Saturday, March 15, 2014

Organic Triangles for Baby

Friends of ours recently adopted a sweet baby girl. It's been a roller coaster for them for the past several months and I wanted to celebrate this special addition to their family with a little quilt. A recent visit to Spool of Thread resulted in the purchase of a stack of Cloud 9 Organics prints and a lovely, cosy flannel.

Cloud 9 flannel backing

While perusing the flannels, the one I ended up buying for the backing really jumped out at me and I decided to take advantage of the inspiration and make a 60 degree triangle quilt. I just love triangle quilts as a fairly quick and easy alternative to straight patchwork squares. I cut mine from 5 1/2" strips using a 60 degree triangle ruler.

Triangle Baby by Poppyprint

I added some Kona cotton solids and a Lizzy House Constellations print. I like that the quilt doesn't scream baby girl, but is still soft and sweet.  This baby's momma is a pretty hardcore outdoor athlete and I just don't see her going in for the all-pink-all-the-time thing.  The octopus and jelly fish are perfect little fussy cuts for a West Coast baby!


I quilted straight lines 1/4" away from all the seams during a guild sew-in one Saturday. Although I set the stitch length rather long, the drag of the flannel and bulk of the seam allowances made it a bit difficult for me to maintain the length closer to the triangle intersections.  A good wash and dry will work it all out (oh, and I pre-washed and dried the flannel twice prior to backing the quilt with it).


I just need to make a little label and then I can gift this sweet quilt!  I'm so happy to be sewing and posting regularly again!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Robot Patchwork Blankie

My traditional guild will host our bi-annual show in June. We're super excited about a new venue this year. It's getting more and more difficult to find suitable venues for large quilt shows that are (a) affordable, (b) available on weekends, and (c) have decent lighting!  This year we'll be at the Capilano University Sportsplex and it's going to be spectacular.

Robot Blankie by Poppyprint

With that in mind, I've started turning my thoughts to putting my stash to good use. I coordinate the member's Boutique where we sell our handmade goods to show visitors, thereby earning ourselves and our guild some cash (the guild takes a small percentage).  While searching for something entirely unrelated in my drawers/bins/shelves/bags recently, I discovered a long-forgotten stack of 6" squares left over from pillows I made for my nephews a couple of years ago.


Presto: one little boy stroller blankie or playmat for the boutique! Pieced, simply quilted and bound in an afternoon-evening.

Backed with some Lizzy House Castle Peeps!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Cargo Duffle Cameras

Along with five of my fun quilty peeps, we're heading off to our annual long weekend sewing retreat on Mayne Island in a couple of days. This calls for a new travel bag, n'est-ce pas?  Who am I kidding, I rarely need an excuse to try a new bag pattern!  Plus I love everything Anna designs and knew I'd make her Cargo Duffle as soon as I saw her first one posted. The best part? This pattern is 100% FREE! Thanks Anna.

I was recently in Seattle and had a lovely visit with Keli at my favourite little fabric shop, Drygood Designs. I was thrilled that she had new Echino cameras in stock, so I purchased a yard to use for my duffle. In addition to sewing, photography is another passion of mine, so I just love this print.

Noodlehead's Cargo Duffle by Poppyprint
(just cause photography is a passion doesn't mean I'm an expert...pardon the sunspot!)

All of the panels of this bag are quilted. I decided this was the perfect project to try ByAnnie's Soft & Stable for the first time. I'd heard good things about it and it didn't disappoint!  It's 3/8" thick foam batting/interfacing that has some sort of fabric-y surface. It's not fusible, but the surface took 505 spray baste very well.   It cost about $18 for enough to make this bag, so it's more than triple what cotton batting would cost, but I think well worth it for the structure it adds to this bag. It was no harder to sew through than batting and it has almost no weight.

