Thursday, November 28, 2013


As always, I've been busy swapping lately.

I joined the Schnitzel and Boo Mini Quilt Swap. My partner, Filomena, loves everything red & aqua, so I purchased Camille's new Mini Puddle Jumping pattern, and dug out some of my favourite fabrics.

Mini Puddle Jumping Quilt
Mini Puddle Jumping Quilt - Pattern by Camille Roskelley, Sewn and quilted by Quilting Barbie

These blocks are teeny. They measure 3.5" unfinished!

Tiny block. #schnitzelandboominiquiltswap @thimbleblossoms
Teeny Quilt Block - only 3.5"!

Mini Puddle Jumping Quilt
Mini Puddle Jumping Quilt - Pattern by Camille Roskelley, Sewn and quilted by Quilting Barbie

I also received a lovely quilt from Nikol. She's an aqua lover too, so she used tiny pieces to make a ticker-tape quilt. She even added a touch of orange - my favourite colour scheme. (Nikol, if you are reading this, can you say hello, so I can follow you on flickr/instragram and say a proper thank you?)

Aqua Tinker Tape Mini Quilt
Mini Ticker Tape Quilt. I'm calling it Aqua Love!

Don't you just love that orange?

Mini Tinker Tape Quilt
Cute little orange rectangle hiding in the sea of aqua.

I'm working on some other swaps too, so hopefully I'll blog about them soon. Things are pretty crazy here. Last month, we found out that the mill that my husband works for is closing in March. Thankfully, it doesn't mean that we'll be out on the street, but it does mean that we're most likely going to have to move sometime next year. That will be 3 moves in 4 years. Yikes. I am starting to hate moving. As of right now, we don't know where it will be, but likely further north. I am just hoping that we can move to a town big enough to have French Immersion and Highland Dancing. Apparently, those two things are extremely important to me. Two of my kids are in French Immersion (Grade 2 and Kindergarten) and I teach FI Kindergarten part-time too. And, my daughter is an extremely talented Highland Dancer. I'd hate for her to have to give it up. I Highland Dance here too, but I've accepted my fate that I'll have to give it up when we move. There aren't many places with recreational adult Highland Dancing. Don't you hate it when you have weird hobbies?

Sorry for the rant. And Happy Thanksgiving to all of my American quilty friends.

Monday, October 7, 2013

A Bear Paw Mini Quilt

I volunteered to be an angel for the last round of the Modern Scrappy Bits Swap. I was especially happy to help out when I learned that it was Deanna that still hadn't received from her partner. Deanna sent me a gorgeous charm pack and pouch for another swap, and only lives a province away.

Bearpaw Quilt Block
Sleeping Beauty

Deanna likes modern whimsical fabric (a la Heather Ross, Aneela Hoey and Sarah Jane), and she was looking for something to hang in her little girls' room. I had a ton of fun rummaging through my scrap bin, and playing with my favourite fabrics.

This is what I came up with:

Heather Ross Mini Quilt
Bear Paw Mini Quilt by Quilting Barbie

I used Aneela's Bear Paw pattern to make 3.5" blocks. The pattern is great because it offers instructions on how to make five different sizes (3.5", 6", 12", 18" and 24") of bear paw blocks. I chose the smallest. And now I can't wait to make some in the bigger sizes. Don't you think that the Lush Uptown Deer would be lovely in a bear paw pillow?

Modern Scrappy Bits Angel Package
Angel Swap Package by Quilting Barbie

The next round of the Modern Scrappy Bits Swap is starting soon. Are you joining?

Friday, October 4, 2013

Drunkard's Path: A Finished Quilt

This quilt was actually finished, and mailed off to it's new owner eons ago, but I never got a chance to share the finished quilt. Here she is.

Drunkard's Path
Drunkard's Path Quilt by Quilting Barbie

In the end, I was completely thrilled with how it turned out. At first, I was a bit nervous about all the bright colours, and then there was the whole quilting/machine eating my thread fiasco. But now that it is finished, sent away, and loved by it's new owner, I'm quite proud of my quilt.

Drunkard's Path
Drunkard's Path Quilt by Quilting Barbie

Quilt Stats:
Pattern: Circle Dance by Elisa's Backporch Design
Size: 63" x 70"
Templates: 7" and 3.5" Crazy Curve Templates by Elisa's Backporch Design
Fabric: From my stash (Denyse Schmidt Katie Jump Rope and FMF Legacy, Kate Spain Honeycomb, Tula Pink Salt Water, plus many others)
Backing Fabric: Sarah Jane Out to Sea, Denyse Schmidt Chicopee, Kona Cotton, plus one unknown from my stash.
Quilting: FMQ Stippling by me.

Drunkard's Path Quilt Back
Quilt Back in the dark

The real reason I haven't shared the quilt is that I am not happy with the photos that I took of it. I was in a rush to get it in the mail, so I quickly snapped a few shots in the evening after the kids were in bed. Not a great time to take photos. This is really something that I need to work on. Do you have any great tips? I just got a hand-me-down DSLR from my Mom, but I'm still using the auto focus. I need to learn how to use the manual settings!

