Thursday, 24 December 2015

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

My vintage sewing machine from my Grandma all decked out for Christmas.
I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas! Or, if you don't celebrate Christmas. then Happy Holidays, Peace and Goodwill! Thank you for following my sewing adventures here on the blog and on other social media sites. It wouldn't be fun without you to share with. I am looking forward to more sewing and quilting fun in 2016.

Monday, 21 December 2015

My Quilts That Didn't Make the Cut - #QuiltConRejects

The Quilt Con acceptance and non-acceptance emails have gone out from the Modern Quilt Guild. None of my quilts that I submitted made it in. Let me say here before anything else that I am not at all upset about this. Granted, yes, it did cost me about $40 to enter them so that part is a bit annoying but I am not upset that they didn't make the cut. There were 1800 entries and obviously not every quilt can be accepted.

The quilts go through a jury process where each juror is basically voting on your quilt on a computer based on two jpeg images of it. The jurors don't know how the other jurors are voting. In the end it's the ones with the most votes who make it in (or at least that is my understanding of it... feel free to correct me in the comments if I am wrong.)

 I have seen some of the quilts that did get in and some of them I love and some of them I really don't like at all but that is the nature of all art. What is very appealing to one person can be almost revolting to another.

As an aside, and also raising eyebrows with me (to put it politely), I observe that some of the same people keep getting in and some of the same designs, just different colours and interpretations of the same idea, keep getting in too. Do they want to keep seeing the same thing every year? Should we all just copy the winning quilts from the previous year's show? Sorry... just my own little editorial paragraph here as is my prerogative on my own blog. I will be giving entering again a sober second thought.

Mine were just not the look they were going for I guess but I love my quilts and am happy to hang them in my home.

These are my Quilts:

"Cinnamon Bear at Night" by Daydreams of Quilts for the MQG EZ Quilting Triangle Challenge.

Closer shot of bear's head.
 The bear quilt was made as part of the EZ Quilting Triangle challenge. We were sent one of the two EZ Quilting triangles. I wanted to get going quicker so I ordered both triangles from the link the Modern Quilt Guild sent out in the challenge email.

I cut all my triangle shapes out of fabrics from my Carolyn Friedlander stash. The triangles are two and a half inches tall (two inches finished) so to make cutting a bit easier I cut 2 1/2 inch strips and then cut my triangles out of them. I laid out all my triangles in rows and pieced them together. The rows alternate between the thinner and wider triangles. I pieced all the rows together and cut out my bear shape from the resulting piece of patchwork fabric. Piecing a large enough piece of patchwork for my bear took eight hours. I worked on it for a whole day.

After all that patchwork I let the project sit for a few weeks. Then I appliqued the bear to the black Kona background with a blanket stitch on my machine and traced the triangle templates to make trees in the background which I free motion quilted. I then washed the quilt to remove the marks I made for quilting. I don't know why this quilt didn't make the cut. (I would be nice to have some notes from the jury.) Maybe the applique aspect wasn't modern enough? I will try it in other shows though. I am really proud of this quilt.

"One Minute After Midnight Jan 1st" by Daydreams of Quilts in the MQG Michael Miller Glitz fabric challenge.

Close-up of pieced confetti, 3D streamers and quilted streamers.

Close up of streamers and rainbow binding.

My Michael Miller Glitz Fabric Challenge quilt depicts the famous ball in New York's Times Square one minute after midnight. The ball has dropped (it's at the bottom of the quilt) and confetti and streamers are flying through the air. Some streamers and confetti are already piling up on the ground (at the bottom).

Fabric challenges are exactly that, a challenge, because you are using fabrics you probably wouldn't have chosen yourself. I don't think I would ever buy these metallic glitzy fabrics on my own. The black background fabric I used is called "Confetti Dot" so just in the name confetti it sparked me thinking about New Year's Eve.

I thought this quilt might have a chance because I was innovative in how I made my 3D streamers. I used a rainbow of Michael Miller solids to create the confetti and streamers and I improv pieced the confetti in the background. I used many different Aurifil threads for the quilted streamers. I also used curved piecing to create the famous ball. In the end though I think this design is probably too busy for the MQG.

