Friday, September 29, 2017

Yay, autumn!

It's the best time of year! Summer is lovely and all, but my favorite season is autumn. I can finally break out the hoodies and the slow cooker. Halloween has always been my favorite holiday! I even have a stash of Halloween fabric that I've collected over the years... the plan was to make an awesome quilt for myself, but I love it all so much I can't bear to cut into it yet ;)

The summer months are a break for the Montreal Modern Quilt Guild, so I had plans to catch up on a lot of sewing, but I ended up taking a break myself and enjoying the time off. We finally got a community garden plot (after years of wait list limbo), so I spent a lot of time weeding and got a few cucumbers, tomatoes and a heap of lettuce for my efforts. Next year I think we'll tweak our plant and layout choices a bit, but I've been enjoying being a gardener!

I'm participating in my first online quilting bee, the Canadian Modern Quilt Bee. We started in September (with the Raspberry Kiss block) and it goes for 6 months... I was so excited to get started, I made my blocks the first weekend and had to wait ages for the next (we get a new block each month). We just got the block for October (the Checker block), so that will be my project this weekend ;) I'm in charge of November's block, so I'd better figure out which one I want to do... it's currently a toss-up between two. Maybe I'll just flip a coin.

I did manage to get a few small crafty projects done, including my first time making the 1-hour Basket:

Finished a quilt top (sorry for the less-than-exciting photo, I'll post a better one when it's done):

And even knit myself a new scarf! 

So I am prepared for the cool autumn weather... bring it on!

Friday, June 23, 2017

#QuiltsforQC - update

Things have been quiet here lately, but that doesn't mean I've been sitting around twiddling my thumbs! The Montreal Modern Quilt Guild has been working furiously on the #QuiltsforQC project and we finally have everything done. We received contributions from every Canadian province, as well as many US states and even as far afield as Germany, Italy and Australia. All in all, we received enough to have 50 completed quilts to deliver to the mosque in Ste-Foy next month. :) 

45 of the finished quilts - boyfriend added for scale.

I still need to photograph all of the finished quilts and we will have a summary blog post over on the MMQG blog, if you want to see the quilts close-up. It has been a learning experience, but also a heart-warming one and I sincerely hope that these quilts will convey our love and support to the recipients. 

In other non-house block related news, I've gotten sucked into the Freshly Pieced 2017 Summer Sampler. I have a soft spot for HST star blocks so this pattern is right up my alley :D I don't know that I will make every single star pattern they include (there are a number of fiddly paper-pieced ones), but I've got scrap bins that are bursting at the seams so I've been making some scrappy Alchemy Stars to start with: 

This is putting me in the mood to work on an upcoming project for the MMQG (we are on summer break until September). We're trying a skillbuilder challenge that will take place throughout the year with a new block by a different guild member each month. I am doing HST star blocks in the winter, so it's a great excuse to bookmark a million and one different patterns and sew up some examples! Now that the summer break is here, and the QC project is wrapped up, I hope to finally dig into some of my own projects for a change... it has been ages since I've worked on anything for myself! Time for some selfish sewing :) 

Friday, April 7, 2017

100 years

I have posted this quilt and its story before, but I wanted to mention it again today as it is the 100th anniversary of the events that inspired it.

One hundred years ago on April 7th, 1917, Joseph, Stephen, and Walter Jacobs, and their friend, Francis Pomeroy went out onto the ice to hunt, but they would not return. Months later, a fishing gaff belonging to one of the brothers (below) washed ashore with a message carved in the handle, the only clue as to what became of them.

The gaff, currently housed in the museum on Fogo Island

While on their hunt, the weather had closed in and the ice drifted away from shore, they had apparently wandered for a few days until realizing there was no hope of getting back to land. They carved "lay down perish April 11" on the wooden handle of the gaff and sit it adrift, hoping the tides would take it to shore.

The gaff is currently housed in a museum on Fogo Island, a seemingly innocent everyday artifact until you learn the story behind it. Alan Doyle of Great Big Sea happened upon it on a visit to the island and was inspired to write the song 'Laying Down to Perish'. Seeing Mr. Doyle in concert, he shared the story that inspired the song which in turn inspired my quilt.

While I have never been to the island and I know nothing of the men's families, one hundred years later I am thinking about them.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

DIY: quilt frame

Last summer, one of my fellow Mtl MQG members brought her PVC quilt frame to an event and I immediately wanted one. You could use it for hand quilting, you could use it for basting, it was light-weight and broke down to be stored flat! Very handy indeed for the apartment-dwelling quilter! I looked online and while you can find them state-side for relatively cheap, they're quite a bit more expensive here in Canada... but perhaps I could make a DIY version?

