Sunday, 28 June 2015

Large Print Photo Experiment

School is out for the summer! Which means time for kayaking and sewing and spending time with friends and family at the lake. Unfortunately, we've started summer off with heavy rainfalls. Fortunately, that's given me some time to clean and organize and fiddle with projects.

I've been wanting to get large-scale prints of some of my photos. Over the past couple summers, I've travelled to Newfoundland and Nova Scotia and have some nice landscape shots. I envision them on a blank wall with a big white frame, hanging over the couch. As I don't have a house yet, I have no such wall. However, I found an opportunity to try out a large scale print when we finally got rid of the bunk beds at the cottage. (Cheers to no more falling off the top bunk). Now that there's a double bed in the room, there is so much more wall space. I rearranged the room with the couple pieces of mixed and not-matched furniture and decided to try a large print above the bed.

Originally, I got a 24" x 36" glossy poster printed at Staples. With an online discount and a coupon, it only cost me $12. My photo was taken with my Nikon and the jpeg file size was 4 MB. Online, it said the print quality might not be high enough, but I went for it anyway and it turned out great! When I got it home I realized it was a bit too big...ha. We found an old framed art print in the attic that might work for the photo. I had it reprinted in a 20" x 30" glossy poster, which cost $15.

To make the print fit, I first tore off the backing paper and took out the staples holding the print in place.

Then I took some previously-used foam core board (also originally from Staples) and used a rotary cutter, ruler and cutting mat to trim it to size. I used an old blade so as not to wreck a good one and it cut cleanly.

I tested it in the frame for size and had to make a few more cute before it fit right. Then I trimmed my photo to the same size as the foam board. I attached it to the board with clear adhesive strips, the kind used for scrapbooking. I imagined it like a quilt and smoothed it out with my ruler, starting in the middle and working my way out. 

Then I placed the photo in the frame and check to make sure it wasn't bubbling anywhere. I did have to slice a bit more off to prevent this. I used tape to secure it to the frame on the back. Luckily it was a quick job to move the hardware and picture wire so that the photo could be hung in a landscape orientation.

I debated painting the frame, but it matched pretty well an decided to leave it as it. There's no glass in  the frame, as it previously housed an art print. Since the photo was printed in a poster, I'm hoping that the finish stays nice and that the the foam board keeps it flat. If it doesn't, the whole thing only cost me $15, so I'm okay with that! I'm looking forward to getting it to the cottage and testing it out on the wall.

I love landscape photos and find them calming. What kind of photos do you like to put up? Have you been up to any decorating lately?

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Canada Day Shirt Tutorial

We had a Red and White Spirit Day at school this week and while looking for something to wear, I remembered this tunic I made. I made it last year for the Winter Olympics in Sochi. I don't sew many projects for holidays, but I get really into the winter Olympics, printing schedules for my classroom, streaming different events on multiple devices, following the Canadian athletes on social media, even medal counts up on bulletin boards. There may even have been a cape involved. This tunic also made an appearance at the World Junior Hockey Championships in Montreal this year, which was awesome, by the way. As Canada Day is coming up I thought I'd share it, as it can be adapted into a quick and easy project.

I sewed the tunic out of red jersey knit fabric, using a tunic I had as a rough template. It turned out fairly well. For the leaves, I printed off a few maple leaves in different sizes and traced them onto some Steam-a-Seam. I fused it to some white knit fabric and arranged my maple leaves along one side of the tunic, starting with the biggest leaf, near the bottom. I placed the other two above at different angles, moving closer to the centre of the shirt. I fused them and stitched them using a zigzag stitch. You could use any stretch stitch, allowing your shirt to stretch when you put it on.

Though I made the tunic itself, you could easily add the leaves to any plain red t-shirt or top. All you would need is Steam-a-Seam or another fusible web, white knit fabric and white thread. I would recommend pre-washing the shirt and fabric in case they shrink in the wash.

You could also use fabric paint to make the maple leaf design, by tracing the leaves onto freezer paper, cutting them out, ironing the freezer paper onto the shirt and using it as a stencil to paint the leaves on with fabric paint. With a $4 t-shirt from Micheal's Arts & Crafts store, it's an easy and inexpensive project.

Thankfully, this wasn't Canada Day, but January. It was a little chilly with bare arms and snow falling!

Do you sew clothes or quilts or decor for holidays?
If you make your own Canada Day top, please share!

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

A new Edge Tote

I had the chance to sew up another Edge Tote for my local quilt shop, Thimbles and Things, in Orillia, ON. Thimbles and Things is participating in the annual Row By Row, which is a sort of shop hop with participating shops spread across 50 states and Canada. It runs from June 21 - September 8. You can visit any shop to receive a free pattern for a row. Then, quilters can choose to create a quilt using at least 8 different rows by October 31st and bring it into a shop to win 25 fat quarters.

The fabric they chose for the bag includes a quilter's map print and quilter's license plates print. All are available in the shop.

Thimbles and Things is carrying the pattern for the bag along with these quilty fabrics. So if you're in the area, stop in to check it out and get a free row pattern! If you're not in the area, you should check out their blog. It's pretty funny; scroll down for royal family memes ;)

Monday, 22 June 2015

2015 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop


Welcome to the Iron & Needle! I’m a member of the 2015 New Quilt Bloggers group and it’s my week to post for our blog hop. The blog hop has been great so far and I’m excited to share my blog with you.

All About Me

I’m an elementary French, Kindergarten and Phys. Ed. teacher in Ontario and I love my job. I also like sports, especially hockey, lacrosse and kayaking. I love to read and when commuting cut into my reading time I started listening to audiobooks. Now I’ve always got one on the go to sew with.

