Wednesday, 17 February 2016

40 Prairie Sunsets - A new PDF Pattern

Daydreams of Quilts is thrilled to announce the release of our latest pattern "40 Prairie Sunsets."

40 Prairie Sunsets - Designed, pieced and quilted by Anita LaHay of Daydreams of Quilts.
My husband and I were racing up a steep hill near our home yesterday to get some photos of this quilt fresh off the sewing machine before the sun went down.

The moon rising over my sunset quilt. A closer look at the fussy cut border.
The sample quilt was free motion quilted with radiating half circles on the suns, rays coming of the suns into the skies and jagged prairie grasses.

If prairie sunsets are not your favorite perhaps you prefer ocean sunsets. Add in some cool colors to transform this quilt into an Ocean Sunsets quilt.

Yes, there is some curved piecing but fear not! I have make a little video (below) to show you how easy these curved seams actually are. Once you have your curved pieces all sewn this quilt top goes together very quickly. There is a link to this video in the pattern itself as well.

This pattern is available in all my online shops including Daydreams of Quilts.comEtsy and Craftsy. EU customers please use Etsy as they handle the VAT tax. Thank you. :)

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

A Valentine Gift for Baby

On Thursday last week I was looking through my stash searching for fabric for another project when I came across my Peter Rabbit/Beatrix Potter fabrics. I thought to myself, "I really should sew these into a baby quilt before my baby is not a baby anymore." So just like that, on the spur of the moment, I started another quilt. I decided that I would have it done by Sunday for a Valentine's Day gift for my baby girl.

Here was the quilt on Sunday morning after quilting and ready for binding.

Here are the fabrics I pulled out of my stash on Thursday.
 I had won the border print on the right from Rachel from The Life of Riley in August of 2013! Almost three years ago. I know this because I wrote about winning it in this blog post. I bought the Peter Rabbit print from Country Clothesline last year and I won the Ambleside charm pack from @shaunajared75 on Instagram. So the quilt top was almost free! :) I just tagged Rachel on Instagram to show her that I finally used my prize from her.

I got my baby down for a nap and sewed the quilt top in about an hour and a half.
 This was such a quick easy quilt to make. Here's what I did:

1. I cut my half yard of Peter Rabbit fabric into 8 nine inch squares.

2. I chose 32 charms out of the charm pack and arranged them into four patches on my table. I tried to be consistent with where I placed each print in the four patches.

3. I chain pieced the four patches, pressing seams at each stage of making the blocks and trimmed the blocks down to 9 inches square (keeping seams centered).

4. I pieced four rows alternating four patches with Peter Rabbit fabric and pressed my seams.

5. I sewed the rows together into the quilt top.

6. I sewed the border print to the sides and top of the quilt. This quilt ended up 47 inches square.

7. I pieced a backing from various quilt shop quality pieces of flannel.

8. I quilted in a crosshatch pattern using the four patch corners as a guide.

9. I bound the quilt with five 2 1/2 inch strips of yellow polka dotted Moda fabric from my stash.

I  bound the quilt on Sunday evening and put it in the wash to get the spray basting and sizing out of it before giving it to my baby to sleep with.

Here is my baby girl yesterday afternoon (Monday) at nap time sleeping under her new quilt. Is there anything sweeter for a quilting Mother to see? <3
I hope everyone had a lovely Valentine's Day! We enjoyed our day here with a bit of chocolate and Jelly Bellies.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Two Finished Quilts From My First Quilting Bees

I have two finishes to show and that is always a cause for a happy dance around here. :) On Sunday I finished my Rainbow Star Flower Quilt.

This was a quilt made with my bee mates in the "We Bee With It" bee on Flickr. This was my first time being in a quilting bee group. There were six members so each person made two blocks. The third block in the second row and the first block in the third row are the blocks I made. I asked for bright rainbow colours on a text background. Or, if they didn't have text then a black or grey print on white for background. So this is what I ended up with and I think it's quite beautiful! Two of my bee mates used Carolyn Friedlander Architextures text in white so I bound it in Architextures text on black. This is quite a small quilt at three feet by four feet. It is being used as a lap quilt in my living room.

