Story of a Quilt

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Many months ago, I started a quilt. I randomly decided on this tiny triangle pattern (I do not like to research or look for patterns, I like to make things right now…) in hopes that it would use up a lot of my scrap fabric. Well, it did, and then in order to finish it I cut into lots of other fabric too – I really had no idea what I was getting into. When the Christmas rush of work took over the fall season, I put this project away. Then in the last weeks of December (the weeks that are generally very crafty anyway) I decided that I would finish it. I was at these triangles every spare minute and into the night. Over 1500 pieces later, I was. going. to. finish. it.

I completed the top just days before we headed to visit family – I took the quilt along hoping to make use of the quilting supplies at my parent’s church. I’m so glad there were other willing hands to help, which makes it that much more special to me in the end. Since I rarely do projects that involve this much time or materials, finishing this quilt felt epic. I’m guessing it’s the very last steps that keep quilters coming back for more (not so much, I think, the parts in the middle, when so much work has already been done and you’re asking yourself, do I even like this?) I don’t find that in quick projects there is room or time for me to doubt myself. In big projects, oh, there is loads of that.

Here is a how it came together:

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  1. The first hundred or so tiny triangles (the aforementioned ‘no idea what I was getting into’)
  2. Sewn into 40 blocks, laid out for the final design – just trying to make sure no two pieces of the same fabric were touching.

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3. Quilt top, two middle layers of bamboo, and bottom stripes (a lovely Marimekko flat sheet that I knew would wear well) sandwiched on a frame and ready for tying.

4. My mom, and friends (and kids!), came to help with the tying. It’s more fun that way.

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5. Two of my besties. Striped shirts mandatory.

6. Sewing on the top side of the bias binding edge – the first time I’ve done this! 1/2″ bias binding from Bumble of Beesquilt (7)

7. Many hours later, after handsewing the back of the binding in place. Complete!

Several weeks have passed and the quilt is still exactly there, like in that photo above. That’s where I read and stay warm, it’s the perfect spot to enjoy it.

To those of you who followed along with this over the months on Instagram, thank you for your encouragement — I’m honestly not sure how far I would have got without it. Though I won’t be after a project like this for a long time, I really do love how this all came together.

 

Bon Voyage

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Earlier this week I was cleaning out my studio. I have a lot of supplies and a pretty small space to keep them, so it doesn’t take long before it feels tight. These four big animals had been keeping me company in there for the last year since I made them as part of the Imaginary Architects exhibit at the Saskatchewan Craft Council. I am pretty fond of them, simply because of their size, but I knew it was time to make room, and perhaps someone else would like to adopt them. I put out a call on instagram for anyone wanting to give them a home, and within the day they were off – one locally, one to BC, one to New Hampshire, and One to the UK. I set them in our porch while they waited to be boxed up, and I kind of loved the sight of them there. Also, a shot of me looking like we are telling jokes, when really I am just trying to keep everyone upright after dashing into the photo (I’ll likely never relinquish the self timer…). Bon Voyage sweet animals, it was fun.

 

A Happy New Year

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{view from the bedroom on the shortest day, a winter trampoline at my in-law’s farm}

And here we are in January. I have been missing from this place, as the hectic December season came and went, and I was kept as busy as I wanted to be (and sometimes a bit more). And Christmas to me is really about my family, my friends, the food, and not so much about working, and so finally I am back to check in here.

The end of one year and beginning of a new one is always a big prompt for me to evaluate my business and my creativity, since those things go hand in hand. I have no shortage of ideas for things to make (I truly have no clue whether these ideas will be popular or make any money, but I also decided years ago to not let that be a measuring stick, and surely not to stop me from doing it anyway), and a few things that I would like to stop creating in order to make time and space for the new. I will continue to create (because I must). My focus on quality has become increasingly important, and more than ever I am committed to keeping my business very small, so I can make the changes that are needed and follow my guts and my hands where they need to go.

It is a happy new year indeed.