My Quilting Journey

I started quilting around the same time I started teaching, four years ago. I sewed a messenger bag out of a jacket my mom was finished with, then a ruched duvet cover out of three flat sheets. My mom had just joined a quilting class and suggested I join to learn some techniques. You know, pressing, pinning, rotary cutting- because apparently that’s how you’re supposed to do it. I thought quilting was for “old people” and declined. (Oh, was I wrong!) But the next fall I agreed to try and sewed my first quilt. I liked it, but still wasn’t sold on quilting and continued my own projects, until I came across some Lotta Jansdottor fabric on Etsy. I fell in love and drafted a design based on a baby quilt I had seen. Since then, I’ve gotten more and more into quilting!

My plaid messenger bag, sewn from a blazer. The construction is poor but I'm still proud of the design. 

In quilting, I favour bright colours, solids and tone-on-tone prints. I love white backgrounds and negative space, so your eye has somewhere to rest in the background. I’m often drawn to quilts with non-traditional layouts, sometimes asymmetrical, but with balance. Below are some of my favourite quilts I’ve designed and sewn.

My Quilts

Solids and prints, piecing and applique, cameras and film.

This top is headed off to the long-arm quilter soon for some custom quilting. 

A medallion quilt with lots of negative space, just the way I like it. Uncluttered. 

This one I quilted myself!

Though I’m still relatively new to quilting, along the way, I’ve learned a lot about sewing and myself. One of those things is patience. A quilt seems to take a long time to finish at first, but I’ve gotten better at enjoying the process more. Another is how much fun it is to take a class and sew with a group of ladies, even when there’s a wide age difference. It doesn’t seem to matter. I’ve also discovered that my favourite part of quilting is the design process - gathering inspiration without even knowing it, with all these ideas floating around in your head. Then designing a layout, choosing fabrics and playing with colours. Then doing all of the math and breaking it down into all the little steps – how to piece it together, which steps to do first, how much fabric I need and what to cut. I spend a lot of time just visualizing how it’s all going to come together. I started keeping a sketchbook and binder with quilt designs, since my imagination seems to move faster than my sewing machine. I’ve found that once I’ve designed a quilt, I don’t always have the same urgency to make it, and that it’s okay to leave them there for later and maybe come back to it.

While I used to hate pinning and pressing, I’ve even come to find that relaxing lately. That’s where my blog name comes from. Though the design process is my favourite, most of my time is spent pressing, pinning and sewing – and so, the Iron & Needle.

Of course, the whole “leave the designs in the sketchbook” idea doesn’t always work and I’ve got a few projects on the go right now and couldn’t help myself. I’m sure more urgent ideas will pop up, so I’m trying to be flexible and not plan so much. I can’t wait to share the ones I’m working on later this summer.

How about you? What’s your favourite part of quilting? Was there a particular project that got you hooked? Would you like to share any lessons you’ve learned through quilting?

Thanks for visiting and please stop by the other blogs from my hive, Sewcial Swarm:

For even more posts, check out the other hive hosts:

Sewcial Swarm - Host: Terri Ann @Childlike Fascination
Quantum Quilters - Host: Yvonne @Quilting Jetgirl
New Bees - Host: Cheryl @Meadow Mist Designs
Sew Fabulous Hive - Host: Stephanie @Late Night Quilter

Happy Sewing!


Saturday, 13 June 2015

June Sewing Space

Hello out there!

It's been so long since I posted - middle of June already. And yet, I've been so busy with sewing, among many other things. Only two more weeks of school! Summer is so close I can taste it.

I have 3 finished quilt tops waiting to be quilted! One of them is from the fall - Tornado - and it's almost its turn to go see the long-arm quilter. The other two are recent, from a new pattern I've written and I can't wait to share them. One more month and I hope to release the pattern as a PDF. It's a big quilt, measuring 87" x 99" and includes 10 variations, with about 25 more that I'll probably post on the blog or send out with the pattern. The first one is for me and the second is a gift. They're the same pattern but very different. I was so excited about it and on a mission that I sewed it up in about 3 weeks, I think. 

Here are some sneak peaks, that you may have seen before if you follow me on Instagram. 

The palette for the first quilt, with a batik for the backing
Cotton and Steel. Black and Cream and Purple. I hope I haven't given too much away. 
Bias edges

I went to a free-motion quilting class for beginners and played around a little on some quilt sandwiches. I have a lot of quilting on the horizon with two 87” x 99” quilts. 

I started a baby quilt using a variation of my new pattern at a class this week as well. It's coming together very fast. I pulled the fabrics from the bundle below. I only needed 4 fabrics for the top but I think I'll use some of the smaller pieces for the back. Maybe some strips. I liked how the fabrics in the second photo combined too. 

I've also joined the 2015 New Quilt Bloggers group. We've been sharing advice and tips for the past two weeks and it's been great. Stay tuned for a blog hop coming up soon!

2015 New Quilt Bloggers Group

Oh and I went for a nice paddle today. I almost ran over a turtle. Only with my kayak, though, so the turtle was safe. Then I waited for it to come back up again. Turtle watching is kind of like whale watching, only closer to home and more difficult. You wouldn't think it, but those turtles are stealthy creatures. Their heads popping up look like sticks and they don't make a sound. I looked and looked, paddling softly, but it evaded my lens. 

Come back, turtle!
It was one of those perfect 25 degrees, calm water, blue skies and faint breeze kind of days. Here's hoping for more days like this and time to sew :)