Early Holiday Quilt by Dizzy Quilts

Isabelle Jean of Dizzy Quilts is a fellow Montreal Modern Quilt Guild member and impressive quilter who, I am thrilled to say, has whipped up (she’s really quick too) this sweet Patio Quilt using each and every fabric from my Festive Forest collection.

Isabelle Jean Festive Forest Quilt

It really shows off the fabrics beautifully, looking like bright, clean windows out onto the forest world. Isabelle chose to quilt with a free motion random floral motif that adds great texture.

Isabelle Jean Festive Forest Quilt detail

This quilt is fat quarter friendly, even though it is very generously sized at about 70″ x 80″. Have a closer look at Isabelle’s blog to see more on this quilt and her other beautiful creations.

Isabelle Jean Festive Forest Quilt detail2

Thanks for your fabulous contribution Isabelle.

CQQ Quilt Show 2014

Posted by on Jun 5, 2014 in Blog, Montreal Modern Quilt Guild | One Comment

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the largest biennial quilt show in Quebec. There was a wealth of beautiful work on display and I thought I’d share a bit of the eye candy with you today. There was quite a range of styles, as one would expect. These are just a few that caught my attention. Enjoy!

agnes wong

My friend, Agnes Wong with her lovely “Swooning” quilt. I love her fabric combinations that make your eye dance around the quilt.

cinzia allocca

Our guild’s president, Cinzia Allocca’s stunning “I Don’t Wear Blue”. She does improv quilting so, so well.

deborah kemball

deborah kemball detail

Deborah Kemball. All hand appliqued & yes, hand quilted. Gorgeous! And the first photo is only about a quarter of the whole quilt!

helena scheffer

Helena Scheffer

josee carrier red

This beauty is by the amazing Josee Carrier, our guild’s vice-president. She is an engineer by training and her work always blows me away. Her accuracy, her quilting (I believe she quilts all her pieces herself) and her fabric choices are always superb.

josee carrier

josee carrier detail

Another of Josee’s pieces with a closeup to inspire me in my quilting training.

les courtepointieres d'Asbestos

Simple and so pretty, all those little bright squares. Happy, happy. A group piece by Les Courtepointiers (“quilters” in french … I still can’t say it properly) d’Asbestos.

lucie robichaud

A detail of some black and white by Lucie Robichaud.

sashiko quilt

Lovely sashiko work. I foolishly did not capture the artist’s name in the photo, so unfortunately cannot tell you who did it, nor the next one, which I love for its graphic nature and its unexpectedness. There’s just something about it that calls to me.

doily quilt

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing just a bit of what great talent there is in my backyard.

Pattern or Solid?

Posted by on Apr 17, 2014 in Blog, Montreal Modern Quilt Guild, Quilts | 2 Comments

The Montreal Modern Quilt Guild is making their banner. Members were asked to contribute a 6.5″ unfinished block of their choice using fabrics with the guild colours.

guild banner coloursThis challenge has driven home the importance of knowing one’s techniques. A 6.5 inch block tends to put a focus on detail, measurement & technical ability and eliminates the philosophy that I can just wing it. A challenge indeed! It has also opened my eyes a bit to modern quilters’ use of solid (or almost solid) fabrics. Something for me to ponder …

As penance for discovering after the fact that the oldest of all quilt blocks is not constructed as I thought, I decided on a simple border on border on border log cabin block.

quilt guild banner block

While I measured and cut everything very accurately, my scant quarter inch seams were not quite as precise as I would have liked (I choose to blame that on my crummy sewing machine). Not bad, though. And, yes, I know purists would balk at my haphazard placement of long and short sides of each border, but, quite honestly, it is more the overall look I was going for and I am not very good at following rules.

Then I thought of doing something that is quintessentially Montreal. A quick google search of graphic Montreal images brought me to the map of the city’s subway system.

montreal metro map

It could not have been more perfect in terms of colours. There’s the orange, blue and green lines, and I could take artistic license with the yellow one and make it chartreuse. Alas, time has been my enemy of late and I could not get it all figured out and sewn prior to our meeting. Perhaps down the road…

guild banner blocks

When all the blocks were put up on a board at our last meeting I realized I tend to use much more patterned fabrics than many in the group. While I love the look of many solid fabric quilts, as you can see on my Pinterest board, I just can’t seem to help myself … the pattern just keeps creeping in there. A designer recently said to me while reviewing a collection of mine, that most people, while they might appreciate pattern and colour, don’t actually use them much in reality. That they tend to opt for neutrals in their homes, their clothing, what have you. She said she was one of them & asked if I was the same. I had to say a resounding no! I love colour and I love pattern. Given the choice of buying a plain grey or striped cushion or one with some fanciful colourful pattern, give me the pattern and happy colour every time, please.

I am wondering, are you one who opts for pattern or plain? I see merit in both, I just tend much more heavily in one direction.

