Free Triangles Tutorial: Claire’s Quilt

I’ve convinced Mom to start quilting.  She finished her first quilt a few weeks ago, and now she’s hooked.  We are partnering to make my sister, Claire, a quilt.

Claire picked this as a model:

Claire Quilt inspiration

(Source: Creative Chicks)

We’re using a grey scale with splashes of colour and patterns for hers.  Our base colours are those in the Kona Cotton Storm bundle.  Then we added a few patterned fabrics for fun.

Claire Quilt fabric

I’ve been playing with them for a couple hours and this is the result:

Claire Quilt start

These blocks are really fun to asseble, because other than cutting out the background, there isn’t any measuring.

Based on this tutorial, here is how I’m making my blocks.

First cut out the background fabric squares.  Mine are 4 1/2″.

Sew the patterned right side down on the background fabric like so:

Claire Quilt 1The white triangle space on the right will be replaced by the patterned fabric.

Press the seam flat towards patterned fabric.

Claire Quilt 2

Using the background square as a guide, trim the patterned fabric.

Claire Quilt 3

Cut off excess background fabric 1/4″ from seam line.

Claire Quilt 4
Flip patterned fabric back, and voila.
Claire Quilt 5
Repeat.  We are making a queen size quilt (84″ x 88″) so that means we need 462 blocks.

Wedding Quilt

Phew, this one was quilted on deadline!


My friends Ophélie and Jared were married last summer with only six weeks notice, and it wasn’t enough time for me to get my act together and quilt them a gift.  This year they came for a visit (and another wedding) and this time I was ready armed with a newly self-quilted, washed, and labeled quilt. I sewed on the label the day before Ophélie arrived for a weekend visit in Quebec.

I’m quite pleased with it.  Ophelie’s favourite colours are mustard and blue, and Jared’s is polka-dots.  I think this makes the cut.

I particularly like the one square that is unlike all the others.  I think of this as the Sunshine Quilt and that square has something to do with it.

The inspiration for this one came from the internet.  I was browsing one day, and came across this quilt:


(Sorry I have didn’t have a link) 

When I saw it, I thought “I want to make one like that” then realized I think that a lot and it hasn’t happened often yet.

But then, I (basically) did.  Mine Is smaller (I should have figured out fabric requirement before going to the store, duh).

Final size: 84×84 which is fine for a double bed.

The square shape allowed me to do this on the back:


Large scale piecing is quite fun and worth the couple extra hours it takes to make.

The little label in the bottom right corner looks like this:

J+O quilt label

I quilted this one myself on my little work-horse of a machine.  Diagonal lines about 2″ apart.  I really like the texture.

J+O quilt closeupThat wood thing you see in this picture  is another exciting finish this week.  But it’s not mine.  D finished his first piece of furniture in his cabinet making class and brought it home.  He started with rough wood and ended with this lovely bench.  I muct say, I’m quite proud of him (and have ideas for about three other pieces of furniture he could make…).

L+O quilt 2 finishes

Linking up to Crazy Mom QuiltsFinish it up Fridays.

Scarf Rack

In 2007 I went to Barcelona.  One day I was browsing a store that sold pashmina type shawls and scarves.  They were beautiful. And expensive.  I didn’t leave the store with a new scarf, but I left with an idea. An idea as to how to display the many, many, scarves I already owned.

You see, I love scarves.  I’ve loved them since I was a little girl.

Silk, wool, cotton, long, narrow, square, handkerchieves, bright, patterned,anse neutral.  I love them all.

I started going to thrift shops when I was barely a teen and would buy so many cashiers would ask me “What’s with all the scarves?”.

So many, in fact, that displaying and organizing them became an issue.

My Barcelonian-inspired scarf rack solved that problem.

(I love hats too.)

My dad, who is a carpenter-extraordinaire, helped me to make this rack in 2007 (just to be clear, this simple rack is no accurate testament to his abilities).

About two years later I moved to Quebec City and eventually met Julia from À l’allure garconniere.

We have become fast friends (and colleagues to boot).

She loves scarves too.

Whenever she came over she commented on my scarf rack.  So, for her birthday, I decided to make her one to go in her dressing room.  That’s right, her dressing ROOM.

Her birthday is December 26th, so I made it using my dad’s tools and know-how over the holidays.

I also had lots of help from D.

Here are some loose instructions on how to make a scarf rack. If you want to make one too and have questions, please, ask away!

As always, gather your materials.

Steel rods (3/16″ in diameter), a piece of 1″x 4″, and a 2″x 2″ or a branch (not shown) and 4 screws (not shown).

