WIP Wednesday - The Lottie Cardigan

I've just cast on this adorable little Lottie cardigan from Madder and I'm really hoping I'll have it done for Christmas.  Honestly I'm just hoping I'll finish the thing - since I've never made an actual sweater before!  I'm using Abuelita worsted yarn in sand that I bought last summer specifically for this pattern.  You can find the Lottie here.

A Finish for Friday - I Spy Baby Quilt

This cute little quilt was started in a fit of late night inspiration back in July, but then got lost in summer clothes making and a birthday and then vacation time.  My in-laws spoke for it in August, so last week I got down to business and embroidered their friends' baby's name and birthdate on it.  It's now sitting with a bow on top, waiting for Christmas.
I really love this quilt.  I had kind of a "use it or lose it" attitude when I made it.  I cut up a ton of novelty fabrics that I had been saving but had never been incorporated into any other project and just went for it.  Nothing is repeated more than twice, and I made two other little bundles of squares for future I Spy quilts.
The back is a super soft Alexander Henry Farmdale print, (another print I'd been saving for no reason), and it's bound in cotton gingham.  When I embroider names on quilts I like to hide it a bit, so this time I did it in black like the bees antennae.  I always loved how some painters hid messages in their paintings, so I guess this is my version.
I hope the recipients like it as much as I do!

Linking up with Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts...

WIP Wednesday - AMH Single Girl Quilt

It took me a long time to decide whether or not I wanted to make this quilt, but now that I am, I'm really excited about seeing it finished on my bed.  I am using my AMH leftovers from this quilt which include Field Study, Hand Drawn Garden, and Dowry.  I bought a fat quarter bundle of Pretty Potent when it came out, but I thought I liked it less than the other collections.  Once I started cutting it, I realized I do like it just as much, and so I bought another bundle just to keep my stock up!  (I may also have reordered bundles of all of the afore mentioned lines, and preordered the new collection coming out next month!)
I've only made one whole ring so far (4 blocks), to see if I wanted to do it fifteen more times.  Now I'm just working on piecing the rings.  I've been keeping the quarter rings together in groups, so that I don't duplicate a single fabric within a ring.  Once I get the rings all pieced, my plan is to just sew them to the low volume background with no calculation at all.  By the way, is there anything more annoying that cutting the outside arc of the background with a flimsy piece of paper as your template?!?  I can't wait to be done with it!
Thanks for stopping by!
Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced...

Around the World Blog Hop!

Today is my turn to participate in the Around the World Blog Hop!  This is an apt name for this hop, as I am a Canadian living in Italy and was tagged by Ingrid of Sewing Lab, a Spaniard living in Norway!
If you haven't seen her blog yet, you should definitely go have a look!  Ingrid is very creative, and has some great patterns and tutorials.
The idea of the hop is to answer a few questions about what and how you make, and then tag a few more people to keep it going.  So let's get to it.

1. What am I working on now?
I had a late-August-to-mid-September trip back home to Canada, so I'm just now getting back to work in the sewing room.  I would really like to start selling my quilts, so earlier this summer I was working on a few baby quilts to stock the shop.  I actually sold all three before I got a chance to put them online!  At the moment I have to embroider the names and bind two of them, while the third is still in the piecing stage.  After I get these done, I have a few commissions waiting for me - one twin size and one throw.

(Two of the baby quilts)

In between these I have started a long-term quilt for myself - a Single Girl!  I have long admired this pattern (especially this one by Jolene), so I bit the bullet, bought the pattern, and have been cutting a ton of tiny pieces the last few evenings!  It's going to be done with Anna Maria Horner scraps, (leftover from my winter herringbone quilt), and a low volume background.  I've been waiting a long time to use my low volume stack, and I think this is finally the right quilt.

I also have visions of a flowering snowball quilt dancing in my head!  I just adore this one done by Mary at Molly Flanders, and I think my little girl's big girl bed needs one.  Earlier this summer I bought a gorgeous stack of fabric from Shay with this quilt in mind.

I realize both of these quilts have tricky cutting and piecing, so they do not have deadlines!  I'm going to try and enjoy the process, even if I'm more of a results girl by nature!
Last but not least, I, like most of blogland, fell in love with the new Cotton and Steel lines, especially the semisolids with the small dots and the x's, and the touch of metallic.  Such fabulous colours - my picture doesn't really do them justice.  I have a really good (and original!) idea for these bundles, but it's going to have to wait, at least till I get the commissions done.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
This is a hard one to answer.  I don't think I've been quilting long enough to have a particular aesthetic - it's only been about three and a half years.  I think I'm still trying out different styles, different fabrics, and taking each piece as a separate entity.  It was only after years and years of painting that I realized the little things most of my paintings had in common.  Maybe it's something more easily spotted by an outside observer…
One thing I do know is that I love colour.  While I really admire quilts with a minimalist colour scheme, especially some red & white or black & white traditional designs, I'll probably never make one.  I can't even leave the icing white when I make a cake!