My second Bee last year was "Bee Hive Swarm Anita" in "The Bee Hive" organized by Angie of Gnome Angel and Alyce of Blossom Heart Quilts. I was the Swarm leader for my all Canadian swarm. (There are swarms all around the world in the Bee Hive.) I finished the binding on this quilt today.

Houndstooth quilt by Bee Hive Swarm Anita.
 I chose the Houndstooth block and I asked for turquoise fabrics for the background and text fabrics for the houndstooths. My bee mates made me 12 blocks (one person made two) and I made eight for a total of 20. This quilt is about four feet by five feet and is a nice lap quilt to curl up under and read a book. The blocks involved simple foundation paper piecing so they all came in at the right size of 12 1/2 inches unfinished. I bound it with a teal text fabric from Lecien's L's Modern Basics line.
The back of my quilt. (Backing is from IKEA) with a quilt label with all of the Bee Members names on it. I ordered the quilt labels to be printed from Spoonflower.
The IKEA fabric is an affordable choice for quilt backing. I bought about 7 metres of it at about $7.00 a metre when we were in Edmonton in November. I have backed several quilts with it. It's slightly wider than quilting cotton so I did not need to piece it to back this quilt.

If you want to see more about these bee groups you can check out the hashtags #webeewithit and #beehiveswarmAnita on Instagram.

My first two bee group experiences that resulted in these very cool quilts were great! :)  Huge thanks go out to all of my bee-mates for making my blocks! I am so happy to have finished these up this past week so that I can start new projects guilt-free. ;)

This "Frog Pond" quilt came out in my newsletter to subscribers on May 17, 2016. Subscribe to my newsletter for a free PDF download of the tutorial plus a free pattern and quilt planning page. Watch for the "welcome email" after you sign up for all the download links.

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Tuesday, 2 February 2016

My Quilt has Arrived in L.A. - Quilt Con Charity Quilt

I made a charity quilt as part of the Modern Quilt Guild's Charity Quilt Challenge. We were given a specific colour palette and were required to use "Improv With Intent" as the technique for creating our quilts. No patterns were allowed.

My Quilt Con Charity Quilt titled "Flying Colors". Pieced and Quilted by Anita LaHay of Daydreams of Quilts.
As soon as I saw the colour palette I thought of the Hindu Holi Festival and the North American "Colour Runs" where people throw the bright coloured corn starch powders through the air. I started searching on Google for images of the festival and the Colour Runs and created a Pinterest Board of inspirational images. The Calgary Colour Run website states that the run celebrates "healthiness, happiness and individuality." I thought this was perfect given that I plan to donate this quilt to the Alberta Cancer Foundation and wouldn't every person fighting cancer love to celebrate healthiness, happiness and individuality once they have beaten cancer?

I used the technique “Improv With Intent” to convey the colours flying out the bottom left side of the quilt. My main improv choice was “slash and insert” to show movement and direction. The movement of the powders is continued across the quilt with coloured thread. There are ribbons, circles indicating powder clumps and particles, arrows and clouds of powder filling the white space of the quilt. The grey fabric indicates the streets people are running and celebrating on. The majority of the white space is filled in with white cloud quilting to represent the clouds of powder in the air and the breath being expelled by the people running.

When I was piecing the quilt I originally planned to have the colours running from left to right (blue, red, yellow) along the bottom edge of the quilt and exploding upwards but when I turned the top sideways to press seams I realized I liked that much better. Since I was free in the improvisational technique to do whatever I wanted I changed my layout plan halfway through.

I thought about what happens after the runs and the festival. People would need to wash the coloured powders off of their skin. The three large bars in the top left of the quilt are quilted with big drips to show the colours dripping off of people. Immediately below the bars the drips continue in threads of corresponding colours. There are more water drops and more drips quilted with white in the space below the three large bars.

My Aunt, Valorie Weir, died of cancer on December 25th, 2015. I have contacted the Alberta Cancer Foundation to inquire about donating this quilt to them and happily they are able to accept the quilt and they have several major events coming up this year where they will be able to auction the quilt as a fundraiser for the Foundation. After the quilt hangs at Quilt Con in their Charity Quilt Exhibit it will be returned to me and I will donate it to the Alberta Cancer Foundation.