For tools, you’ll need a metal saw, a wood saw, a measuring tape, marker and pencil, drill, drill bits, mallet, hammer, a file, and a vice.

The latter is very handy.

Cut your steel rods, and file the ends to make sure they aren’t sharp. I cut the rods into foot-long lengths.

Once your rods are cut, you’ve got to bend them.  That’s where the vice is particularly helpful.  We held an inch of the rod in the vice and used a metal mallet to bend them.

I used a 2″x 2″ for my scarf rack, but for Julia’s I decided cut down a birch sapling and use a piece of it.

Once the 1″x4″, and birch section were cut to length, and rods were cut and bent, I attached the branch to the back.  I figured out where the brach touched the 1″x 4″ and screwed them together through the back of the 1″x4″ using 1.5″ screws.

I then drilled holes with a 3/16″ bit about 1.5″ apart on the top of the branch..

The rods fit tightly into the holes so I had to hammer them in.

I then drilled two holes at each extremity to attach the rack to the wall and provided Julia with little plugs to hide the screws.  And voila!

I presented Julia with her gift at a dinner party.  As soon as Julia walked in the door, she pointed at my scarf rack and told her husband “See, that’s what I would like you to make me!”

I couldn’t help but smile, as it turns out Julia’s gift saved Simon some work too.


Crafting Goals

This week is a good week.  It has hardly started, but I can tell it’s going to be a good one… That’s because Pottery Class starts this week!!!

Clay ready for the kiln. 2009

I love all the crafting I do.  But I really love pottery.

Throwing clay on a pottery wheel is like meditating.  I have a colleague who pots and she explained it as follows: throwing clay requires 80 percent of your attention.  That leaves only 20 percent of your brain power to think about other things.  Which means you can’t think about much else. So it’s a form of forced meditation.

That’s as just an explanation I can think of.  I love plugging into some music or turning on the CBC and just having my hands on clay for a couple hours.  It gets everywhere, in my hair, it drips up to my elbows, my jeans get caked in it, and I inevitably have some smeared on my face by the end of a session.

I’ve been taking courses in the evening for about two years now, and at the beginning of each course, my teacher asks us what our goals are for the semester.  There is no pressure, but she says it’s a good idea to think about what we want to accomplish in the 11 weeks we have unlimited access to clay and to the studio.  I agree.

Last semester my goals were to turn thinner and spend more time decotrating my pieces like so:

I carved the waves after putting a layer of pigmented clay over the red clay.  I am very pleased with the result.

Last fall I was speaking with some colleagues about my pottery goals and they laughed, saying I should relax when I’m doing my hobbies and didn’t need to set goals for myself.

They are right, I don’t need to, but I want to.  I craft because I love it, but part of the pleasure is learning a new skill, getting better over time.  Besides, Pottery is so technical there is much to learn.  The least I can do is try to get a wee bit better each semester.

If I don’t take the time to make a list of the things I want to make, I find myself at the end of a semester and haven’t made all the little gifts I wanted, or tried a new project I meant to.

So here’s my list for this year.  It will get longer.

1- Make more of these: 

These are little pots I turn using a technique I learned last semester.  I make the bottom and the lid at once and with a little finishing work they fit perfectly together.  This one is quite small, only about eight centimeters in diameter, so I want to try to throw bigger ones.

2- Make plates.  Big ones.  Dinner plates.  With a nice lip, and well glazed so food doesn’t stick too much.

When you throw a piece it looses 12 to 13 percent of it’s size as it dries and is kilned.  I’ve often found myself thinking a bowl is nice and big this time, but by the time I’m ready to bring it home, it’s just another latté bowl.

3- Continue experimenting with designs and details.  Concentrate on quality and detail of my pieces reather than quantity.

4- Make a big bowl (that stays big, even once it’s kilned).  If possible I would like to try to throw six or seven pounds of clay.  That’s a lot of clay to centre, so I’ll have to pick my day and try when things are going well.

5- Work with more red clay.  I prefer the result of the glazes.

The colours are so much more vivid than on the greyish clay I normally use.

6- My last goal for now is to make more little things, little pots for mixing spices, mugs that aren’t necessarily giant tea mugs like I’ve gotten into the habit of making, or a little garlic pot like the one I made a year ago.

Those are my goals for now.  I’m sure I”ll come up with more as the weeks roll by.

Do you set crafting goals? If you do, what are they? Or am I just a little crazy?

Thanks for stopping by,