Updates

I hope this will give you ideas for your own space. I also made changes to my virtual space. I moved my blog from Blogger to WordPress lately. This is actually the first post I write using WordPress. The migration went quite smoothly for me. I hope you didn’t notice much on your side and I hope and I didn’t loose any followers (particularly on Bloglovin) in the move! Just let me know if you see something is wrong. Thanks!

Random Windows Quilt

There is one quilt I’ve finished a long time ago that I didn’t share here yet. Why? Because I wanted to finish writing the pattern first. This will likely won’t be happening since I always find more motivating projects or deadlines. I finished it in the beginning of fall 2013. It took me almost all summer that year to quilt it (I did share some pictures of quilting in progress here). That fall, I went to my father’s place and took great pictures of my quilt with help from him and my sister. We had a great time taking pictures of it in different settings. These are the pictures I want to share with you today.

Random Windows Quilt

Why now? Since then, my quilt was part of the CQQ quilt show in 2014 and has been hanging in a local quilt store (Courtepointe Claire) for almost a year. But just recently, my friend Cinzia from Deux Petites Souris published a great article on minimalism in modern quilting in Modern Patchork Spring 2015. And she used a picture of my quilt with other great quilts as examples of minimalist designs. So, I thought it was a great occasion to share my quilt with you.

I spoke about the fabrics and quilting in the previous post.  So, let me tell you a few words about the quilt design. I had bought different fabrics from the same collection (Treetop Fancy collection by Tina Givens for Free Spirit). I wanted a way to feature the prints from different views. Just like looking through openings of different sizes. Through larger size windows, you see the actual print designs (flowers, butterflies, etc. that were fussy cut). Through smaller size windows, you just see the texture created by the pencil strokes in the prints.

Random Windows Quilt 

Also, I wanted the windows to look as they were randomly positioned in the negative space. I’ve positioned the patchwork as single squares, but also as four-patches and nine-patches for the smaller pieces.

Random Windows Quilt

On the back, I wanted a layout that would feature the left-overs from the front but also some large prints from the collection. Here is what I came up with.

Random Windows Quilt

I think I love it as much as the front. I might never finish writing the pattern for this quilt, but I think I’ll redo the same quilt with different fabrics. There is a lot of photos in this post. I hope you don’t mind. Me, my dad and sister were really having a great time doing the photo shoot together. The fall setting was perfect. Here are a few other ones, just for fun! I couldn’t make up my mind on which one to show.

Random Windows Quilt
Random Windows Quilt

Random Windows Quilt

Secondary Pinwheel Quilt

Sorry, for the lack of a more creative name for this quilt. I started it early last summer (you can read more about the top here). And I just finished it last week.

Secondary Pinwheel Quilt

It was set aside for a while. But, I was glad to take it out to put the final touch to it (quilting and binding). This quilt is part of a charity project of the Montreal MQG. All quilts made will be donated to a palliative care center in the region.

For the quilting, I decided to go with a large spiral. I marked the first loop of the spiral and I used a guide on my walking foot afterwards. I’m not a big fan of glue basting, but for this one I’m so happy I decided to use it. I’m not as comfortable quilting with my walking foot (compared to free motion quilting). So, the glue basting on this one really made the difference. Furthermore, I had no pins to remove as I was going. It really was a joy to quilt this.

Secondary Pinwheel Quilt

For the binding, I used a lighter gray then the background fabric which are Kona cottons by Robert Kaufman, respectively in Medium Gray and Coal. For the back, I used a print from an earlier collection by Violet Craft for Michael Miller Fabrics,  Peacock Lane.

Secondary Pinwheel Quilt

This really was a fun quilt to make. I hope it will bring some color in the life of a person facing serious health issue and of  his/her family.

Quilted Tote Bags

I’ve been quite busy in the past months and I’m starting to miss this space. I have a few projects that I finished recently and that I want to share. So, I’ll try to write more frequently. But first, I wanted to share some quilted tote bags I finished in February.