I had no New Year's Eve quilt before now and you can bet this fun and bright quilt will be hanging this New Year's to celebrate the start of 2016! :)

"Falling Feather" quilt by Daydreams of Quilts as part of my Ghost Quilting tutorial at Sew Mama Sew.

Close up of ghost feather shapes and pieced feather.
You get three entries for your $30 entry fee ($40 Canadian) and so I entered my Falling Feather quilt that I designed and created as part of my Ghost Quilting tutorial for Sew Mama Sew. I really love this quilt and how it makes use of negative space. I will absolutely enter it in other shows. :)

Hope you enjoyed my trunk show of "#QuiltConRejects" Check out the other quilts that didn't make it using that hashtag on Instagram. And check out the beautiful quilts that did make it using hashtag #QuiltCon2016 and form your own opinion of what is art to you and what is... not to your liking.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Antique Table Runner Blog Hop and Giveaway

What a great day! I am so happy to have you here today for my post on the Antique Ribbon Tablerunner Blog Hop with Fat Quarter Shop for the launch of their newest pattern. This is a fun stitch and flip project that is easy to do and the results are impressive.

"Antique Ribbon Tablerunner" pattern by Fat Quarter Shop. Pieced and quilted by Daydreams of Quilts using "Evergreen" by Basic Grey for Moda.

This pattern uses the Braided Border paper from Triangles on a Roll to make the borders. Normally I am not a big foundation paper piecing fan (the results are beautiful but I find it so frustrating).  This stitch and flip method is very easy and achieves the same precise result as regular foundation paper piecing. Fat Quarter Shop have a video tutorial to show you how to do it. As an added bonus, ripping out all the papers afterwards along the needle perforations is quite rewarding.

A closer look at the braided border. I always love the Christmas lines that Basic Grey designs. The bias candy cane stripe is perfect for binding.

My dining table can seat 10 people comfortably so you can see that this is a good sized runner. This would also be lovely on a buffet.
The braids look impressive running in opposite directions on the sides of the center panel. I found the second braid went faster than the first as I got more used to the technique.
Tips and tricks:

  • Glue basting: I glue basted my first square with a "Fons and Porter" glue stick to get myself started on each braid. Any washable glue will work. Just use a little tiny bit. 
  • I  rolled my paper up and clipped it with a binder clip to keep it out of my way while sewing. I just unrolled as I went along. 
  • Stitch length at 1.5 : As with all foundation paper piecing make sure to set your stitch length small to make tearing out the papers easier. 
  • Follow pattern directions: I didn't buy the recommended amount of fabric for my center panel and I suggest that you do not do as I did here. If you look closely in the photo above you can see where I joined pieces. This was because of how the print was on the fabric and I didn't have enough to make it less noticeable. So while I saved a little bit on fabric I will now need a floral arrangement to cover my join. ;) 
  • Batting: Use your preferred batting. I used Pellon 987F fusible fleece because that was what I had on hand and because it keeps it's shape. I like crinkly quilts but not so much in a table runner. I didn't want too much shifting and fraying over time so the fusible helps keep everything from moving.
  • Use quality thread: I used 100% cotton 50 wt. white Aurifil #2021 for piecing and 50 wt. green Aurifil #2840 for quilting. I found that green went really nicely with the Evergreen line.
My Triangles on a Roll rolled up and clipped with a binder clip.
A cheerful addition to my Christmas decor.

Click here to get your copy of the PDF pattern from Fat Quarter Shop. Fat Quarter Shop has put together a quilt kit for this pattern which you can find here.

Here are some other Bloggers who are on the blog hop with me today so hop over to them to see their versions of this project.

Anita of Daydreams of Quilts - you're here! :)

Fat Quarter Shop is generously sponsoring a giveaway on my blog today of a $25 gift certificate to their shop. I would like to say thank you so much Fat Quarter Shop for sponsoring the giveaway and for having me on the blog hop.

