Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Plotting a Little Quilt

I've been having some fun, friends!

It involves some of my most favourite fabric.


And my new favourite quilting book.


And a cocktail shaker or 7.

That's double-O 7.

All will be revealed on September 22 (with a giveaway!), but if you can't wait until then, 
have a look here or here 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Bumblebee takes it!

Thanks to everyone who had a look around Mad About Patchwork's shop and specifically Pam's lovely curated bundles. This one, Flight of the Bumblebee proved a popular choice! In fact, it was the choice of our winner!

Flight Of The Bumblebee

It's lucky number 43....

A hearty slap on the back and congratulations to my Aussie pal Kirsty!!!! Yes, that's you Madame Bonjour!  My entire family had the pleasure of visiting with Kirsty and her two littlest over delicious cups of coffee and hot chocolate, in Aix en Provence a couple of years ago. If you are wondering how we ran into an Aussie mom of four in the south of France, you'll just have to head on over to her blog and have a gander back (waaaaay back) through her incredible photo essays.  But before you do that, be sure to check out her latest pattern, the gorgeous Diamonds in the Deep. Kirsty is a VQC - Very Clever Quilter.  Shoot me an email with your home addy girl - I'll have Pam get your Flight of the Bumblebee bundle on it's way (waaaaaay) down under!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Mad About Patchwork and a Giveaway!

Hello there and welcome to my new partner, Canadian quilting retailer Mad About Patchwork from my 'hometown' of Ottawa (I say hometown because that is where I did the bulk of my high schooling, although I only lived there for 5 years of my life). I miss the Rideau Canal, my favourite thing about Ottawa in summer and winter!

Mad About Patchwork

Mad About Patchwork is an established Canadian online shop with a focus on fabric and patterns for modern quilters. With personal customer service from Pam and her helpful staff, fair prices, and same day shipping from Ottawa, it’s a sweet deal for Canadian shoppers.  Pam opened the shop in 2008 as a part-time venture from her basement, but this year she moved to a new brick and mortar location, with friend and business associate Laura.  Follow all of their adventures in sewing on the shop blog.

Your favourite modern basics are always in stock – my go to neutral EssexLinen (for $9/yd), Westminster shot cottons and over 200 bolts of Kona cotton.  Here are a few of the shop's special services you should know about:
  • A custom die-cutting service for Kona cotton – your choice of any in-stock colour cut into 5” charms (in packages of 40) or 2.5” strips (in packages of 20).
  • Books are always 20% off retail price
  • Patterns ship for free! If you don’t see what you’re looking for, send an email. We will do our best to bring in a book or pattern that you’re having a hard time finding. 
  • custom gift certificates for gift-giving

A peruse of their September sales section turned up some great stash builders, like several Denyse Schmidt prints (Posy!) and Stitch Circles and Squares for only $8/yd!

Stitch Circles in Stone

Or this adorable Wee Wander Meander in Petal

Wee Wander: Meandering in Petal

Or my favourite Mormor Pilvi print in eggplant

Mormor: Pilvi in Eggplant

Pam also offers pre-orders on lines coming soon. There are 45 Cotton & Steel prints to choose from and I've already made my pre-order!  I'm also going to choose a few of the geometric Gramercy prints from Leah Duncan - I love Commute by Taxi, NY Circuit in Ashen and Manhattan's dawn.

The Giveaway
Head on over to Mad About Patchwork's online shop and have a look around. Choose your favourite custom curated FQ bundle on this page and you could win that bundle!  You've got three chances to win a bundle of 9 FQ's:

1. Leave a comment naming your favourite custom curated bundle.

2. Like Mad About Patchwork on Facebook and leave a second comment letting me know you did (or already do!). There is a convenient Like button on their shop sidebar.

3. Follow Poppyprint on Bloglovin', or if you already do just let me know in your third comment.

I'll emply the Random Number Generator on Sunday, September 14 around my dinnertime to choose a winner.

International entries are most welcome.  You MUST leave a way for me to contact you. If you are no reply blogger, or wordpress blogger I cannot reply to you, so please leave your email in your comment (you can use the format jane(dot)doe(at)gmail(dot)com if you like). If I can't find you, I'll have to draw another winner and that's a bummer!

