Once Upon a Star Update

So, although I haven’t finished my McKenna Ryan quilt, Once Upon a Star, I am at the point where I am hand sewing down the binding and hanging sleeve. Then the real fun begins with the embellishing of the quilt!

Isn’t that border fabric perfect? You can’t see it from this picture but it looks like little Christmas balls. I didn’t have anything in my stash that would work so I had to go shopping! Oh no! If you are looking for batiks then the best place to go in Victoria BC is Bib’n’Tucker as they have the best selection and that is where I found the border fabric. I even got out of the store without purchasing anything else! Win for me (maybe not for the store lol).

A better picture of the border fabric, I quilted a freehand, holly leaf vine.

The above picture is a little dark but I thought it was cute. Both my fur babies are curious by nature so had to come to check out the quilt on the floor. They then had to greet each other which I guess they hadn’t done yet today. These two are so funny, they don’t cuddle together however they are usually not too far apart, do greet each other and even like to play together.

Quilt Pattern Thoughts

Ok so anyone who really knows me will know that I am not a big fan of following quilt patterns unless they are in an actual (professional, not self-published) quilting book. Why you might ask? Well, most quilt patterns are $12.00 and up. You can buy a magazine and get several patterns included for the same price. Cost aside, and yes I do realize people need to get paid for their work, I am a long arm quilter don’t forget, however in all my years quilting (and that is a few now) I have yet to use a pattern produced by anyone that does not have at least 3 or more mistakes in them. Ahh!!! Can you tell that is a pet peeve of mine!

The one exception to this is Quiltworx and yes she has errors in her patterns however she also posts all of the pattern corrections on her website and her patterns are quite complex. I have purchased and made fairly simple quilt patterns that have had numerous errors. I did a quilt kit from a Cosy Quilt pattern that had over 5 errors. The worst pattern I purchased (again as a kit)  had over 20 errors. This person actually pulled the pattern after I sent a very LONG email outlining every mistake I found. Yes, you read that right! 20 right down to fabric yardage required. This woman actually missed a border amount needed right off the back of the envelope. She said she had 3 people test the pattern, well maybe she did, however, no one actually READ the pattern that is for sure. Sizes were wrong pictures were backwards it was a MESS! Guess what, this person was selling this hot mess for …..$10.00 a pattern. Not a lot in the grand scheme of things but you would be some upset if you didn’t read the pattern through first (I always do) and figure it out in your head and realize that there were cutting mistakes. You would spend a lot of money on fabric for something that was never going to work.

I have made quilt patterns from magazines that were not right either. In fact, I know someone who just recently ran into trouble trying to put together a quilt from a magazine that was not that old. The magazine had dumbed the instructions down to one page and this poor woman was a newer quilter trying her best to figure out how to make this quilt from these awful instructions. I am pretty good at puzzles but it even took me a good hour to try to figure out what this poor woman needed to do to fix the issues. The amount of information that was missing from the instructions was simply criminal.

Wow, this has turned into a bit of a rant. This wasn’t my initial intent but I think I will leave the rant in because it does lead me into the next part of this post.

Thoughts on McKenna Ryan Patterns

McKenna Ryan patterns come looking like below.

Overall they look far more professional than most quilt patterns and they usually come with a price tag to match. You can purchase the patterns separately or as a kit. The patterns are put together in themes. Each applique themed pattern can be made separately as a small wall hanging or put together to create a much larger wall hanging. These are considered art quilts and are not designed to be washed or to be used as anything but wallhangings.

McKenna Ryan’s work is truly amazing and I love her quilt patterns and kits. Her designs are obviously original and a lot of thought and effort go into producing the designs.

Working with the Patterns

So, how did I find working with the patterns? At first, I found the patterns to be overwhelming and quite confusing. They come with two big newsprint sheets.