Rainbow Charm Quilt

At our January Quilt Guild meeting we did a charm (5″ square of fabric) swap. We each had to bring a print and a solid of our chosen colour for as many people as were participating. Among 15 of us, this little rainbow bundle of fabric was what we each left with.

rainbow charm swap

I knew right away that I wanted to create something for my colour-loving almost-8-year old, and I wanted to use all the exchanged fabrics, whether they were colours I would normally be inclined to sew with or not. Wanting to keep things simple and graphic I opted for a very pared-down log cabin pattern … which I realized, after I had finished the whole thing, was not a real log cabin. I now know (I should really stop assuming I know what I am doing when I have not done so much as a moment of research on such a simple thing) the log cabin is a very easy block to sew. My version, while I may prefer it aesthetically, was a tad frustrating to piece together. None-the-less, it all worked out.
log cabin construction

I cut each square into 4 and bordered these little squares with white, a tone-on-tone patterned white and an off-white from my stash, all in random order, to balance the intense colour. This is what I ended up with.

rainbow quilt

You can see I offset one column of blocks by half a block to subtly break the pattern.

I didn’t want to do a back of just one piece of fabric and when I asked the intended young recipient what she thought, she suggested a reversible quilt, so she could have more options. Full of smart ideas she is, this girl of mine. I pulled out my ruler, large sheet of paper and sharpened pencil and got to work. I definitely wanted to fly with the rainbow theme, but keep the overall look a bit sparser than the front. Ta-daa!

rainbow quilt back

I used a few fabrics that are so very Emma, like the Heather Ross mermaid and other pretty ones she had chosen during fabric store trips with her Mama, with a few of my own fabrics thrown in there too.

rainbow quilt back detail

For me, hand quilting just multiplies the love in the giving. I found six or seven colours of pearl cotton (I was only able to find No.5 weight which is a bit too heavy to easily hand stitch with in fine fabric. I will be ordering a finer gauge next time around) and outlined the squares on the front, co-ordinating thread colour to fabric colour.

rainbow quilt front detail

I did no want the quilting lines to interfere with the diamonds on the back, so I stopped at the edges of the diamond arc paths and switched to basic white quilting thread to continue the squares in these areas.

rainbow quilt back detai3

I opted for this happy print of mine, Confetti, to bind it.

confetti fabric

I needed something that gently defined the edge without overpowering the quilt or boxing it in (as a strong colour would have) and that played well with all the colours already dancing around the quilt.

rainbow quilt corner detail

Both the maker and the recipient are pleased with the outcome.

Should you wish to make a quilt top like this, here is the cutting guide for the “Real” Log Cabin block shown above, using a quartered charm square for the centre:

– Cut each charm (5″ square) into 4 (2.5″ square)
-a- 1 piece 2″ x 2.5″ white or off-white fabric
-b- 2 pieces 2″ x 4″ white or off-white fabric
-c- 1 piece 2″ x 5.5″ white or off-white fabric

Using the “Real” block diagram above as a guide, sew the bottom piece -a- to the centre square, press seam open. Sew the 2 sides -b- on. Press seams open. Sew on the top piece -c- & press seam open.

That will leave you with a block measuring 5.5″ square. Divide 5″ (that’s 5.5″, less your 1/4″ seam allowance on all sides) into whatever width & length of finished quilt you desire, multiply these 2 numbers together, and add 1 for the offset row, and you have the number of blocks you need to make. My finished quilt is on the small size, 45″ x 60″, so I made (9 x 12 + 1) 109 blocks. Divide this number by 4 to calculate the number of charm squares you need, in my case, 28. Sew together finished blocks into long strips the length of your quilt. Make your offset row 1 block longer, line up the centres of the end blocks on this row with your other row ends & cut off the excess at each end, pin & sew these strips together to finish your top. Simple as that.

And I won’t give you instructions for the diamond side at this time, as I figured it out as I went along, and I don’t want to lead you astray. Trust me, it’s better this way. I will refine my process and practice the diamonds a few times prior to writing instructions, then when you try it you will think fondly of me.

Learning to Quilt

I have been feeling a bit like a fish out of water at Quilt Market … like a fraud waiting to be called out as such. While I started my first quilt many years ago, until this past year I have only made a quilt for each of my children. By no means prolific, I would not even consider giving myself the label of “quilter”. So at Quilt Market, surrounded by so much talent, I wait for someone to walk by and laugh at the few quilts I have produced and point out that I have no clue what I am doing.

In the desire to by educated, I went on an online search a few months ago in hopes of finding a group of local modern quilters who were not all francophone (while I can get by bilingually after many years of struggling with a second language, I am still far more comfortable, and certainly absorb and contribute more in my native tongue). I was so thrilled to discover the Montreal Modern Quilt Guild, a branch of the Modern Quilt Guild. Sign me up! I went to my first meeting in November and found myself surrounded by a group of very talented women who have a similar love of fabric and of the hand made as I do.

So now I am being educated on the art and the craft of the quilt, my eyes are being opened to new-to-me techniques and approaches, and I am definitely being inspired by the work of these creative women. Bi-monthly sewing challenges are sure to get me to try things I would not otherwise and to see things differently … always a good thing. My first project:

quilted name badge front

Front and back of a quilted name badge for a fellow member (size: approx. 4″x5″). My first attempt at random cutting & piecing and sewing curves.

quilted name badge back

Here’s to never wanting to stop learning, and to being inspired by the abundance of talent out there, even so close to home. And to developing new relationships with those that share a passion.