3. Why do I write/create what I do?
I guess the simple answer is because it's fun.  I have a million ideas of things I want to make, from quilts to artwork to embroidery to knitting and crochet, and if I didn't make some of these things I think I'd be a very unhappy person!  I enjoy every aspect of the creative process, (except basting - nobody enjoys basting!), from brainstorming and sketching, to piecing and quilting.
Also, I want to be surrounded by beautiful and colourful things!  It gives me great satisfaction to have things that I've made around my house.  When I was thinking about starting quilting I thought "Imagine!  Making an actual blanket!?"  It seemed impossible.
And ever since I had my daughter, making things by hand has taken on new meaning.  In my home I have things my mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother made.  They are special to me.  I want my daughter to know how much I love her, and one way to show that is to make her things.  I hope that when she's an adult she will treasure them, and maybe even a grandchild will too!

4. How does my writing/creative process work?
It's varied.  I would say I get "pieces of inspiration" visually, whether it's Pinterest or another blog or something I see in a store, in a magazine, etc.  Then I either draw it, or save the picture on my computer.  I think about it for a while.  I also try to keep things organized with lists.  Sometimes I will have a certain project on my list for a long time, a year or more, before I start actually doing it.  Other times inspiration will strike and I'll be inspired by a picture or some fabric and just start cutting and sewing.  I do feel guilty about straying from my "to do" list but there are times when I cannot NOT start something new.
Being a visual person, even though I have over 200 blogs in my Feedly, I really only open and read the ones that have a great photograph to lure me in.  I even follow some Finnish and Norwegian blogs that I can't read because they take amazing pictures of beautiful things.  Everything beautiful feeds my creativity in some way.

I've actually tagged four amazing women to participate next:

The first is Jess from Sew Crafty Jess, my oldest quilty friend.  This girl does amazing work, participates in swaps, writes Moda tutorials, contributes to quilt books, AND has a full-time job and a baby!  All this in under five years of quilting!

The second is someone whose work has been inspiring me for a long time - Jolene from Blue Elephant Stitches.  If you've made a granny square quilt - then you've been inspired by her too!  She has an amazing eye for putting together fabrics, and makes beautiful quilts, like this favourite of mine.

Lucy, from the aptly-named Lucymade.  Lucy's blog is a recent find, but her Metro Rings quilt is truly amazing (she did that quilting herself!!), and if there was a "Ones to Watch" list in the quilting world - she would be on it!

Last, but not least, Lizzy from LizzyClipsDesign.  Lizzy is new to blogging, but has been quilting for a while, and has some really nice projects under her belt.  Pop over and have a look!

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Friday Finish - A Wee Wander Crib Quilt

You know, some of my most favourite quilts are ones that I just start on the spur of the moment, when I "should" be working on other things.  That's how this quilt started.
I had been thinking I needed to make a mid-size quilt between baby and twin that would cover her crib mattress (and mattress height) for when we put her in a toddler bed.  Then one day in August I found a fat quarter bundle of Wee Wander that I'd forgotten about (no I do NOT have too much fabric thank you!) and I was off and running.  I added a few solids, a bit of gingham, a few Michael Miller disco dots, and some Briar Rose strawberries.  I used this pattern again, and in a few days, I had a top!

These bright pinks and oranges were a bit overwhelming in my sewing room, but now that they're off the wall on and her bed they are much easier to live with.

Quilted in wavy lines for the nice, crinkled look, and bound in more of those adorable strawberries.  I had enough blocks left over to make a smaller, 36" square baby quilt which my sister-in-law spied and claimed, and a pillow with some fussy cut pieces for my niece.  Don't ya love it when that happens?

Thanks for coming by for a look!  

WIP Wednesday

My biggest recent project was Olivia's 2nd birthday party, but since Lee's WIP Wednesday is going on holiday till August, I'll take a minute to show you my "evening in front of the tv" project.

I'm making great progress on my Gera cross stitch… I've almost done six of the eight little girls.  I'm waiting till I'm finished for the big reveal, but here's my favourite little girl so far:

Isn't she adorable?  I love them all, and doing it on linen has been much easier than expected.  I can't wait to get it done and framed!

Thanks for stopping by!

Two whole years...

Today my little girl is two years old.  Anyone who has kids or kids close to them knows what a milestone this is, and how much they are real little people by this age.  It is truly amazing that my "baby" can now carry on a conversation, feed herself, go up and down a slide by herself, and all the other incredible things she does.

We had a little birthday party on Sunday, with a ladybug theme.  I dressed her in the linen Geranium dress with ladybug buttons, drew polkadots on red balloons, and of course, made a ladybug cake!

Here are a few pics:

(Sidenote: do you like my newly sewn curtains?  Fabric from Ikea)

It's rained so much the last six weeks, we only decorated inside the house.  The forecast for the afternoon was even thunderstorms, but it didn't rain at all and was a lovely afternoon!  So we moved the party outside…

Almost went face first into the cake she was so excited to blow out the candles!