Noodlehead's Cargo Duffle by Poppyprint

I quilted the Echino panels with a cream Aurifil 28 wt cotton thread and a 4.5 stitch length. I pieced the bag using polyester Gutermann thread for strength.  Although I followed the pattern and covered the seam allowance (on the inside of the bag) where the bottom and zipper gussets meet with a single fold binding, I decided not to tackle covering the main seams with the binding.  I just wasn't confident I could do a nice job of it.

Noodlehead's Cargo Duffle by Poppyprint

Instead, I followed this tutorial and lined the bag with a quilting cotton. In lieu of pinning the lining along the zipper tape (as recommended in the tute), I first held the lining in place with Clover Wonder Clips, then glue-basted it prior to topstitching all along both sides of the zipper.

Noodlehead's Cargo Duffle by Poppyprint

Finally, the only other change I made was to add in a fabric pull-tab at each end of the zipper.  I love this duffle and will definitely make more in the future. I think that I'll add 3" or more to the width next time to make it a larger bag (and that will necessitate slightly longer straps, as they'll sit further apart).

Noodlehead's Cargo Duffle by Poppyprint

Fabrics used:
Echino cameras
"Deer Valley" by Joel Dewberry (handles and pocket lining)
Essex yard dyed linen in black (handles, panels)
"County Fair" by Denyse Schmidt in home-dec (weight outer pockets).
"Giverny" by Marianne Elizabeth for Bernatex (main lining)

Monday, March 10, 2014

Get Creative Giveaway

This post is a bit of a service announcement for Lower Mainland locals, as well as an amazing giveaway for absolutely everyone!

On March 28 and 29, 2014 the annual Creative Stitches & Crafting Alive Show takes place at the Abbotsford Tradex. It is the largest sewing-related expo held in the Vancouver area and features tons of exhibitors selling everything from quilting cotton, thread and notions to every single sewing machine you could imagine.  Plus, the Fraser Valley Modern Quilt Guild will have a booth and exhibit their mini modern challenge quilts! I've seen several of the quilts pop up on IG and blogs lately: there will be some amazing examples of modern quilting on display.

I'm please to announce that one of my favourite shop owners from the area, Carola, will be at the show with her usual massive booth of Aurifil Thread and gorgeous fat quarter stacks at amazing prices. Carola's Quilt Shop is the Aurifil distributor for the west coast so she has it all: 50 wt, 40 wt, 28 wt  and 12 wt cotton in ALL of the colours, plus a variety of variegated threads, 'Lana' wool blend and polyester Aurilux.  If you've got a quilt top awaiting quilting, bring some fabric swatches along and and Carola will help you find the perfect thread for your project. Last time I saw her I bit the bullet and purchased my first giant cone of grey 50 wt for piecing. I must say, it feels rather professional piecing off a cone with almost 6000 km of thread on it. I wonder how long it will last?

Carola has recently teamed up with well-known local Bernina Technician and Certified Educators Bernie and Shelley Tobisch who will be at the show offering hands-on demos using the brand new and exciting Bernina 750's. If you attend the show, head straight to Carola's booth (#101, 102, 103) and sign up for one of the many demo sessions  offered each day. You'll make and take a thread-embellished lanyard and also receive a free sample spool of 50 wt Aurifil to take home and try. AND, if you happen to fall in love with the sewing machine, Carola will have a show special on all of the demo models used over the two day show.

Now for the truly amazing giveaway.....

Carola has generously offered up this Mark Lipinski Basics box of 12 Aurifil 50 wt spools in just about every piecing neutral you'd ever need. This is over $120 worth of thread that will go to one lucky winner.  

This giveaway is open to everyone, which means that international entries are welcome!  Here's how to enter:

1. Leave one comment on this post to enter. 
2. If you follow me on Instagram (where I am Poppyprint) please leave a second comment letting me know for a second entry.

Comments will remain open until 5:00 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time on Monday, March 17th at which time the random number generator will choose one winner. Get out your 4-leaf clovers and may the luck of the Irish be with you on St. Patrick's Day!!

ETA: comments are now closed. The lucky winner is Joan!! I've emailed Joan to let her know about her big win - I'm so jealous. You will see that Joan's comment shows as 65 below. That is because blogger only lists 200 comments at a time and starts renumbering them at 1. Joan's is comment 65 on the 401-525 comment page.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Selvage Colour Block Tutorial

I'm very pleased to say that Project Big Project is now complete for the time being and I am back at the sewing machine!! Thanks for hanging in there, I know Poppyprint has been rather quiet for a few months.

Although my UFO list is as long as my right arm (which is slightly longer than my left), I have jumped back into sewing with a brand new project. If you're an Instagram follower, you know that I've been working my way through the selvage drawer. It's about time, because I could hardly cram another strip of fabric into that drawer!  I've made a few small selvage projects over the years, which you can see here, here, here and here.  Recently my friend Diane posted her selvage string blocks on IG (where she is ylmommyx4) with the hashtag #selvageblockalong and I was immediately inspired to get busy.

Selvage Colourblock Tutorial by Poppyprint

If you google, or search Flickr for "selvage", "selvage strings" or "selvage quilts" you will find several different options. For a couple of years, I'd been thinking of sorting my selvages by colour and using them in a colour-blocked quilt somehow. I just like to be a little more organized in my scrappy efforts: sometimes completely random is too much like work for me!  

The blocks I'm making are 10 1/2" unfinished, so a complete colour block (above) will finish up at 20" square. I haven't decided if I'll use my blocks like this, so I'm not going to sew them together until I use up all my selvage strips and see where things sit at that point.  Ideally, I'd like a usable quilt about 80" square, but I don't think I have enough selvage to get there as that would require 16 huge blocks.

Here's a quickie tutorial for the blocks I'm making. 

Supplies for one 20 1/2" (unfinished) Selvage Colour Block

4 squares newsprint paper 10 1/2" x 10 1/2"
2 squares solid colour 5" x 5" cut once on the diagonal
a pile of selvage strips 10" to 40" long* matching your solid colour
disappearing fabric pen

*note that I generally cut my selvage with at least 1" of print above the white selvage strip. If the selvage is extra 'hairy' with a long fringe of threads, I carefully cut the fringe off without compromising the finished edge.

Selvage colour block by Poppyprint

1. Fold the paper once diagonally and crease to mark the diagonal OR draw a pencil line corner to corner. This is a guide to help you keep your strips running at 45 degrees.  Mark a 1/4" seam allowance on the long side of one solid triangle. Pin the solid triangle to one corner of the paper foundation, with the marked diagonal lines parallel to each other.

Selvage colour block by Poppyprint

2. Place the first selvage strip on the solid triangle, overlapping the finished selvage edge to the 1/4" marked line. Pin in place. I used my longest selvage (you need about 40") for the first strip on each of the 4 squares that will make up one colourblock. If I decide to piece my blocks like the one shown above, with a central solid diamond, having the same selvage print outline the solid will better define it and give it a more balanced appearance.

Selvage colour block by Poppyprint

3. Using a reduced stitch length for security and also to make it easier to remove the paper foundation later (I reduce to 2.0 from a 'normal' 2.5), topstitch the selvage strip with an 1/8" seam allowance.

Selvage colour block by Poppyprint

4. Repeat step 3, making sure each selvage strip is long enough to completely cover the paper and overlapping the previous strip by at least 1/4". I just eye-balled this and most of mine are probably overlapped by 3/8". Continue until the entire foundation is covered.

Selvage colour block by Poppyprint

Selvage colour block by Poppyprint

5. Press the completed foundation with a dry iron. Turn the piecing upside down and trim the square to 10 1/2" using the paper as a guide. Because all of the trimmed selvage edges of the square are on the bias, I plan to keep my paper foundations on until the squares will be sewn together.

