Tuesday, 28 April 2015

My First Quilting Retreat

In the last few years one of my hopes was to attend a quilting retreat. In the big scheme of my life, it doesn't really fit in. Busy mom, busy farm business, busy wife, busy, busy, busy. I relish moments to myself to do what I love but sometimes it isn't very often. Weeks and months can go by without much time taken to fill my own "bucket" up.  I have always been creative and I thrive on "making" things. I found my love of sewing, fabric and especially quilting and I love to immerse myself into it. Taking the time and money to go on a holiday devoted to quilting seemed frivolous to me for a long time but this spring I decided to just DO IT.
I loved every minute of it. 

My local quilt shop in Arnprior, Sew Inspired, organizes a retreat every year in Cornwall, Ontario at the NAV Centre. 

Once I arrived, I dropped my things in my hotel room and quickly went to set up my space in the large, bright room devoted to quilting. I finished quilting this baby quilt within a half hour. Ahhhhh... It was a great start.

 Then I worked on this quilt top for my oldest daughter. I have a new-found love for pre-cuts, which my new quilting friends were very interested in. Many seem to be traditional quilters but sharing is so much fun (one of the reasons I wanted to go) and I consider myself to be a modern traditionalist who LOVES precuts!  
I was sewing, enjoying some red wine and making new friends. It was a fantastic start to a blissful few days. Note:  I brought a travel mug so if I knocked my cup over, it wouldn't spill.  Red wine or coffee does not belong on fabric.

I found out that at Sew Inspired's quilting retreats, they always work on a charity project. This year we were encouraged to make "fidget quilts".  These are small projects made for someone who has Alzheimers disease.  By having something to "fidget" or play with is part of their relaxation and homes devoted to caring for these individuals welcome donations of fidget quilts.  It was a fun project - I looked through the junk drawers at home, raided my husband's jar where he throws his pocket items, old toys and collected what I thought might be something I could sew onto a small blanket.  I made a rag quilt and added a few things that I thought might be good for touch.

On the second day, I went out for a run.  The convention centre has this amazing view and it was a beautiful day.

One of the best things about my little trip was having a hotel room to myself.  All by myself.  Don't get me wrong, I love sleeping with my husband but I LOVE sleeping by myself and the bed was so comfy!  My room was small but perfect!  This was the view from my window.

I brought along with me many, many projects but most importantly, I wanted to start this big project.  Getting started is sometimes the hardest part because of the time involved but once I got going, it went really well.  This quilts is one of two identical quilts I am making for a customer... the fabric is so beautiful and the pattern is simple but looks great!
Fabric:  Moda Fancy
Pattern:  "Framed" by Camille Roskelley

So pretty...

Our sewing space was really big and I had this large amount of space to work with not only on my tables but on the floor.  It's not the same at home.

My finished fidget quilt.  Not bad for the first one.  

I have been swamped since I returned home.  Spring has arrived and our business is busy with preparation for the farming season and then three days after I returned home I left again for a few days to a dance competition for our daughters.  I finally got out my quilting projects again but it's an hour here and an hour there... not enough time to really feel some progress.  I miss it like crazy.  Just having the time to devote to my craft fills me up - it makes me happy.

I guess I will just have to go back next year!

Saturday, 18 April 2015

"Framed" by Camille Roskelly... It's started!

I have made some great progress on my first commission work, 4 twin-sized quilts. This weekend I am THOROUGHLY enjoying my first quilting retreat. I posted on Facebook yesterday that I have found my happy place. This is the perfect place to start some big projects (and finish up a couple to).

I might have a hard time giving these quilts up...the fabrics are beautiful (Moda "Fancy").

It's quite fun putting it altogether as well. Simple patterns are the BEST!

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Baby Boy Quilt from Jelly Roll

Quilt top almost done...nice and simple!  This baby quilt is made from a kona pastel jelly roll. It's so sweet...

I will finish it up with a white border and flannel backing (to make it cuddly). 

Hopefully I can have it ready for my newest nephew this weekend. 

That's my WIP to share with Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts and Freshly Pieced

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Orphan Block Swap

I belong to the Arnprior and District Quilter's Guild.  One of the activities to inspire us as quilters, is to participate in the Shoe Box Orphan Block Challenge.  I was intrigued... I have quite a few lonely, orphan blocks hanging around, mostly from "block of the month" challenges that were forgotten (sigh).  I always have good intentions but so much of life gets in the way including new quilting ideas that I have.  To make us feel better and give us some inspiration, this project was introduced and I thought it could be great fun!  I loaded up my shoe box (it was bursting with a beautiful block and fabric to go with it) and traded it in for a shoe box filled with mystery.  I didn't know what was in it until I got home.

I was pleasantly surprised.  I love the little block and the fabric was very fresh and fun!  Unfortunately there wasn't a whole lot of it but I love quick projects... even if it took me 3 months to tackle it!  Once I got into it, the project didn't take a lot of time.  I added a few of my own scraps and made a couple more blocks.

I recently purchased Alex Anderson's book:  "Start Quilting"; I mostly bought it for the block sample ideas.
I hope to make a sampler quilt in the future with all the blocks I love.

I tried to quilt with a little more interest as well - free-motion with a plan!  Little projects are a great way to practice.  I think it turned out quite nice.  The back shows it off.

pssst.... as I mentioned, there wasn't a lot of fabric to work with and I ran out of binding.  Hence the little piece added in!

The finished table runner:  I LOVE it and I hope I don't have to send it back to the owner of the fabric (well it's okay if I have to... maybe I will get my orphan blocks back as well in a finished project). 

I think it looks perfect for welcoming back spring!

Moving right into my next project... I have a brand new nephew, wee Harvey, and he is getting a quilt made by Aunt Deb.  I love love love making baby quilts.  I bought a beautiful kona pastel rainbow jelly roll from Mad About Patchwork before he was born and took out the girly colours (to save for a baby girl some day) and plan on making a cute and cuddly quilt for him.  

I am linking up with Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts for her Let's Bee Social party!