Comments are now closed, thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Strike Camp

Our kids are not in school. I'm trying to stay calm, but our son is supposed to be in his final year of high school and the teacher's strike is still full on because the union leadership and provincial government employees are behaving like....well, they are NOT behaving! At least not like the professionals!  Talks have repeatedly broken down, the provincial mediation guru has walked out, the government continues to provoke the union with unrealistic offers, the union continues to demand too much money. I just want my kids in school and my teacher friends working.  I think they should televise the talks so that we can all monitor behaviour and see what is really going on behind the closed doors and media black out. At least maybe then they'd act like grown ups.

Buccaneer Bay 2014

So, instead of returning to classrooms last week, the kids and I returned to one of our favourite places: Thormanby Island. We had our own little strike camp with our hosts: my generous friend Andrea and her dad Bruce.  His sweet pup Sophie entertained us, too!  B was able to join us for the weekend and we had such a nice time reading, playing cards, hiking, swimming, paddle boarding, eating and drinking (sunset happy hour on the beach!). We've enjoyed a record-breaking hot, dry summer that just keeps on giving. The weatherman says we'll have sun right through till this Sunday, with temperatures heading back up to the high 20's Celsius.

Here's a little photo summary of our extendo-summer 5 day trip:

Buccaneer Bay 2014
This is how people and stuff get from the dock to the cabin one bay over

Buccaneer Bay 2014

Buccaneer Bay 2014

Buccaneer Bay 2014

Buccaneer Bay 2014

Buccaneer Bay 2014

Buccaneer Bay 2014

Buccaneer Bay 2014
deer tracks in the sand

Buccaneer Bay 2014

Buccaneer Bay 2014

And while I'm here, I just need to say Happy Anniversary to this incredible husband of mine. I never, ever, dreamed 28 years ago when you introduced yourself to me in Physics 101 that we'd end up together 3 years later and married now for 20 amazing, happy years!

Buccaneer Bay 2014

  I so look forward to the next 20, B. xoxoxox

Monday, September 8, 2014

Chess On The Steps!

Finally! I've been waiting so impatiently to share this quilt with all of you.

Chess On the Steps by Poppyprint

The design is inspired by an anonymously-made vintage quilt I saw two years ago in Blaine at the American Quilts - The Democratic Art exhibit. Photographs were not permitted at the show and the book was sold out. I later purchased it from Amazon, but "my" quilt wasn't included in the hardcover book!  Thank goodness I had sketched it on the back of a receipt found in my bag; this simple concept has been on my mind for ages.  The original quilt was made with fabric scraps of solids and prints in cotton, wool and polyester. I recall that the vertical borders contained a lot of solid red scraps with colourful prints and the horizontal borders had mostly brown and black solids mixed with light-coloured prints.    

If you've been reading Poppyprint for a while, you may recognize that I've made a few other projects using the same piecing technique, which I've called Improv Under the Influence. See them here, here and here.  It is a technique that I'm excited to teach (four workshops lined up for the coming year in both modern guilds and traditional ones!).  It is my hope that it will appeal equally to improv-curious traditional quilters as well as those who've already embraced modern quilting.

Chess On the Steps by Poppyprint

Outside the Vancouver Art Gallery, there are always several games of chess going on. These take place on, or near, the former courthouse steps.  The basis of this quilt design is one large Courthouse Steps block, built around the central improv chess (or checker) board.  That's how I came up with the name. Possibly over-complicated, but that's me.

Chess On the Steps by Poppyprint

This quilt is currently the Pattern of the Month, free for members of the Modern Quilt Guild. I am so happy to be able to share the piecing technique with members of the guild.  After some time on the guild's website (on the community page), I will be permitted to sell it here for non-members. I do however, encourage you to join the MQG, which you can do as an individual if there is no satellite guild near you. The resources available to members are outstanding and include a free modern quilt pattern every month, regular webinars on really interesting topics, discounts at QuiltCon, fabric challenges with amazing prizes and so much more!  

Chess On the Steps by Poppyprint

This quilt was made entirely of the new Colourshott shot cottons generously provided by Michael Oakshott. The quilting was all done with free-form (unmarked) lines with my Pfaff IDT (built in walking foot).  I just followed seams in the piecing and went for it.  There are 7 coordinating colours of Aurifil 30 wt thread on the quilt.  Sewing with these shot cottons is so enjoyable as the colours are beautifully saturated - at times I feel like I'm working with sari silk!

Colourshotts used for Chess on the Steps

What do you think? Are you a traditional quilter that is improv-curious, or a modern quilter looking for a new, fun piecing technique? Check out the pattern!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Oakshott Weekend Sale and Free Shipping!