Please use the Rafflecopter to enter. This giveaway is open to everyone and Rafflecopter will pick a winner for me using the Random Number Generator on Sunday night. You have until midnight Mountain Standard Time on Sunday to enter. Good luck and thank you for visiting my blog today.

Don't miss my pattern giveaway. Click here to enter that one. I also have a fun little giveaway on Instagram too.

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Thursday, 10 December 2015

I have been painting things!

Hello. Happy Thursday. :) Today I would like to show you some of my non-quilting projects. Well, they relate to quilting I guess but they are not quilts. So here goes.

I have recently discovered the Canadian company "Country Chic Paint". A local shop in my town is carrying their products and I started following their company on social media. Then they were featured on "Dragon's Den" on CBC where they won a business deal. In conjunction with that they had offered some starter kit specials on their website which I took advantage of and now I have a nice chalk paint collection.

I started off with a can of paint that I had bought in the local shop. I designed a quilt ladder and had my husband build it for me. He's good a things like that. (I am not so great with power tools.)
Quilt Ladder by Daydreams of Quilts.

We used some salvaged 2 x 4s and some hemlock dowels from the hardware store. I painted it with tough chalk paint in the colour "Icicle" and then roughed up the paint with sandpaper. Then I coated the ladder with two coats of "Tough Coat" as I did not want paint to transfer onto the quilts. I let it sit for a few days before putting quilts on it. As you can see from the photo above I have it quite loaded up and my husband is on notice that I will need at least two more. :)

Here's a shot without the flash. The ladder is up in our bedroom to keep our toddler from pulling it down on her head and the light is terrible in that room.
I have my Christmas quilt on my bed. :) The bedroom has kind of turned into the unofficial quilt room at the moment. (Sorry for the crooked camera angle.)

After the quilt ladder I moved on to the piano bench. I don't have photos of that today as I haven't taken my "after" shots yet.

Then I moved on to painting a large dining table that I recently inherited upon the passing away of my Grandma. The table has seen better days but it is part of the dining suite and I am nostalgic about family furniture (my bedroom suite came from my other Grandma and was my Great Great Grandmother's originally). The finish was actually flaking off when we got it so I got my husband to sand it down with his palm sander.

Welcome to my dining room.

Dining table after sanding.

This table is a good size and can seat 10 comfortably. The ends fold down and the middle leaf drops under to make it two other sizes smaller.

Close-up before shot of the finish.
 I first painted the table and the "feet" a yellow colour called "Sunny Side Up". I let it dry overnight and painted over the yellow with "Summer Blueberries". Both are chalk and mineral paint. After an hour of letting the blue dry I took a bucket of water and a wet "scrubby" sponge and wet distressed the blue paint to show some of the yellow through it. I let it dry overnight before putting on two coats of Tough Coat.

After shot of the dining table. Two coats of chalk paint (yellow and blue) and two coats of tough coat.

I wanted quite a bit of yellow around the edges of the table so I took almost all the blue off on the edges. The turned wood on the pedestal legs is still in good shape so I left that unpainted so that the table will still tie in with the buffet and china cabinet.

I plan to paint the chairs as well and have ordered a blue and yellow toile Lee Joffa fabric called "Peaceful Kingdom" on eBay to reupholster the seats. (Another area that my husband helps me with.)

The majority of my Christmas decorating is in the dining room this year as there is a baby gate to keep my 14-month-old out of the room.

For formal and special dinners the table will have a table cloth of course but I like this casual painted look for everyday.

Close-up after wet distressing the table top.

Something disastrous happened to the finish at some point and it is badly pitted. I decided to embrace this and even played it up with the paint so it is now intentionally part of the distressed look.

The chalk paint is very easy to wet distress with a scrubby. Only a few scrubs and the yellow shows through.

I love this look and if my kids (or myself) bash the table it will (hopefully) just add to the distressing. This table will be great for cutting out garment patterns on too.
So what about you? Are you painting furniture pieces too? I will update everyone on the chairs as they progress. Thank you for stopping by my blog today.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day!

It's Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day! In the spirit of giving and crafting community Daydreams of Quilts is offering up a little prize. The winner of my giveaway can choose any three PDF patterns from my Etsy shop. There are sewing, embroidery and quilt patterns there.