The first one I made was for a tote bag swap at the Montreal MQG.

Quilted Tote Bags
Again, I used fabrics from the Botanics collection by Carolyn Frielander. Because I love them! It was matching perfectly a large print I had in my stash and that I used for the lining.
Quilted Tote Bags
For the quilting, I used a serpentine stitch (see tutorial I used for programming the stitch). Here is a close-up.
Quilted Tote Bags

I finished my bag just in time for the Mtl MQG meeting and came back from it with a great bag made by my friend Cinzia. I now used it to carry around my WIP projects.

I made the second bag for my grand-mother’s birthday.

Quilted Tote Bags

This time the piecing is only on the front pocket. I tried some 3D flying geese (see this tutorial).

Quilted Tote Bags

The quilting was inspired by the Stacked Triangles quilting design I saw in the book Free Motion Quilting with  Angela Walters. It was fun and quick to do.

Quilted Tote Bags

Like for this previous bag, I constructed both bags based on Elizabeth Hartman’s tote bag pattern. Except this time, I made the tall bag. And contrarly to her, I didn’t use the quilt as you go technique. For the first bag, I first pieced the exterior panels then quilted it. The second bag has no piecing at all, so I just quilted a fabric panel of the size needed. I really enjoyed making those projects. After you make your first bag, the others are much quicker to assemble.

Newspaper Article on Modern Quilting

A quick post today to share an article published in the journal last weekend. There was an article on modern quilting in the “cahier Maison” of  La Presse here in Quebec.

Me, Cinzia and Tamara from the Montreal Modern Quilt Guild were interviewed, along Catherine Cherrier from Courtepointe Quebec Quilts, Suzanne Paquette from Atelier Six and Elizabeth Elliott, a quilter from Toronto. It’s now available on the web (in French). For those interested, you can find it here. Thanks to Claudia Guerra for sharing our passion with a greater audience.

Duvet Covers for the Boys

This year, we changed our boys bed from toddler to twin size bed. I asked them if they wanted a quilt or duvet cover, and they both asked for a duvet cover (which I totally understand because I love sleeping under a fluffy duvet). So, I started to look around for fabrics and realized how much I would need for a twin size duvet cover: 7.5 – 10 yards depending on how you assemble it. That is a lot of fabric!

So, I started shopping for ready-made covers. But, I wasn’t finding any that suited my taste or that were the size I needed. Duvet sizes vary from place to place, and I chose large ones to cover bed sides. Then I thought about wide (108″) quilting fabrics. I remembered seeing the Crosshatch print by Carolyn Friedlander available in widescreen.  I love this print, I find it so versatile. I decided to order some in Pacific and Yarrow for the first duvet covet (2 yards of each).

Duvet Covers

After that, I found some wide fabrics in a local shop for the second cover. I bought the Crosshatch in Flame and combined it with a Chevron print in Gray from Riley Blake’s widebacks. This was just perfect to fit the pillow cover I made for the Riley Blake challenge last year.

Duvet Covers

Once you figure the size of the pieces to cut, duvet covers are not so hard to make. It’s just like a giant pillow cover. However, it is a challenge to work with large pieces of fabric. I’m glad we have a large floor in the living room where I can lay my fabric (or quilts when basting them). But, I do hope these duvet covers will be used for a long time. Even though I don’t plan to make more duvet covers anytime soon, I will certainly buy wide quilting cottons again. These will make quick and nice backing for quilts. It’s really great to see more modern prints available in larger widths.

Pretty Potent Charm Quilt Finished

Today, I can show you pictures of the Pretty Potent Charm Quilt I started earlier this fall. I’m really happy with the result.

Pretty Potent Charm Quilt

I would definitely redo the same pattern (not right away because there are already plenty of other ideas I want to explore first). But next time, I would try using only solid color fabrics to put the emphasis on the layout of the different colors, Just like in the Navajo rug (seen here) that was my initial inspiration. I think I didn’t show you a sketch of the quilt without the prints. Here it is (don’t mind the colors it was just to try the layout).