These are numbered with which order to start reading, however, I still found it to be confusing and not logically laid out, at least for my brain to figure out. Once I had figured out how to read the patterns, it helped as they were all the same. Still, it did take me three or four tries and the size of the paper was not helpful as I didn’t have anywhere I could lay it out easily until I finally took it up to the dining room table and laid it out there. In that way, I could see everything at once, read everything over and then it made more sense. You can see by looking at the picture that step 1 is on the inside, however, materials needed (the part where you figure out which fabric goes where is above step 6. Hardly helpful.

Step 2 is where you finally get the step by step instructions on how to actually make the quilt. For the most part this was fine, however, you have to watch what you are doing as there are errors! If you follow the instructions EXACTLY as written you will end up glueing pieces below others when they should have been on top. Looking at the placement guide and using logic is sometimes more helpful.

The biggest frustration I had (and maybe they have changed it on newer patterns) is that the placement guide was ALWAYS placed on the back side of where Step 2 is. The problem with that is you have to read step 2 BUT you need to use the placement guide to place your applique pieces.

A little hard to read something you are using. To fix the problem I finally photocopied Step 2 on a separate piece of paper. This was made even more frustrating as the patterns always had two pieces of paper! So why, oh why didn’t they put the placement guide on the second sheet! That would have made way more sense.

The other frustration is the kits weren’t consistent. Some kits had lots of fabric and if you screwed up no worries. Other kits had barely enough fabric. Honestly, like just a tiny square of fabric. Twice I had to go and use fabric from my stash which is fine. I have a large stash but you shouldn’t have to do this and like I mentioned some of the kits had more than enough fabric which actually turned out for the better as I stole from other kits on more than one occasion to make it work, but the kits were all the same price and apparently all come from Pine Needles so I don’t understand why the huge discrepancy.

Anyway, it is all good and they were fun to put together. Would I do another one? Yes, but I would have to love it a lot!

Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season and gets lots of quilting time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visiting Family

Ok, I am finally starting to feel better after being sick with a cold for over 2 weeks now! This has been really brutal. I actually spent 3 days in bed not even getting out of my pj’s. I am still not over the silly thing but at least I am feeling way better than I was (knock on wood).

The good thing about working for yourself when you are not well is that you can give yourself the time and space to get well without feeling an overwhelming sense of quilt. The bad thing is that there is no one to pick up the slack for you regarding work you do have to get done so it just sits and waits for you. Oh well.

Visiting Family

On the last weekend in November my Mom, a close family friend and myself travelled over to the Mainland to attend my new great-nieces baby shower. Isla came several weeks early and had been in the hospital all this time however she was allowed to come home just days before the shower so we all got to see her for the first time.

It was a great weekend with some Black Friday shopping thrown in, the first Christmas movies of the season watched with family and just generally a really fun time. Unfortunately for me, I started getting sick on the day we were travelling home and I was the driver. Well, at least there was no snow just lots of rain!

Lora, Joyce, Mom and Isla

The day of the shower a picture of the proud Grandmother (my sister) holding Isla my Mom the Great Grandmother and our longtime friend and “adopted sister” Lora.

Janice colouring with Georgia

I got to colour with my oldest great niece Georgia. I hadn’t seen her in about a year, and she is walking starting to talk and she was quick to figure out which crayon colours I was asking for. Smart cookie.

I brought over a giant tiger, he is bigger than Georgia.

Mom holding Isla. I only wish my Dad was alive to see his two great-grandchildren however I am sure he was with us in spirit.

I think this is my favourite picture of all time. Georgia finally getting to know her baby sister.

On the Quilting Front

On the Quilting Front, I did manage to work on the Once Upon a Star quilt for about 30 minutes to an hour each day so it is now on the frame and I only have the two side borders left to quilt.

So, side borders, those of you who may read this and quilt on a frame, do you tend to quilt the side borders (if you are custom quilting the quilt) as you work your way down the quilt or do you turn the quilt and quilt the borders all at once?

For me, it depends on the design I have decided to use. Some designs are fine to quilt as you go especially if you have other areas of the quilt you are doing with the same colour thread. Since I only have 18 inches of throat space to work with sometimes I find it much easier to just unpin the quilt, turn it, pin it back on the frame and quilt the side borders all in one pass. That is what I have decided to do with this quilt.

