Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Blogathon Canada and a Giveaway

Hi Everybody! This week is Blogathon Canada host by Sew Sisters - a fantastic quilt shop in Toronto. (I'm in their Kona Club) Sew Sisters is hosting a giveaway on their blog everyday this week. If you're just finding out about this now you can still go back and enter the giveaways from the beginning of the week because all giveaways are open for the whole week until November 23rd. All the giveaways are open worldwide.
My Halloween Quilt.
Blogathon Canada is a blog hop of Canadian Quilt blogs. There are two hosts for each region or province and they have links on their host posts of other Quilt blogs in their area. All the links to the hosts for each day are on the Sew Sisters blog. Each host has a giveaway on their blog from Sew Sisters Quilt Shop as well (and those are also open worldwide).
Toy elephants I made for my son and my daughter's friend. (Pattern, by Retromama, can be purchased here.)

Thank you for clicking over to visit my blog and thank you for clicking in from your reader if you're already one of my followers. I am so happy that you came by to see me that I am giving away a little something from my stash to one of you at the bottom of this post. If you don't win this one, don't worry, come back on Dec. 8th when it's Sew Mama Sew giveaway day because I'll be giving away another of the same prize.
My first truly modern quilt. Bloom Bloom Pow designed by Lee of Freshly Pieced.

Okay, so for those of you who haven't been here before, Welcome! I am Anita. I am a military wife living in Wainwright, Alberta. My husband is a soldier in the Canadian army. I have been quilting since 1997 when he went on his second (my first as spouse) tour of duty to Bosnia. I have been sewing since I was a little girl. I have three children: a son (age 9) and two daughters (age 6 - today! and a two month old baby). You can learn more about me and where I live in my Around The World Blog Hop post.
My three kids and I on November 11, 2014.

I enjoy traditional and modern quilting but I am strongly inclined towards modern now. I am in a birthday club on Instagram with nine other Canadian women. Each month there is a different birthday girl and we all make gifts for that person.
This is a pillow/cushion that I designed and sewed for the November Canuck Birthday Club girl. She loves flying geese.
This is a drawstring project bag that I made for the November birthay girl also. I embroidered the centre panel with a pattern from the book "Little Stitches" by Aneela Hoey.

I am also in many other swaps on Instagram. It's kind of a new addiction. The great thing about swaps and birthday clubs as they challenge you so sew for someone else and to do your very best work.
This is a Strawberry mini that I made for the Strawberry Swap on Instagram this summer.

This is a sneak peek I just posted on Instagram of my IGmini Swap quilt. It's ready to be quilted.

I also have sewn quilts of valour for three Canadian soldiers suffering with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
My first Quilt of Valour. I posted about it here. "Diamond Tread" pattern by Lee of Freshly Pieced.
My second Quilt of Valour. Pattern designed by Cheryl Arkinson. I posted about this quilt here.
My third Quilt of Valour. My own layout using a panel and Swoon blocks. Swoon block pattern by Camille Roskelley.
I posted about this quilt here.
Thank you again for coming to visit my blog. Here is the giveaway I have promised you from my stash. It is four fat quarters of Holiday Happy by the Happy Zombie for Lecien just in time for sewing Christmas projects.

If you don't win this time come back on Dec. 8th because I'll be giving away another four fat quarters that week for Sew Mama Sew giveaway day (which is actually a week long).
This giveaway is open worldwide. Please use the Rafflecopter to enter. (It makes my life easier when it comes to picking the winner.) If you don't have Facebook you can use your email address.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 16 November 2014

"Harris Tweed Appliqué" - an ebook Review

Recently I was asked if I would be interested in reviewing the book "Harris Tweed Appliqué" by Chris Hammacott. I adore appliqué so naturally I said I would love to.

Photographs © Chris Hammacott and Vivebooks 2014

I received a copy of the ebook and I have found that to be even better in many ways than a paper book because there are very helpful instructional videos embedded in the book as well as links to YouTube videos. The table of contents is interactive so you can just click on a chapter you want to go to and you are immediately taken there in the book. There are also links to sources to buy 'Harris Tweed' online as well. You can print out the templates for your projects from the templates section in the ebook and throughout the book there are also links to references in other parts of the book. By clicking that link you are taken to the reference (no more flipping through pages searching!) In short, I have found the ebook to be quite a time saver!
Andrew Hammacott working at the loom. Photographs © Chris Hammacott and Vivebooks 2014
The beginning of the book contains an introduction which gives some history of 'Harris Tweed' and the area of Scotland in which it is made - The Isle of Harris, linked to the Isle of Lewis. Readers learn a bit about how the cloth is woven. This part was very interesting to me for two reasons. One reason being that my maternal Grandfather's parents came to Canada from Scotland. His name was Alexander Weir and I could see him wearing garments made of 'Harris Tweed'. In fact, he was a businessman and I'm sure he must have owned some. The second is because when I was a child I received a toy loom complete with shuttles and I used to enjoy weaving very much as a child. To see photos of real and true weavers working at their craft and to learn how the cloth is made is fascinating.

My daughter would love this beautiful cushion for her room.
Photographs © Chris Hammacott and Vivebooks 2014
Harris Tweed Appliqué is suitable for both beginners and experienced quilters. To achieve the full effect of the projects I feel it is best to use 'Harris Tweed' to create them. There are links in the book to fabric sources and I also found some sources on Etsy as well. If one were fortunate enough to own quite a bit of this luxurious cloth I think a lap quilt made with it would be the cosiest blanket in the house for winter time. I was thinking that several of the projects could be put together as a sampler for such a quilt. The great thing about Harris Tweed Appliqué though is that the projects are all manageable and of a small enough size that a quilter/sewist does not need a large quantity of 'Harris Tweed' to make them.

I love this wall hanging and the yo-yos on the border. This is the perfect project for this time of year (in Canada at least) when it is cold and the last thing you want to do is go outside. Cuddling up on the sofa with a hand quilting project like this and a hot drink is just the thing to do!
Photographs © Chris Hammacott and Vivebooks 2014

When I lived in New Brunswick a few years ago I found that 'Primitive' crafting is very popular there and people enjoy decorating their homes both inside and out with this style. The projects in the book could easily be adapted to the 'Primitive Craft' style by their rustic nature, especially those that use raw edge appliqué.

Photographs © Chris Hammacott and Vivebooks 2014
I have a dear friend who has two pugs and when I saw the "Pearl the Pug" cushion I knew right away that is the first project I want to make from this book. I plan to order some 'Harris Tweed', hopefully by the end of the month, and get sewing on this to have it done for Christmas. I will share photos on the blog when I have it finished.

Photographs © Chris Hammacott and Vivebooks 2014

The author of Harris Tweed Appliqué gives you all the instructions you need to sew the projects in the book even if you are a beginner. As Chris Hammacott writes, "As long as you can thread a needle, this ebook is for you." If you choose to buy this book I hope you will enjoy it as much as I have.

My mother is a tea enthusiast so a tea cosy is a perfect gift to sew for her and her many tea pots!
Photographs © Chris Hammacott and Vivebooks 2014

Here is the book's author Chris Hammacott at her desk.
Photographs © Chris Hammacott and Vivebooks 2014
Thank you for visiting my blog and learning about Harris Tweed Appliqué with me.

Disclosure: I was provided with a free copy of the ebook for my review but my thoughts and opinions written in this post are my own and were not influenced in any way. The links in this post are affiliate links meaning that if you click on the links and choose to purchase this book I will receive a small commission.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

3 Year Blogiversary Giveaway Winner

Hi All. I am popping into the blog quickly to announce that the winner of my giveaway is Jenny in Australia! I have emailed her and she has responded. Thank you so much everyone for entering and all your lovely comments on what you are working on. Today I am busy working on a little Christmas tutorial for all of you. I hope to have it up in the next couple of days.

Here is a shot of me with my kids from Remembrance Day on Tuesday.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Christmas Pillows

I did housework most of the week last week so I could spend the weekend sewing. It's paid off because I finished two Christmas pillows.

I made this pillow with beautiful fabrics from my stash. The red and green are Liberty Tana Lawns that I bought from Polka Dot Tea in Australia. The gorgeous white linen was a gift that I won on a Sew Mama Sew giveaway day from Lizzie at Swedish Scrapper . This pillow is for my own house.

The fabrics are Christmas colours but they are not Christmas fabrics so I can keep this pillow out year round if I like. This pillow measures 15 inches square. I thought I might use this linen for tea towels but I could not bear the thought of it being stained or eventually full of holes. (I don't know what my husband does but our tea towels wind up holey after a while. Something to do with drying the knives I think!) I also have a piece of linen prepped for some Christmas embroidery that I hope to be able to work on this week.

This pillow is a gift for my kids' piano teacher. I used the Liberty tana lawns again and the music print is Aspen Frost by Basic Grey for Moda which I bought from Sew Me A Song . The black binding fabric also has music notes and symbols. I bought it in the same online shop but I don't have selvage information on it.

I drew this pillow up on graph paper before I sewed it. It's just half square triangles (HST for short) that make up the four corners of the Christmas snowflake/flower/whatever-you-want-it-to-be-called. This pillow measures 18 inches square. If you aren't sure how to go about sewing HSTs there is a good tutorial here at Cluck Cluck Sew . I would just add that I recommend squaring up your HSTs after pressing them because it really does make a big difference to your accuracy. I have pictures of how to do this on my tutorial page for the Heart Pillow (scroll down past the shamrock pin cushion to find it.)

Here is a closer shot of the fabrics and quilting. I used Aurifil 50 weight thread throughout both these projects. This music pillow has white for the quilting. Red for outline quilting and black thread for the binding. To bind a pillow you just sew the pillow back on (I used a simple envelope back where the two pieces overlap and are hemmed at the edges that meet in the middle), trim up the outside edges to be even with the pillow front and then bind just like binding a quilt. 
I am so grateful to my husband for taking care of the kids while I got these sewn. That's one Christmas gift checked off the list and one beautiful home decor item for our home finished too.

I'm linking up with Motivational Monday Party.

Motivational Monday DIY, Craft and Home Decor Link Party

Thursday, 6 November 2014

A Late 3 Year Blogiversary Giveaway

My three year Blogiversary was in August. I always seem to miss it! I actually was aware of it this year but too busy at the time to host a giveaway. I can't believe I've been blogging for three years. Blogging would be no fun without all of you so I want to thank you for following me and all your fantastic and encouraging comments. I thought I better hurry up and run a giveaway because because I'm pretty sure the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day is coming up in December and I'll want to be a part of that too.

So here's what I have up for grabs. I have four Cotton + Steel basics fat quarters, a spool of purple Aurifil thread 28 weight (I like this for machine quilting - especially on mini quilts), a spool of peppermint Divine Twine (great for wrapping Christmas gifts!) and the book "Fresh Vintage Sewing" by Joanna Figueroa (love her!).

To enter please use the Rafflecopter below (if you don't have Facebook you can sign in with your email). And thanks again for being here. Really. I appreciate all of you. The giveaway will be open for a week and the Rafflecopter will pick a winner for me.

a Rafflecopter giveaway