In the true spirit of enabling, and as an appreciation to Michael Oakshott's generosity in providing me with project fabric, I am passing along the news that Oakshott has a wonderful offer this weekend. You know that I don't blog a lot of advertising, but when I believe in a product and there's a great deal, I want to pass it along to all of you.  If you've been wondering about Oakshott, this weekend is your chance to save! I've had the distinct pleasure of working with Oakshott Lipari and most recently their new Colourshott's.  You'll see my new Colourshott quilt soon!

This gorgeous F8 bundle of "Italy" cottons that are shot with a silvery grey for gorgeous subtlety are on offer for only 15 pounds Sterling! A savings of 50%.  I could see this fabric used to great effect as a shadow element in a tumbling blocks quilt design.

This 30 FQ stack of Colourshotts is on sale for 169 pounds Sterling (down from 180). Oakshotts come 54" wide off the bolt, so these 27" x 20" FQ's are plenty large to split with a friend!

There are  plenty more quilting fabrics on super sale this weekend, including lovely stripes and plaids that would also be perfect for garment making. Free international shipping codes available here as well.  If you go in with a friend on a larger order you can qualify to have your fabrics send lickity split by Fedex for absolutely nothing!

Michael Oakshott is one of the kindest, most generous people I've ever met in the fabric industry. I'm more than happy to promote his family's business and amazing quality fabric!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Uhm, You Missed a Spot

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of visiting Thormanby Island again. My generous friend A invited our little gang of island-hopping quilters that usually descend on Mayne Island every February for a retreat. As you can imagine, our February weekends are almost always spent indoors, enjoying the cozy sewing room while buckets of cold winter rain fall outside.  Let me just say that our August weekend together had 90% more sunshine and about 20 degrees of Celcius more to enjoy (as an August weekend should!).

The perfect cabin quilt!

It stood to reason that I should bring along my almost finished scrap vomit quilt - which, by the way, I will now refer to as the Scrapalicious quilt. This quilt has been over a year and a half in the making (actually I've pieced two of these tops and have enough squares cut to make a few more!).

  • Katy's fab tutorial for the quilt is here
  • See my Anti-Voodoo piecing tutorial for making sure your squares make it from the design wall to the machine in the right order using a method I learned years ago from a favourite quilting teacher. This works for efficiently piecing blocks into a quilt top as well.
  • A post including a pic of the second top I've pieced with different coloured "B" blocks is here 
Back in February I'd finished the quilting and attached the binding while on Mayne.  As I do with all large quilt bindings, I pressed the binding to the back and temporarily secured it with tiny dots of Roxanne's Glue-Baste-It.  Hand-sewing the binding has been a hit and miss 'whenever I feel like it' activity for months and it needed to just. get. done. I figured if I brought the quilt along to sleep under, I could finish off the binding in the daylight hours while sitting on the sunny deck. Which I did. Wearing a bikini. OMG. That's all I'm saying about that.

Scrapalicious by Poppyprint

And then I came home and washed the quilt. When I pulled it from the washer and saw batting and frayed thread, I had a momentary coronary event thinking that something had ripped the quilt, until my brain registered that, in fact, I had missed sewing down about 20" of binding!!! So, yeah, I missed a spot. Oops.

Scrapalicious by Poppyprint
Scrapalicious: the Full Frontal

So, although you've seen several iterations of this quilt from blocks, to top, to quilted top, now it is finally complete, washed and folded on the back of our family room couch for everyone to enjoy.  Even this little gnomey.

Scrapalicious by Poppyprint

I free-motion quilted it in an all-over interlocking flower pattern that I learned last year in a FMQ class with local teacher Lynne Fanthorpe.  I had so much difficulty with the Sulky 40wt thread I was using - it was breaking constantly and driving me mental with stopping/starting and burying threads. I finally had to abandon it from frustration but when I resumed quilting at Mayne my friends helped me discover that the variegated spool I was using was simply 'bad thread'. It broke with a gentle tug! I had pulled my hair out and came very close to tears thinking that my machine, the tension, the batting, the many needles I tried, or my skills were to blame. I've never experienced bad thread before. Luckily, I had a second spool of the exact same brand and colour variegation that I purchased on the same day as the offensive spool. The second one worked PERFECTLY FINE. Bizarre. 

Next time I'm sticking with Aurifil thread and less involved quilting. I'll also do a more careful check of the binding before my quilt gets its first wash!

Scrapalicious by Poppyprint