Here are some of the pattern cover photos and there are more in my shop.

Kawaii Cacti Pin Cushions

To enter please use the Rafflecopter. This giveaway is open to everyone and will close Sunday December 13 at midnight. The winner will be notified by email and sent her or his patterns of choice. Thank you for visiting my blog today! :)

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Sunday, 6 December 2015

Let Them Eat Cake!

I meant to show you this before now! Once again time is getting away from me. This is a mini quilt I made for the October birthday girl in the #CanuckBdayClub on Instagram. She goes by MelroseCakes online and she is a cake decorator by trade but she is also a quilter. I combined her two loves in this mini quilt. She and I are both big Tula Pink fans so this mini is made entirely with Tula Pink Fabrics.

Let Them Eat Cake mini quilt made by Daydreams of Quilts for Melrose Cakes.
 The Cake portion of the mini is made with Tula Pink "Fox Field" fabrics using the "Let Them Eat Cake" block from the Fat Quarter Shop's Snapshots Quilts along. You can find the block on their blog by clicking here. This is part of a quilt along fundraiser for St. Jude's Children's Hospital.

I used Queen Elizabeth on the fabric titled "16th Century Selfie" from the Tula Pink "Elizabeth" line for the cake topper with a couple of side panels of "Fox Field" to fill in. I fussy cut in order to get both the rabbits facing in towards the queen. (This feels a bit like "Alice in Wonderland" to me now.) The border is also from the "Elizabeth" line. I know it was Marie Antoinette who said, "Let them eat cake!" but the queen was too perfect to pass up for this mini. :)

It's hard to see but I quilted "Let them eat cake" into the bottom border.

My camera angle is a bit wonky here but the quilt is actually squared up. The birthday girl loved it so I am a happy quilter! :) I must make another one of these sometime.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Block Tutorial for Block 39: Grandma

Welcome to Daydreams of Quilts! Today I am pleased to bring you a quick little tutorial for sewing block 39 of the Farmer's Wife 1930's Sampler Quilt in the Quilt Along hosted by Gnome Angel and Fat Quarter Shop.

I am (so far) building all my blocks the same way by using the paper templates that come on the CD in the book. I printed all my template sheets out ahead of time so they would be ready to go whenever the mood to sew struck or, more often in my case, the time became available to sew. When printing your sheets make sure your printer settings are set for 100% (no scaling, do not fit to page) and check the 1" line on your print out to make sure it measures one inch.

Block 39: Grandma - I must have Christmas on my mind.
This Grandma block has 36 pieces. To speed up the cutting process I layered my fabric into four layers. I laid my paper template on top keeping the right angle of the triangles with one side on the grain line. This way I can cut four triangles at once. I cut two sets of four and then opened my fabric to be two layers for the remaining two triangles needed of the "B" triangle. Then, while I still had just two layers of fabric I cut the two triangles needed of the "A" triangle. I make sure to cut off all the little notches on the corners exactly as the template is printed as this helps in lining up the pieces when sewing together the block. I repeated the process for each of the three colours in the block.

Paper template on four layers of fabric.

I line up my quarter inch line on my ruler with the solid line on the template to make my cuts.

Lay out all your pieces referring to the diagram in your book. The diagram shows how to piece the triangles together to make the block.

To make this simpler for myself I broke the block up into steps:

Step 1: The sets of three triangles around the outer edges. I sewed all of those together first. When sewing, continually check the diagram in your book to make sure you have your pieces in the right layout. The green triangle at the top of these photos is in the wrong place and I caught that before I went to my sewing machine because I looked at my book first.

Step 2: All the sets of two triangles for the corners of the block.
Step 3: The sets of two grey and red triangles for the centre of the block.
Step 4: Sewing the larger grey and red triangles together and the larger green to the pieces from step 3.

Then Step 5 is to sew the four centre squares together, add the sets of three triangles to the sides of the centre square and finally add the four corners made up of the grey and red triangles sets from Step 2.