Spoiler alert: I made a DIY version :P 

So one weekend, I gave my boyfriend an excuse to go to Home Depot and while he browsed, I made a bee-line for the plumbing department. There I grabbed:
You could also get some end caps for the feet and even PVC adhesive if you wanted to glue the frame together, but I wanted mine to be collapsible so I just got the basics; all told, the bill came out to about $40. Pro tip: Make sure the PVC pipes fit in your chosen mode of transport before buying them, or else find yourself a very tolerant boyfriend who is willing to spend the drive home desperately clutching the pipes that are partly hanging out of the passenger side window. ;) 

On the way home, I swung by the fabric store and grabbed two sets of Q-Snap replacement clamps (which fit nicely on 3/4" PVC pipe). Then at home I simply used the boyfriend's mitre box and hand saw to cut down the PVC pipe into the following measurements:

Friday, February 10, 2017


A few weeks back, B and I went by train to Quebec City for our anniversary. We stayed at the Chateau Frontenac, we ate some delicious food, we walked around the old part of the city, we had drinks at the hotel's swanky cocktail bar, it was a lovely weekend.

Chateau Frontenac looks like Hogwarts!

Then the following weekend, a young man with a gun walked into a Quebec City area mosque during evening prayers and opened fire, killing 6 people and injuring many more. I was already sick of hearing about hate and bigotry in the news following the US election and inauguration, so the news of this shooting was the last straw. I went to bed that night feeling horrible, and woke up feeling... well, still horrible, but determined to do something about it.

I reached out to my fellow MMQG exec members and we all agreed... we needed to do something. So, taking inspiration from the Ottawa MQG's Fort McMurray project and the Orlando MQG's Pulse nightclub project, both of which we had contributed to, we started the #QuiltsforQC project. Because what do quilters do when things get bad? We quilt ;)

We put out a call on our blog for quilters to make up 12.5" square house blocks that we would then collect and make into quilts. Our goal was to have enough quilts to gift one to each of the families that lost a loved one in the shooting, and one to each of the people who were injured. We chose the 'house' theme so as to remind the recipients that this is their home and they have a right to feel safe here, because we as their neighbors and their community love and support them.

It has been heartbreaking to hear about the victims, and the grieving families they leave behind... but it has also been heartwarming to read all of the messages of love and support we have received for the victims from people wanting to help. It has not yet been two weeks since we posted the call to action and we have received offers and support from every Canadian province, at least a dozen different US States and even as far away as Italy! The Italian ladies will be mailing their blocks, although I was sorely tempted to offer to go collect them personally ;) We have received offers from people and guilds wanting to contribute everything from a few blocks, to full quilt tops and even completed quilts! There are even those who do not sew who have contributed funds to help us buy the supplies we will need to finish the quilts.

Last weekend B insisted that I show him how to use the sewing machine so that he could contribute a block, too. It took a while, but he picked out his fabrics, cut all of the pieces and sewed them together. He even did one of the seams on his grandmother's old treadle machine so that she could symbolically participate as well. I don't think he'll be taking up quilting any time soon, but he was pleased with the finished product. Here is his finished block:

If you'd like to see what others are doing, check out the hashtag #QuiltsforQC on Instagram. So far there are over 200 blocks posted publicly!

So as the blocks start to arrive in the mail from all over, our task begins in earnest as we need to start constructing the quilts. We will be holding a sew-in at Atelier Fiber Arts in Verdun on Sunday February 26th to kick things off... if you are local and would like to help out, come on by! If you're not local but still want to help, I encourage you to check out the MMQG's blog for more information.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

MQG Mini Quilt Swap

So back in the fall of 2016 I signed up for the MQG's first international swap. The theme was to be mini quilts, no larger than 24" x 24" and we would be paired up anonymously with a fellow MQG member to swap with. We shared our likes and dislikes when we signed up, so when you were paired up you got a little list of things your partner liked so you could make something that would suit their tastes.

On the *very* slim chance that my recipient might see this, I won't say who I'm swapping with, but I did want to share the finished product:

I have been looking for an excuse to make Libs Elliott's Rebel Quilt and this seemed like a good opportunity. My partner liked turquoise and orange, plus I threw in a bit of Kona Natural and some Michael Miller Luxe. This quilt is made up of 145 HST blocks, and the finished size of this is 18" square... I'll let you do the math on how many fiddly little pieces went into this. Oh god, so many burned finger tips from ironing all of those teeny, tiny HSTs...

But! The end result looks great, if I do say so myself, and the burns have mostly healed ;) There is a lot going on in this quilt pattern (and in the fabrics), so I went with simple straight-line quilting:

It will be off in the mail to its new owner in a few days... I hope she likes it! I'm quite curious to see what I get from my mystery partner, now!