Selvage colour block by Poppyprint

Selvage colour block by Poppyprint

Just a couple of notes.....Seam allowances here are only 1/8" or so. The smaller stitch length will help keep these seams intact over time, but I will likely quilt this heavily for extra stability. Selvages have tiny permanent holes in them where the fabric was attached to the printing rollers.  There's a good chance that the batting will beard, or work it's way through these holes, over time.  I don't have any illusions of this becoming an heirloom quilt!  It's a fun project to use up interesting strips of fabric and to look at and remember favourite prints.  It's a quilter's Eye Spy! 

Selvage Colourblock Tutorial by Poppyprint
Here's the first blue one. There will be more as blue is my most abundant selvage pile!

If you make some blocks using this tutorial or any other selvage string ideas, please share on IG using #selvageblockalong !  You can also join and post photos in Diane's Selvage Block-Along Flickr group . 

No selvages in your stash? Start saving now. You won't believe how fast they accumulate! I typically don't cut off the selvage until I am going to use the fabric in a project, however if I want to see this quilt idea through to a finish, I may have to raid my stash for more strips. 

Hope you're having a lovely weekend. I look forward to hanging out with you here more often again!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Sharing the Love (runner)

Hello my lovelies and Happy Valentine's Day.

Just a quick visit to let you know I am still here, working very hard and trying to stay focused. It is really hard to walk past my sewing room a zillion times a day without sitting down to sew!  I did manage to finish off my Love runner in time for today, though.

This was an unexpected project that resulted from a new piecing technique I'm working on for upcoming workshops. I tried it out using a really old charm pack of Valentines fabric I found in my stash. The pieced units looked pretty good, and I have never made any home-dec items for Valentine's Day, so I decided to go for it.

The alternate rows are Kona PFD (prepared for dying) white that I had on hand. I used fusible Pellon fleece for a thin batting and stitched in the ditch of every seam.  The hearts were marked, then using a pearl cotton, I quilted them in with a running stitch.

And finally, a little Love chain stitched along one end.   It's all bound up with Lizzy House's fabulous pearl bracelets, which makes a fabulous binding!

I hope you get, and give, a nice lovin' squeeze from someone special today. And if that doesn't work out, treat yo' self to some delicious chocolates. Happy heart day.

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Bag Lady

A Christmas gift from the resident poet laureate, my husband B. He totally gets me.

Bag Lady

Sitting on the counter, busy through the night
Is a little white iPhone, buzzing with delight.
The ‘likes’ are streaming in, from coast to coast to coast
All because of a bag on an Instagram post.

What’s caused this double tapping, from people overseas?
What’s piqued their curiosity, what’s made them weak in knees?
Why it’s a simple sack, so it appears at a glance
Just wait a couple seconds, there’s another like from France.

I just observe this process, I don’t post any stills
I don’t sew any fabric, I don’t possess the skills.
Let us take a moment, and subject to further inspection
The features of the tote, that others call perfection.

There are several carry-ons, which Krista makes for fun
The most popular it seems is the famous 2 4 1.
It’s got pockets on the ends, and a wee one on the side
And a big one in the middle, that’s made to open wide.

Sometimes the fabric’s cool, while other times it’s snazzy
Top stitching’s often tripled, and Krista likes her lining jazzy.
With cotton webbing strapping, each bag’s a perfect gem.
To quote Krista from her blog, “I can’t stop making them!”

With everything she makes, Krista says it’s just a snap
Follow the directions, perhaps add an extra flap.
But I think it’s not so simple, they would all be making one
The difference is K’s ethic, she just gets sh*t done.

 I guess he's onto something...although I have made my fair share of Rae's Buttercup Bag, too! Here's a small sampling of bags over the past few years. I honestly think I could have made an 8 x 8 mosaic.

Referring to the last line of the poem, that is exactly what I'm busy with these next 7 weeks. I have some serious stuff to get done, so don't worry if I'm scarce. I hope you've all had a wonderful start to 2014. All I can say so far is Brrrrrrr!