A note about pressing:
To speed up the process a bit just finger press the seams in your sets of two and three triangles around the outside instead of taking them to the ironing board every time.

To facilitate quickly piecing this block, as my 14-month-old will only tolerate being in the Exersaucer in my sewing room for so long, I finger pressed my seams during step 1 and 2 and then pressed them with the iron when they were all sewn together. This also saves on possibly distorting your pieces due to the bias edges.

Another way to save time and still press with your iron if you prefer is to have your ironing station right by your sewing machine at table height so you can just turn in your chair to press your pieces.

When I had two sets of two centre squares sewn together I pressed the centre seams in opposite directions to create nesting seams. When I added the sets of three triangles to the to the sides of the centre square I pressed away from the centre square. Likewise for the corner triangles. In the end I had all the seams toward the outer edges of the block. Pressing your seams open would also work well.

Please check out Lisa's tutorial and Gnome Angel's Tutorial for their take on putting this block together.

Thank you for visiting my blog today. Happy Sewing and Farmer's Wife-ing!

Book Information:

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Farmer's Wife Block 80 Patricia Tutorial

Hello! Welcome to Daydreams of Quilts. If you are visiting today from the Farmer's Wife 1930's Sampler Quilt - Quilt Along hosted by Gnome Angel and the Fat Quarter Shop I am so glad to have you here. I am very happy to bring you my first tutorial in the Quilt Along - Block 80 "Patricia". This was a nice simple block and my approach to my Farmer's Wife blocks has been to keep it simple and try not to over think it.

Here is how I made this block. I first knew that I wanted a fussy cut in the centre of the block so I looked at my fabrics to find something that would fit nicely in the centre square.

This strawberry looked like it would fit right in nicely.

I put my rough cut paper template from the book over the strawberry and quickly lifted each side to make sure it was positioned correctly. I lined up my quarter inch line on my little 1 x 6 inch ruler with the solid line on the template and made my cuts. Normally I am not one to cut a hole in the middle of my fabric but for this quilt I make an exception. :)
 When cutting your piece try to move your ruler and not your fabric. Cut slowly and carefully double checking that your fingers are safely away from the ruler edge as sometimes it can be awkward cutting all the sides. Or, use a rotating mat if you have one to turn your piece without lifting your fabric.

For the triangles I was not as concerned about fussy cutting so I just folded my fabric into four layers and placed my triangle template from the book on top to cut in the same way I cut the square by putting my quarter inch line on the solid lines of the template. This way I got all four triangles cut at once.

Layer your fabric to cut multiples of one shape.

Lay out your pieces to match the layout in your book. It may be helpful to snap a photo of your layout with a digital camera or phone so you can refer to it while sewing your block together.
 When there are several of the same element in a block, in this case the half square triangles in the corners and the two rectangles on the sides, I like to chain piece to save a bit of time and thread. In order to keep from getting mixed up with how I originally laid out my block I take a digital photo to refer to as I am sewing pieces together so I can put them back where I wanted them after picking them up to chain piece.

After chain piecing this block becomes a simple nine patch block to put together.
 Once you have your triangles and rectangles sewn to each other this block becomes an easy nine patch. I pressed all my seams to the yellow fabric. When the rows were pieced together I pressed the top and bottom rows towards the middle and the middle square towards the outside of the block. This creates nesting seams when putting the three rows together.

Block 80 finished. That was a piece of cake! A piece of Strawberry Shortcake. Or Lemon Meringue Pie.

My block made me think of Strawberry Shortcake and Lemon Meringue because of the colours of the fabrics. I got the "Strawberry Shortcake" theme song stuck in my head while I was sewing. One of the perils of being a mother to little girls. "No task is too tall for Straw-ber-reee Short-cake"- not even Farmer's Wife blocks.

In this scenario clearly Lemon Meringue has fallen down a Rabbit Hole and eaten something she shouldn't have. Now Strawberry is rushing her to the hospital where they will have to give her a little bottle that says "drink me" on it. ;)

Thank you for visiting my blog today. Happy Sewing and Farmer's Wife-ing!

Book Information: