Sunday, 16 July 2017

FAL 2017: Meet the Host #8

It's time to meet another of your FAL hosts.  This time Izzy shares with us some things you might not have known about her.  I have to say, I love how her quilting journey has been chronicled in her pics here. Read on to find out what I mean.

Hi - I'm Izzy from Dizzy Quilts and it's my turn to tell you a little about myself!

I'm a mother, step-mother and foster mother to six children, grand-mother to one gorgeous little girl and wife to my soul mate. During the day, I manage a team of e-Learning designers/developers at a global financial company.

All of this keeps me pretty busy, but I've always made time to be crafty - when I was a little girl, my mom taught me how to knit and I made all my teddy bears knitted sweaters!

During my teenage years, I was a little too busy with school (and with boys!) to craft, but a few years later, when I had my first child, I started sewing.  I made some baby clothes and I made curtains mostly. I even took a sewing class to learn how to make garments for myself, but I never got the hang of that - nothing ever really fit right.

About 9 years ago, I walked into JoAnn's to get fabric for new curtains and spotted the cutest little quilt kits. I bought one, put it together and haven't looked back since! I was completely and totally hooked.

The first few quilts I made were very traditional - lots of small pieces, small florals, etc. I really had no clue what I was doing, but learned so much with the making of these quilts.

A lap size log cabin quilt made for my step-mom

I started making these quilts for pretty much everyone in my family.  And pretty soon, every bed in the house had a quilt on it.

Quilt I made for my sister-in-law - this is Bronx testing it.

I even made quilts as curtains!!
Around 2010, I discovered quilt blogs and the online quilting community.  That literally changed my quilting life!!  I started my own blog, met some amazing people and a couple of years later, found the Montreal Modern Quilt Guild.

Through the members of this guild, I learned about modern quilting and I fell in love with quilting all over again.

I started making modern quilts and building a stash of really colourful fabrics and solid neutrals.

When I first started quilting, my least favourite part of the whole thing was the actual quilting. My sewing machine was pretty small and wrestling with a big quilt in that tiny little space was painful and I very often ended up with puckers on the back of my quilts.  And then I changed two things: my sewing machine and my basting method.

I purchased my Juki TL-2010Q. It is literally a dream to quilt with. Lots of room to the right of the needle and super consistent, fast stitching.

I also learned how to board baste my quilts - which has saved my knees, my back and to a certain extent, my sanity!  :-)

And now quilting is actually my favourite part. I look forward to finishing a top just so I can get to the quilting. My dream is to some day own a long-arm machine, but I would need to get a much bigger house before that could happen!

Last year, I became the Vice-President of the Montreal MQG and that has been a lot of fun. The group is growing and we have such amazing people and quilters.  Each meeting is a great source of inspiration and I'm learning so much.

When I was approached to become a FAL host last year, I was so flattered and so happy. I love hosting these link-ups - so much inspiration and so much talent every quarter.

Thanks for reading and if you have questions, please leave a comment!  :-)


Sunday, 2 July 2017

2017 Finish-A-Long: Quarter 3 Proposed Finishes Linky Now Open!

It's time to link up your list of unfinished projects that you propose to finish in Q3 of the FAL. I am looking forward to seeing what you are planning to be working on over the next quarter.

The FAL is hosted by a community of bloggers across the world. Our hosts are:
  • Sarah - Sew me - Northern Ireland
Social Media Director
For those of you who are new to the FAL, it is a place to find motivation and encouragement to complete those unfinished projects that are hanging about becoming UFOs. Every quarter you post a list of projects you hope to finish in the next three months, and then at the end of the quarter, you post a link from your blog, Flickr or Instagram of each successful finish from your original list.

Each finish is an entry for wonderful prizes from our sponsors. There is no penalty for not finishing a listed project, so feel free to make your list long or short, as you wish. The 2017 Schedule and Rules for the FAL are on my permanent FAL page, let me know if you have any questions.

Here are the fantastic and generous sponsors for Q3 of the FAL - you can see each of their prizes listed under their logo (think about visiting them and saying thank you):  

As you may recall from last year, there was a return of tutorial week at the end of each quarter, between the opening of the link for finishes and the day that link closes. Are you enjoying this? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below! This will take place each quarter. Each host works hard to put these together so I hope you are visiting their blogs to encourage them. If you have a tutorial that you would like to share, please let me or another host know.

It's time to round up those projects you want to finish over the next three months, take a photo of each one and make your list. Please ensure that you have at least started your projects - pulled fabric with a pattern is now considered a UFO, and remember it is only finished projects that will get you an entry toward the above listed prizes. So while we love to see your bee blocks, the "finish" is when they are a completed, usable project.