For the back, I used some fabric remnants from the front combined with a corduroy by Free Spirit Fabrics. The print is from Denyse Schmidt’s Chicopee  collection. I just love the texture and I will certainly use corduroy again for the backing of a quilt. It feels so soft. For the binding, I used the same fabric as the background on the front (Interweave Chambray in Pepper from Robert Kaufman).

Pretty Potent Charm Quilt

For the quilting, I used a clam hell quilting pattern. In the central patchwork, I used the seams as quilting guidelines. Outside the patchwork, I marked horizontal lines at the same distance using my hera marker and used painter’s tape to mark the clamshell width. Here you can see the quilting from the back.

Pretty Potent Charm Quilt

I was really happy to finally give it to my father. It’s the first quilt I ever give him. I’m sure he will greatly appreciate it, because he totally understand the work and the love that went into it.

Minimalist Quilt for Mtl MQG Showcase

Happy New Year 2015 everyone. I hope you had some great Holidays. I enjoyed mine. We had plenty of time to relax and to take a break from the busy schedule. I didn’t open the computer for two weeks (just checking my emails on my iPod). I even took the time to start reading a novel. Something I haven’t done in a few years. As for sewing, I did do a few small gifts that I might share in another post. But, I mainly focused on quilting my Pretty Potent charm quilt. I intended to give it to my father for Christmas, but I didn’t make it. I’m still finishing hand stitching the binding. So, it will be a late gift.

Today, I wanted to share a quilt top I finished at the beginning of December. The Mtl MQG is working on organizing a Modern Quilt Showcase (we still need to find a venue). We will be showcasing quilts from our members. We need to make 30″ x 40″ quilts in one of these categories: minimalist design, asymmetry, negative space, improvisational piecing or alternative grid work. This was a challenge we proposed to our members in June. We had a show and tell at the beginning of December to show our completed quilt tops. I can say it was a challenge for me, at least the decision part was. It took the whole summer just to decide for which category I would make a quilt. I finally decided to go for minimalism.

I started making some sketches this summer. I continued until the end of November. I couldn’t make up my mind. Even though I have a few quilts that would qualify as having a minimalist design, it was hard to come with an idea this time around. I did sketch a lot of ideas, but I wasn’t convince about any of them. Finally, I decided on one. See the sketch below. I intended to make a whole cloth quilt and to make the design only with the quilting (lines in the sketch). The idea was to create a circle by just changing the quilting line directions from vertical to horizontal. Minimalist enough don’t you think?

Minimalist Modern Quilt Challenge

But, I changed my plan a bit after discussing with my sister. She suggested using a shot cotton or another fabric with a different thread color for the warp and the weft and to change the direction of the fabric for the circle. I thought it was a great idea. So, I ordered some shot cotton (by Kaffe Fassett for Westminster Fabrics). I went with the color Ice which has threads in white and aqua. When I got it, I realized that the thread color difference was so subtle that a change in direction wouldn’t make any difference. So, I decided to add a bit of complexity to my quilt and to insert some white strips (Kona in Snow) in the circle. Here was the final sketch.

Minimalist Modern Quilt Challenge

Once my plan was finalized, it was quite fast to complete the quilt top. I paper pieced the strips for the circle during our last guild sew-in. Then it took an afternoon to make the inset circle. I used the following technique to achieve it. (except I used some white liquid glue). You’ll find a great post here on glue basting by Amy Smart. It was my first time doing an inset circle and I didn’t take the time to practice on a smaller circle. Mine was about 22″ in diameter. So, I was a bit nervous. I was quite happy that everything went well. Here is the result.

Minimalist Modern Quilt Challenge

The only thing I would say is that I did put way too much glue. So after our show and tell, my quilt top went for a little bath. Thanks to my friend Cinzia who pointed out this post to me. The post shows how glue basting is used for appliqués and washed out before quilting. Now, my quilt is waiting to be quilted and I can’t wait to see what it will look like with the quilting lines.