Eating her cake with the big fork

I have a sneaking suspicion my husband really bought the bubble maker for himself...

Lots of fascinating presents

Little buddies

She had a great time, and so did everyone else.  
Thanks for stopping by!

WIP Wednesday: An I Spy Quilt

I'm running out the door to the dentist, so this Wednesday is also going to be almost wordless!  This is a new baby quilt, which started around 10pm the other night when inspiration took hold of me and commanded I start cutting.  What are you gonna do?  Argue with inspiration?

The aftermath - around midnight!

Looking for things has already proven to be great fun!

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced...

WIP Wednesday - Two for Olivia

My two WIPs this week are labour-intense, so it might be a while before you see them in a "Friday Finish" post!  

The first is a cross stitch from Gera, a Japanese designer that does absolutely adorable patterns!  I actually bought six of her patterns last summer, and this is the first one I've started.  It's my first time sewing on linen, (in particular hand-dyed soft pink linen), and it's not as complicated as I'd imagined it to be.  And the look is so much nicer than aida.  
This will be framed and hung on Olivia's growing art wall in her bedroom.

The second project I've got going right now is a doll quilt for Olivia's doll bed.  Lately I've been really inspired the vintage look - especially back reading this blog that I recently stumbled upon.  So I decided to try hand-quilting a little quilt.  I pulled out my giant scrap box and started cutting 1.5" squares.  I added the pink and white ticking because I thought it makes it look old timey.  Is it working for ya?

She approves!

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced...

June Recap

A special hello if you are visiting from Lynne's Fresh Sewing Day or Small Blog Meet!

As nap time is apparently over and I hear a little voice calling me, ("mommyyyy….are youuuu?…."), I'm going to have to be brief!  Here's June in a nutshell:

Finished a commissioned baby quilt top.  Forgive the iPhone pic but I was taking a quick shot of the top and she just had to get in it!

Got my DMC floss organized for my latest cross stitch project…

It's Gera's 60's Fashion cross stitch - aren't those little legs cute?  This is destined to be framed and put in Olivia's room.  I'll be posting more on this tomorrow...

Finished my summer voile quilt using Anna Maria Horner's Field Study voiles.  Love it!

Made a few Geranium tops and dresses.  This one is my favourite - red linen with lady bug buttons.  She looks spectacular in red!

Taught my friend Maiko how to sew for her little girl - another Geranium.  Such a simple and pretty pattern - great for beginners. 

Made a Hopscotch shirt for Olivia using some of that lovely Birch jersey.  The top came together really quickly and the fabric was easy to sew with.

Now I need some help from you guys.  
I had been mulling over the idea of making a quilt with Botanics and Lush Uptown.  I think the colours and prints work really well together.  

  Then I saw Meadow by Leah Duncan, and on the web the colours seemed like they would match.  Now that I have them all sitting together, I think that Meadow is a bit too different (although I find it hard to explain how exactly), not to mention the fact that Art Gallery fabrics just feel different from regular quilting cottons… (they feel great, just slightly smoother).  

        What do you think?  Should I keep these stacks separate or throw them all into the same quilt?

Thanks for stopping by…see you soon!

Friday Finish - A Voile Summer Quilt

Italy in the summer can get pretty hot, but sometimes you just need a little something to shield you from the AC, or the fan, or the breeze.  I first fell in love with Anna Maria Horner's voiles back when I made this baby quilt for Olivia just before I had her. 

In 2012 it was a suffocatingly hot summer (35C/95F with high humidity!), but I spent the last few days of my pregnancy with the fan pointed at me and the quilt draped over my bare legs.  I also took it to the hospital for a bit of comfort.  I knew I had to have one big-girl sized!  

In May 2013 I received my beautiful bundle of AMH Field Study from Fabricworm.  (Unpaid side note: I love that store!)   

With a limited amount of fabric (nine 1/2 yard cuts) I decided not to waste any and to do a simple patchwork.  I started in July of last year, but by the time I got the top together it was just too hot to be up on the second floor of our house, so it was shelved until the mercury dropped.  

Cut to now.  So far we've had a mild summer, but the Hades-like conditions could return at any minute.  Last week I knew it was time to get my little sweetheart out of the drawer and finished.  

I present to you: my new summer blanky:

As you can see, I'm not the only one that loves it.  

I used Hobbs Tuscany unbleached cotton batting, a batting that I had previously decided I didn't like because it was flimsier than my usual Warm 'n' Natural, but that was what I was going for here.  I have since used it for another summer baby quilt and have begun to appreciate it's weight for summer quilts.  
I quilted it in an elongated wave, because it gives a lovely texture and my FMQ stippling is truly terrible which is what I would really have liked.  

And just so my feelings are really clear on this: if you haven't made yourself a voile quilt yet - I highly recommend doing so as soon as possible!

Linking up my finish with Crazy Mom Quilts...

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