I will share more about that and my thoughts on the McKenna Ryan patterns in general on the next post.

Meanwhile Happy Quilting

Once Upon a Star

It’s getting near the most wonderful time of the year! What time would that be? Christmas of course. That is of course if you enjoy that time of year. Christmas used to be a stressful time of year, however, my husband and I have cut way back on the number of preparations and even gifts we get each other and others. I would just rather enjoy the time instead of stressing over holiday decorating etc. I wouldn’t want to end up looking like below!

Holiday Quilt Projects

Do you work on holiday quilt projects? Quilts for people for Christmas? I sometimes do although not for a few years now. I will have enough wedding and baby quilts to make soon enough. However, that said a few months back I was given a box full of quilting stuff from someone who’s Mom had recently passed away. In the box were several block kits from McKenna Ryan’s Once Upon a Star. Oh my, in fact, they were all there but one block and I happened to find the one I was looking for at Hamel’s Fabrics in Chilliwack. They had one left!!

It is always more fun to do projects together with friends so my neighbour and I decided to create the project at the same time. It has been fun and the top is almost ready to sew together.

Cute huh! I can’t wait to quilt it and then add all of the embellishments. I doubt this will get finished before Christmas though. I haven’t totally decided yet but I think this one may end up at the Church for a raffle but we’ll see as this was a LOT of work.

I Spy With My Little Eye

Another project I started many years ago now was an eye spy quilt. Has anyone ever made one before? Let me know in the comments if you have. I have been collecting the different fabrics to go into this for at least 10 years and I finally got what I need cut out and lo and behold the perfect background fabric was also found in the above box of gifted fabric. It is a dark green solid fabric and looks like it will work well for this project. I have completed one row (see the top of the picture below).

I have also been working on quilting client quilts some of which will be holiday gifts. One of which was a really cute chicken baby quilt made by Susan Teece. I LOVE it and it was so fun to quilt! Cute, cute, cute. I would love to make one for a baby in my life or just for me!

Hoodie Weather

So as mentioned above it is getting colder here although we still haven’t got the rain we usually get. The flats out the back are usually flooded by now but they are still dry. Cocoa is spending his time closer to the baseboard heaters these days and we have to put a sweater on him for his walks.

Not something he really likes but he dislikes getting cold more than wearing the jacket.

So that’s about it for me.

What are you working on, let me know in the comments below! Also, check out my Instagram.  

Vacation and Other Updates

So, what’s been happening around the studio these days? Well, first up I wasn’t in the studio for just over a week as I headed down to Orlando Florida to meet up with friends and do a jam-packed tour of several Disney parks and Universal Studios. It was an awesome trip, however, I was so tired when I got back that nothing much has been happening at all in the studio for the past week or so.

We ended up as a party of five as I met up with my friend Karen and her brother Tom and then we were joined by a long time friend of Tom’s and his wife. We were quite the mixed bag as Tom is from Schenectady New York, Karen has recently moved to Newport News Virginia and Colin and his wife hail from Gulf Port Mississippi. I was the lone Canadian in the group.

Here we all are, this was actually taken at Epcot which was our last day together but it was the only group photo I could find.

Here I am with Micky at Disney Animal Kingdom we are ready to go on Safari!

Here is the Volcano at Volcano Bay. The tube thing you may notice in the photo is a water drop (I would say slide but you actually just drop down it) and no I didn’t try this out. We had a lot of fun at the water park it was great being a kid again!

Here is Karen and I at a restaurant in Hollywood Studios, it was designed as a late 50’s early 60’s diner like Mom’s, you even got told off if your elbows were on the table or if you looked at your phone!

The stormtroopers marching down the streets of Hollywood Studios.

Me just before heading down to explore Knockturn Alley. I loved exploring all of the Harry Potter stuff at Universal Studios. I could have just stayed there all day. Next time I may just do that.