It is very helpful if you tag your list as #2017FALQ3yourname when posting on social media: Flickr, Facebook & Instagram. Using the same hashtag over the quarter when sharing progress or finishes before the link, helps the hosts find your original list quickly - especially when this is done over a 3 month period. IMPORTANT: Don't forget to link your finishes up when the quarter closes.

The 2017 Q23link for your list of proposed finishes is now open below on my blog and on each of the hosting blogs. You need only link your list once, on one blog - and that link will show up on all of the blogs. If you are using Facebook, Flickr or Instagram, link a mosaic and put your list in the description. Katy of The Littlest Thistle has a great tutorial on how to link-up if you need it.

We also ask that you become part of the FAL community. Please check out the links of others - visit and comment on their lists. We all need encouragement to get those finishes done, so please share some of your own too. When creating your list there is one thing to remember....No deductions for not completing something so ..... Aim High! Nothing to lose!!! Well Now..... Get those lists together and get linked up. 

The Q3 proposed finish linky party will stay open until 11 pm EST, July 8, 2017- as we are global, you might want to check your time zone to determine your last possible time to link. Remember: you only need to link up on ONE hosting blog and it will automatically show up on all hosting blogs.

FAL 2017 - My Quarter 3 List

Let's see....  What might I finish this quarter?

Moda Love Baby Quilt
This quilt replaced the Pot Luck quilt I was stitching for my cousin's expected July newborn.  It should be a quick finish as there's only a label to finish and add now as soon as the little one has been named.

Quilt Now BOM
I would dearly love to progress the hand quilting significantly, if not finish, this quarter.  That's quite ambitious mind you, considering how much there is still to do.  Zoiks!

Cosy Christmas Quilt
Is it wishful thinking to be adding this one to my list again this quarter? Probably, but it's on here anyway.

Just 3 things on my list this quarter in the hope of focussing my attention better and perhaps getting finishes under my belt.  Who knows, it might work?

Linking up to FAL Quarter 3 Proposals.

Friday, 30 June 2017

2017 FAL: Quarter 2 End Tutorials #3 & #4

So sorry folks - yesterday became a little out of control and I forgot to tell you about Felicity's great Quarter End tutorial.  Skip across to her blog for a really neat interlinking churn dash block tutorial.

And, to catch up to the final tutorial for this week, Izzy is sharing a tutorial for binding a quilt by machine, so if you've ever wanted to know how that's done, check out her post here.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Finish Along 2017 - Quarter 2 Round Up

Time to review my Quarter 2 progress - not sure it's going to take long, folks!

Pot Luck Baby Quilt
This should have been my most likely finish this quarter, but I changed my mind once I'd stitched the top together and stepped sideways into a new quilt for the baby entirely!  This Pot Luck top has been donated to Bee Blessed, so I know it will be finished and given to someone deserving soon.

'Happy Days' BOM - Sarah Fielke 2016
I made progress by adding borders to the quilt centre and I'm very happy with it (and the progress).  It is, however, still very far from finished and I think, not really a likely contender for next quarter's list (nor even the one after that).

Moda Modern Building Blocks Quilt
Thanks to having outsourced for Trudification in the quilting stakes, I can declare an actual finish this quarter!  Go me!!

Quilt Now BOM
Not much progress on the hand quilting of this one, but that's ok. Slow and steady. Super slow and super steady, eh?

Cosy Christmas Quilt
Well, I had hoped not to carry this over to a third quarter, but looks like I will be.  I don't think I touched this at all since March.

Miss Winkle Scarf
So Miss Winkle became a Hitchhiker after all and by the skin of my teeth made it to a finish this quarter.  Sadly, I forgot to get a proper picture of the finish but I did get proof that it was finished in a photo of the blocking stage.

Hmmm - Two finishes and a smidgin of progress.  Wish it could have been more, but all things considered, I'm ok with that.  How did you all do?  I wonder who is the most prolific FAL finisher this quarter? 

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

2017 FAL: Quarter 2 End Tutorials #2

Tutorial week for the end of Quarter 2 continues with a neat idea for Framed Accent Strips from Karen over at Capitola Quilter.  Nip over and have a peek here.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

2017 FAL: Quarter 2 End Tutorials #1 - Twister Block

I'm delighted to be here for the end of 2017 FAL Quarter 2 tutorials week to share something fun with you.  At least, I hope you'll think it's fun.