The Studio Comes Home

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Hello! It’s been months since I was here last – the biggest thing that happened between then and now was the moving of my studio back into my house. With my kids in school, it started to feel like it would be okay to work at home again. I was missing the convenience of having all my supplies on hand, and I felt like I needed a bit more (but not too much…) human contact. I worried a bit about whether I would be able to keep the work/life boundaries that had naturally been set up with an away-from-home studio, but it turns out that the habits of stopping at a certain time for the day and just closing the door on a project carried on with me to this space. I never feel frantic to rush in there and work just a bit more – funny how that has changed over the last few years since I’ve dedicated so much more time to this, and since I’m not working solely in the fringe hours.

This space in my house is a little extra room over our porch. Emphasis on little (about 10×10, or a very small bedroom). It forces me to keep things tidy and tucked away. It has windows on every side and a nice view. My mom says it’s like being in a turret.

I am so very thankful that I had the guts to take on a bigger studio last year and treat my work more seriously. It was the perfect space for that and I got a hell of a lot of work done. I am thankful too that I had the guts to also make this step, a forwards step back, because sometimes that’s the way. Thanks for letting me share this peek behind the scenes!

Story of a Summer

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As we roll into the first school days, I have not entirely been ready to accept the end of summer. This is new for me, normally I am more than happy to see the warm weather end, to bring over my favorite seasons. But this year, we got to spend a lot of time together, and two adults taking care of kids is always better than one (for me anyway…). We found new-to-us spots just outside the city for river swimming and camping, we saw our families, had fires, rode bikes, read, and played. Summer stuff. This was the best summer I’ve had since having kids, which I think speaks to everyone in our little family always growing up in ways needed. So thank you summer, and welcome here September, time to reign it all in a bit closer to home.

Your Stuffed Animals Need Not Be Ugly

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This post is not about anything hard-hitting. Are any of my posts? No. Anyway. I just want to talk a bit about ugly, scraggly old stuffed animals. I’ve got kids, so I know toys get loved and need to be cleaned, and often (but not always) sticking them in the washing machine and/or dryer can really give a toy that certain ‘scraggle.’ Some faux furs hold up just fine to washing and playing, and others clump up to no end. Up top here is a before and after of my little guy’s favorite (nope, I surely didn’t make it…isn’t that how it goes). My favorite and cheapest tool to get fur back into shape is a metal lice comb – you can usually find them inexpensively at the drug store or grocery store too.  Just comb it out with the direction of the fur, like you would hair, and the tight metal teeth will make it fluffy once again. Unfortunately, once the faux fur is matted, it’s likely to go back to this state again…but you can use this combing method over and over. This is also what I use to clean and fluff up my sheepskins, and I know that there is wool carding equipment and brushes specifically for this, but this has worked just fine for me.

So, even if your kid could care less, this might make that favorite stuffy just slightly more appealing to you. Keep it cute…

A collaboration with Bamboletta

bamboletta bamboletta (10)bambolettabamboletta (11)bambolettabamboletta (12)bambolettabamboletta (8)bambolettabamboletta (6)If you are a doll-lover, then I am so sure that you already know about Bamboletta Dolls. If this isn’t a name you’ve heard before, then let me tell you about a wonderful company. Bamboletta is located on Vancouver Island (and in Vancouver) and is run by Christina, who employs a whole crew of women to make these dolls. All the dolls are sewn in homes and studios by people who love the process and the product. Of course, the dolls are amazing in quality – made from thick cotton interlock and stuffed with wool, with beautiful wool hair (I’ve caught myself a few times arranging her hair while no one else was around…) and sweet clothes. They are pretty special, and I think the business itself is quite amazing.

So of course, when Christina approached me about creating some sets for them, it was an immediate yes. The sets include a little spirit animal and a matching jacket. I used a range of fabrics for the critters and stuffed them with the same wool that is used in the dolls – the animals also received a little accessory or bit of clothing. Many of the jackets have hoods with animal ears peeking out, and others are collared…all have great buttons 🙂 It was so fun for me to think of animals, decide on fabrics, and see this project come together. I am honored to collaborate with a company with such integrity, and of course, one that loves dolls.

The sets will be available soon, and again in the near future – see the Bamboletta shop if you are interested. And don’t forget to read all about them and see all the dolls – your day will be immediately better.

Thanks Bamboletta!