Thursday, June 21, 2012

Happy Summer!

It's officially summer and HOT in Montreal! And as the kids are off school as of tomorrow, I will be taking a blogging break. I will be back before the end of summer though! the entrance to my Gazeebo!

See you soon!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Dancing in the Wind!

That's what I'm calling this one.

Next up on my list of nieces and nephews to receive a quilt was Sara, who happens to be my Godchild. Sara simply requested that I put some pink in her quilt and left the rest up to me.
In a previous post I shared the beginnings of the quilt:

The design was loosely inspired by this quilt and this one.
I love the freeform improvisational style!

I used pieces from my scrap bins to make the colorful strips. 

I think they look like streamers dancing in the wind. Hence the name. It's fitting for my niece too, as she loves to dance.

The little strip towards the right that is higher than all the others is her. She loved to hear that!

I made the binding with the same fabric I used for the background, but added two colored strips on either side of the quilt.  I tried to make it look like the streamers 'float off the edge'. An idea I got from Katie's 'Anything Goes' quilt (seen here).

I used four different colored threads for the quilting: pink, green, blue, and yellow.

I simply started with one color thread and quilted wavy lines about 2 inches apart. Then I went back and stitched in different colors in between the lines.

I think that the polka dot fabric adds to the festive flair of the quilt.  And Sara loves it, too!

 Six nieces left to sew for!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

When Inspiration strikes... just have to let it out!

Usually when I am working on a quilt, cutting and sewing away, I throw the fabric leftovers from that project into a pile by my cutting table.  The pile then makes its way into a basket and waits until I have time to sort through it all and organize it into my scraps bins.
Sometimes, it takes a good long while before I get to that and I end up with piles from various projects waiting to be sorted. 

Last weekend, I took some time to sort through a few piles.

I folded the larger pieces and stacked them to the side and sorted the scraps by color. As I later arranged them on my shelves, piles from different projects ended up sitting next to each, and I thought they made an interesting color story for a quilt. I left them there together and decided that, after I finish working on current projects, I would eventually come back to them and see what I could come up with.
Later, as I went about my day, doing housework, preparing dinner, sorting laundry and such, an idea for a quilt began to unfold and I suddenly had the urge to go down to my studio.
I pushed that urge to the back of my mind thinking that I have unfinished projects and pending deadlines to get to before starting something else.
But the urge just wouldn't go away. It kept getting stronger and stronger.  And, as I casually walked past the stairs to the basement to get from the laundry to the kitchen, a force so strong just just sucked me down! I tried to claw my way back up but the force was stronger than I.

So I calmly took the pile of fabrics off the shelf and started to arrange them on my design wall trying to see if I could bring what I envisioned to life.

The only 'new' fabric in the mix is the black and white polka dot.

These were the only blue and green fabrics I had so I knew I had to do some clever cutting and piecing to make sure I had enough.

 The red fabric was intended to be a heart from the start and was the inspiration behind the design.
 I had to add that darker blue piece to the top in order to make a strip that was wide enough.
 Each individual strip is pieced...
And here is the finished top.
It will be a small quilt, about 36X43, and it'll be awhile before I get around to quilting it. But at least I was able to get it out and get on with other chores.  And I'm glad to say that all my other deadlines have been met this week!

I'm curious to know, have you ever been hit by inspiration at a weird time and you just had to let it out?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Heartfelt Thank You... everyone who visited me yesterday during my turn in Plum and June's blog hop. All your lovely comments are much appreciated!

And thank you to Heather and Megan from Quiltstory for featuring another one of my quilts today!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

'Let's Get Aquainted' Blog Hop

Today is my turn in the blog hop hosted by Beth at Plum and June.  Beth asked us to answer some questions about ourselves in regards to sewing and quilting.

Here's my little story (a warning that  i may sound a little philosophical.  I just get that way sometimes!):

First off, my name is Cinzia, pronounced chintz-ee-ah!

How long have you been sewing/quilting?

Unlike many sewers/quilters that I read about, I did not grow up watching my mother sit by the sewing machine…my mother never did own one, but I always wished that she did!  She did however, teach my sisters and I the basics: how to sew a button, mend, and hem our own pants by hand, and iron a mean shirt!  Which, along with being able to cook a meal and make a bed, I believe are basic domestic skills anyone should learn (male or female).
My sister and I used to make clothes (by hand) for our Barbie dolls from scraps that our aunt gave us or by cutting up old clothing.  other than sewing I always pursued some kind of creative hobby, from drawing to scrapbooking, flower arranging, bookbinding, tole painting and so many more...I have always had a need for a creative outlet.   

Right before I had children, I decided I wanted buy a sewing machine. Never even having tried one before it was just something I thought I should have (read my post about it here). 
I am pretty much self-taught.  I have always been the kind of person who, when I see something I like, instead of saying I’d like to buy that, I’d say ‘let me figure out how to make that’.
I did make a lot of mistakes along the way (A LOT!!).  But that is how I learned my best lessons. I’ve spent a lot of time deciphering what went wrong and unpicking and redoing.

When my son was 1, I decided I want to make him a quilt. Again, I looked to a simple store bought quilt that I owned and tried to figure out how to make it. Of course I did a lot of things ‘wrong’, like buying WAY too much fabric and not knowing I had to hide knots in between layers. I just left them in the back!  But it has held up (my son is now 14) and we still use it everyday. 
I did eventually take a quilting class when my daughter was 1 and my son was 3. I learned to make a twin-sized sampler. It was all made by hand with very traditional blocks. It’s so different from what I am making today!

When I discovered the world of modern quilting a couple of years ago, I was totally hooked! What i like about it is that it allows for so much creative freedom within a medium (sewing) that i enjoy. I don't like to follow patterns so coming up with new designs is what I like best.

Best Sewing/Quilting tip?

Based on everything I’ve learned throughout the years, my best tip to anyone would be “Practice makes better!”. My teenage son thinks it’s a cop-out but I believe otherwise.  I say forget perfection because it doesn’t exist and the pursuit of it can be paralysing. Accept that mistakes will be made and move on from there.  If you enjoy what you are doing you’ll persevere no matter what.

Favorite tool?
As much as I love my sewing machine, I would say my hands are best tool (I wrote a post about that too: see it here).  Just as they are for the musician, the painter, the bread maker, without our hands, our instruments are rendered useless. 
And while we are on the topic of hands, I'll share a link to video tutorial i made on how to use a thimble (see it here).
Please know that I wanted to write up a new tutorial for this post but I am having technical difficulties with my computer and i could not access my pictures!