Yippee! My Cog + Wheel quilt is starting to come together. My friend and quilt teacher extrodinaire Johanna recommended auditioning our fabric pieces once they were cut. She's always full of good advice, and this was no exception: I've already done some piece swapping.
Cutting has taken me much longer than I expected: all of those curves means lots of hand cutting. But I'm okay with that: I'm loving spending time with these fabrics.
Any one who knows me know that when I love something, I love it. It took approximately a month and half after I learned to quilt to turn our spare room into a full-fledged sewing room (complete with a serious stash of fabric and sewing supplies), 30 minutes to turn into a complete shutterbug after getting my new camera (a Nikon D90!), and one canning session to turn into Martha Stewart.
Since I enjoyed the process of my initial, failed attempt at jam so much, I knew it wouldn't be long before I tried canning something again.
Last weekend, I scored the last basket of sour cherries at the Brickworks Farmers' Market (I'm sorry, but I can't remember the name of the farm; Bizjak, maybe?). I promptly made jam. And it's delicious.
Cherries are my absolute favourite fruit, and I only ever eat them when they are in season from local farmers. This year, I'll be able to enjoy them year round.
Not impressed? I've also made spicy pickled carrots, pickled beans, and a batch of apricot jam. Yum.
Don't worry. I do plan on sharing, but at the rate we're enjoying them, my little jars of summer will be gone by fall.
The weather in Toronto has been hot. Like, really, really hot. I've been spending much of my time moving from air-conditioned office to air-conditioned apartment, but there are occasional spurts of being outside-ness.
I've been hanging on to some lovely French General fabric for a couple of months, a pretty blue patterned with white flowers with red centres. I knew when I bought it that it would eventually become the perfect summer dress. But what would it look like? I finally found my inspiration in Chic & Simple Sewing by Christine Haynes.
I'll be honest, this book has been on my shelf for some time without being used once. While the idea behind many of the projects included appeal to me--no zippers! no buttons!--there's something about the execution of the clothes didn't quite grab me the way so many other books do (Twinkle Sews, anyone?). It's not that I dislike the book, it's just that I always found something I wanted to make more.
When I needed a new, mega-hot weather dress, I pulled Chic and Simple Sewing off the shelf. Surely there was something in it for summer that would be perfect for my new summer frock?
I'm not usually a strapless dress sort of girl, but have I mentioned it's been mega-hot in Toronto? I need something that means wearing as little as possible while keeping me covered and appropriate.
In the end, I think this dress will become my uniform for Summer 2010.
The dress is cute, comfortable, and, best of call, came together in no time (just an hour!). Christine Haynes promises easy sewing, and on that she certainly delivers.
Hmm. Perhaps I gave up too soon Chic and Simple Sewing? I see more summer dresses in my future, very soon.
I've been busy lately. You see, dear friends of mine are expecting their first child this fall and they asked me if I might help to pull together the baby's room. What started as the crib blanket turned into the crib blanket + bumper + bed skirt + window valence.
I felt completely honoured. I mean, the baby's room is such an important thing, and here I was, not even a professional. Or family. So while I had made the bedding for little Isabella, I was still feeling a tad nervous.
We started by picking out a fabric. My friend found a super adorable option, complete with kangaroos (and joeys!) giraffes, and elephants. They wanted something simple for the crib blanket, so we made a simple window quilt using Kona Snow cotton and Playday by SEI.
The bumper pad is made of lovely little birds from the same Playday line, and the bed skirt is a heavy striped cotton. Together, I think the room is perfect, but I am clearly biased. I hope my friends feel the same way.
It's not often I look at my own work impressed, but there are occasional flashes where it's hard to believe that I was able to make something delightfully cute and so totally functional. Amazing.
What's more amazing is that soon there will be a baby boy cuddled in his blankie, and I'll forever be a part of his life, however small my part may be.
Tomorrow I'll start another quilt, the Cog & Wheel quilt by Denyse Schmidt. I picked up the pattern a while ago, but put it aside until I had a bit more time. When I found out that it would be a class at the workroom, it seemed the perfect time to pull the pattern off the shelf.
I've talked about how difficult deciding on a colour palette can be for me. For the Cog & Wheel quilt, I went through no less than four different colour combinations. It's. Just. So. Hard.
In the end, I looked to the fabulous Heather Ross for inspiration. Her most recent line, Far Far Away 2, is nothing less than amazing, and her dusk roses is one of my favourite fabrics. It's a lovely charcoal with gold, orange, and teal roses.
I've decided to echo the same for my own version of the quilt. I wasn't so sure at first, but part of my indecision is that this will become a bed-sized quilt for our bedroom. The colours are growing on me, though, which is a good thing when class starts tomorrow!
I am excited to get started. The pattern itself is lovely, and has all of the things that I love in quilts: pieces big enough to showcase fabric prints, a great vintage feel, and clean, simple lines. This will be my first attempt at a commercial pattern. I suspect it's deceptively more difficult than it looks: all of the pieces are just curved enough to make the quilt full of curved seams.
But I'll keep you posted on how it comes along. I have four weeks to finish a queen-size quilt top, so I foresee some late nights in my future.
If you're anything like me, you have a hard time finding a bath mat that you actually like. Sure, there are plenty of them out there, but I always end of choosing one out of necessity. Adding to my frustration is the fact that our bathroom is what you might call tiny. In other words, something that should be so simple is very frustrating.
The only thing to do was to make my own. Since I was making my new mat, it was pretty obvious that it would be patchwork.
Because my new bath mat was a bit of an experiment, I dug into my box o'scraps and pulled out some of my old favourites (see: Heather Ross mermaids).
I also decided that for the back of the mat I'd use an old towel no longer suitable for company (Gordon likes to chew them) but was in otherwise good shape. I stitched together my fabric pieces without a plan; in the end, there are parts of my little patchwork mat where that shows. When cutting out my back piece, I wanted to keep the decorative woven strip, which, unfortunately, left one side of my mat a tad wavy.
Mostly, though, I'm pretty in love with it; what a brilliant start to the day, with patchwork under my toes.