It was a great time, we did Disney Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Epcot Centre, Volcano Bay and Universal Studios-Islands of Adventure (Harry Potter). It was a lot of fun but I think if I go again I would like to space things out some with more downtime scheduled in between parks. I just missed hurricane Michael on my way through Atlanta airport and it was a rough hour flight from Atlanta to Orlando due to the hurricane but it was all good. We had sunshine, for the most part, however, it was unseasonably HOT and HUMID!! I never thought I would hear myself say this but I really enjoyed the air-conditioned exhibits and theatres when we could find them.

On the quilting front, I did finish a July Quilt a-long that Bold Notion Quilting was holding, of course, I was a few months late but better late than never. It is funny how you get really good at doing some quilting patterns but avoid others. I made myself go out of my comfort zone and do swirls on this one. I didn’t do to badly but still need a little more practice.

Since I managed to come back from the trip exhausted and then caught a cold I didn’t get much done but did pull out some hand work to do.

This is Block 11 of the Vintage Valentine pattern which I started hmm 12 or more years ago. It was supposed to be a block of the month, then it was a block of the year and now it’s whenever I remember to get it out and work on it. I choose to do it by needle turn applique. It is not my favourite method of working however, I am determined to finish this one day. I only have one more block and the centre medallion to go.

It’s odd though, I don’t even like the colour pink that much or hearts so whatever possessed me to take on this project still baffles me.

Oh well, may the quilting force be with you!

 

 

 

Finished Scrap Quilt

You know it’s interesting, I will have all of these great ideas about what I can write about in a blog post and then when I finally get time to sit down and write the post I find that all my great ideas either sound lame now or I’ve completely forgotten them. I am going to have to figure out a way to start to record the ideas so I have them ready when I sit down at the computer to actually write something.

A Quick Trip to Kamloops

Labour Day weekend saw my Mom and I heading up to Kamloops to spend the weekend with my Aunt, Uncle and Cousins. It was my Aunt and Uncle’s 62 wedding anniversary! It was great to see everyone it had been a while since I had seen my cousins. of course, we had to make a trip to the quilt stores and even hit a store selling knitting supplies. Although I love checking out other quilt stores wherever I go, I find that I have so much fabric already that unless I completely fall in love with something I just can’t justify bringing anything new home.  The one thing I did bring home though was a fabric Hobbit Panel, they had some middle earth fabric as well however I didn’t get any of that, and now I think maybe I should have. Oh well, may have to order it online if possible. Image result for Hobbit fabric panel

So you might be wondering why I would get a Hobbit panel (or not) since I don’t normally go for panels of any type. Well, the Hobbit movie was Kevin and my first date. Of course, I am a Lord of the Rings, Hobbit fan anyway. Now to figure out what I am going to do with the thing.

 

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Canadian Double 4 Patch Scrap Quilt

In other news, I finally finished a scrap quilt I have been working on for over a year. I finished the top last year but the top has been sitting around waiting to be quilted. I have so much fabric in my stash now that has been sitting around quite a while, that unless I have a specific pattern that I want to make I usually end up making scrap quilts. Besides, I actually think that using many different fabrics makes a quilt much more interesting to look at than just using 2 or 3 fabrics. I have to say I especially don’t like quilts that are made all from the same fabric line. I find these quilts very flat looking and actually boring to look at.

I showed this project on the design wall several months ago.

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I finally got it finished, bound and a label sewn on. Since it is red and white and I had a maple leaf pantograph I quilted it with that using a dark red Superior Sew Fine 50 thread. This was all from scraps except the border fabric which I had in my stash. The only thing I purchased for this was the backing fabric, which I noticed I forgot to take a picture of. Even the batting was from several scraps I pieced together. Almost a free quilt!!

Free Pattern

I even completed a free pattern for those who might want to make one themselves. You can find it on the new free pattern page! Try one it sure uses up a lot of 1.5 and 2.5-inch squares you may have lying around.

Happy Quilting.