I don't know about you, but sometimes I just love working on simple, effective blocks.  There are definitely seasons for complex patchwork with multiple techniques demanding much skill and attention, and then, there are times when I just want something that comes together swiftly.  Not because I care any less, but often for the joy of seeing progress that feels like progress, if you know what I mean.  Anyway, less babble.  I have one of these kind of blocks to share with you today for my FAL tutorial.  I hope you can see its potential and might even give it a go.

This block has been inspired by a pic I saw months ago online somewhere (probably IG) but there was no block name or details given, just a photo, so I'm sorry I can't give credit.  So I pulled together a little instruction for myself and am sharing it here as a free tutorial for you all.  I've also called the block the Twister block because of a 'twist' in the construction process and because it kind of reminded me of two those little wire twisting tabs you get. (Yes, my mind makes odd connections.) And, if you look at my flimsy above you'll see that in the negative space the shape of the coloured fabrics has been 'twisted' in the opposite direction.

Let me say from the outset that my method of constructing this block will work best with NON-DIRECTIONAL fabric, but I will give you the block cutting measurements for working with directional fabrics further down the post if that's what you prefer to use.  You'll see that my fabrics had me doing both.  Also, further down I've given you the fabric requirements for a lap size (60" square) version of the quilt top.

So, without further ado, here's how to make a Twister block:

Twister Block
12.5" square unfinished

Fabric A (solid background)
Cut 1: 6.5" x 7"
Cut 2: 3.5" x 7"

Fabric B (non-directional print)
Cut 1: 9.5" x7"
Cut 1: 3.5" x 7"
(Both of these can be cut from a single piece measuring 13" x 7")

Use scant 0.25" seam allowances throughout.

1.  First take one of the 3.5" x 7" pieces of your background fabric and stitch it to the larger 9.5" x 7".  Press the seam towards the darker fabric.  You now have a piece measuring 12.5" x 7".

2.  Cut this 12.5" x 7" piece in two as shown above to give you two pieces measuring 12.5" x 3.5" (see below).

3.  Just to mention: handle the pieces carefully where you have made the cut, just to prevent the seams opening where you have no excess of thread keeping them closed.

4.  Now 'twist' one of the pieces upside down on your mat so that your layout looks like the pic above and then sew the pieces together along the centre seam.  This time, I pressed the seam open just because I didn't want my strong red showing through my white background.  Leave the joined piece aside for a few minutes.

5.  Take your three remaining pieces of fabric and lay them out as I have above.  Join the background 6.5" x 7" piece to the 3.5" x 7" print fabric and then stitch the final 3.5" x 7" background piece to the bottom.  Press seams towards the darker fabric.  You now have a piece measuring 12.5" x 7".

6.  As before, cut this 12.5" x 7" piece in two to give you two pieces measuring 12.5" x 3.5".

7.  This time, you need to 'twist' the second piece upside down on your mat and make room between the two pieces for the piece you joined in steps 1 - 4.  Check that the layout is the same as the photo above and then stitch the two side pieces to the centre piece, pressing seams open.

8. And, yes, it really was that easy.  You now have a 12.5" square Twister block!

Now as promised, here are the cutting measurements for using DIRECTIONAL prints in your blocks.

The construction is simple, just join the pieces in columns and then stitch the columns together, taking care to press the fabrics whichever way best prevents darker fabrics showing through paler ones.

Love this fluttery pic of my flimsy - you can see I added a white border to finish.

Lap Quilt Fabric Requirements

Since the potential of this block is in its repeat, you might fancy making a few more and growing your blocks into a lap quilt. So, for those who might be interested, here are the fabric requirements for a 25 block quilt measuring 60" square:

Fabric A - Background solid - 2m
  • Cut 9 strips 7" x WOF,
  • From each 7" strip you will be able to sub-cut enough pieces for 3 of the Twister blocks (i.e. cut 6: 3.5" x 7" and cut 3: 6.5" x 7")

Fabric B - Print fabric - 13 fqs
  • Each block requires 13" x7" of print fabric so you will be able to cut enough fabric for at least 2 blocks from a fat quarter of fabric. (You might get three blocks worth from a generous fq.) 
  • I recommend 13 fat quarters for 25 blocks, cutting 2 blocks worth of pieces from 12 fqs and 1 from the final fq

Binding Fabric - half metre
  • You should be able to make sufficient binding from 6 strips cut 2.5" x FWOF (unless you add a border to the quilt, in which case you'll need to measure for yourself exactly how many strips you'd need)

I hope this tutorial and the extra cutting measurements are clear and helpful and that some of you at least will have fun with them!

This block would be a great one for Bees and charity block drives where you would end up with a lovely variety of prints, and your Bee mates will thank you for an easy month's stitching ;-)

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