All wrapped up!

Linking up with Amanda Jean's Finish it Up Friday!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Where did September go? A catch up post.

Wow, I can't believe September is almost over! It has been a very busy month for us. My son started Kindergarten, my oldest daughter started Grade 2, and sweet Little Miss S started back at daycare. I am teaching French Immersion Kindergarten (my son's class) two afternoons a week again this year. In all of my years of teaching, this is the first time that I've ever done the same job two years in a row. I am really enjoying having another go at it.

And still, there has been some time for sewing. I promised to show off the charm pack that I created for Cathy. Cathy also wrote a very sweet blog post about it, so if you want to see the rest, go check them out here. Here's a peek:

Charm Squares for Cathy
HR Charm Pack from Quilting Barbie

I've also received a few amazing swap parcels in the last little bit. Deanna from Little D and me, sent me a sweet little pouch and 50 amazing charm squares for the Simple & Sweet Scrappy Swap. 

Beautiful Pouch
Pouch and Charm Squares

Simple & Sweet Scrappy Swap
Beautiful Charm Squares from Deanna
A bunch of them have already been used in a quick little baby quilt that I just had to make. (No, it's not for me). Thank you so much, Deanna. I love them. Especially those little foxes. And the Tula Pink. And the beautifully textured organic fabric. And...okay, I love them all.

Baby Quilt
A quick baby quilt - Can you spot Deanna's Charms?

I also received a special package from Amy in the UK for the Modern Scrappy Bits Swap. This really is one of my favourite swaps. Amy made a mug rug that is just my style, and sent some gorgeous scraps. Thank you Amy!

Lucky Me!
Modern Scrappy Bits Package Received from Amy in the UK
Finally, I just received a beautiful package of fabric from Helen from all the way in Australia. We had a private swap, and she sent me some beautiful Saffron Craig fabric. I am new to this Australian designer, but I'm smitten. The colours are beautiful and vibrant. I hope to make a special project (probably a cushion cover or a table runner) with the fabric. Thank you Helen for the wonderful swap!

Australian Fabrics

And other than getting great mail, I've been trying to finish a few things. Hopefully I'll post again before yet another month goes by.

How was your September?

Monday, August 19, 2013

Simple & Sweet Scrappy Swap

I know it might come as a bit of a surprise, but I joined another swap on flickr earlier this summer. This one is the Simple & Sweet Scrappy Swap. And now, with the deadline looming, I finally sat down to cut up 50 charms and make a simple pouch.

HR Pouch Close Up

My partner said she likes Heather Ross, so I dug into my scrap bin, and made two simple nine-patches for the pouch.

HR Pouch Side 2
Heather Ross Scrap Pouch

Although linen, a neutral solid, or even low volume would have been the expected choice for the border of the nine-patches, I decided that I didn't want to do the expected. I have tons of Brown Posies in my scrap bins (it was the backing of my Maple Leaf Rag - which, by the way, I really need to finish hand-sewing the binding so I can show it off), and I thought the colours helped to unite some of the colours of the HR scraps.

HR Pouch Side 1

It does strike a bit of the 1970's, with all the orange, brown and teal, but I'm okay with that. I was born in the 1970's after all, so it can't be all that bad.

Hello 1970s!
Heather Ross Zippered Pouch

I'm not going to show all of the charms just yet, I want my partner to get them first. But I promise I'll show them then. They are worth waiting for!

Sweet & Simple Swap
Simple & Sweet Scrappy Swap Package for my partner!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Modern Scrappy Bits Swap

It's no secret that I love swaps. I especially love simple and quick swaps. One of my favourite is Leona's Modern Scrappy Bits Swap. A quick project made with scraps, a fat quarters worth of scraps, a sewing notion and a postcard. Easy peasy.

I've participated in all four rounds that she's hosted. And this time, we were asked to make mug rugs. To be honest, I really don't care for mug rugs. I think it is kind of silly to have a rug just for a mug. My kids would swipe it in an instant for a doll quilt, Lego tent or train shed. So I just hang them on my wall.

I found a fun (and free) pattern on Craftsy for a mini-Dresden. The pattern includes photo instructions and a template for the wedges. The pattern calls for 19 wedges, but for some reason I could only fit 18. I'll try it again and see how many fit.

Mini Dresden
Rainbow Mini Dresden

The downside of the pattern is that it does not include a circle template. I found glass to trace, and used Oh Fransson's tutorial to make the centre.

Is the bike too much? Should I go for plain black and white dots?

And because I hate hand sewing, I sewed it down by machine. I think it would have looked nicer hand-stitched, (and hand quilted) so next time I'm going to give it a try.

Rainbow Dresden
Rainbow Mini Dresden Mug Rug

My partner asked for scraps in gray, green and blue, so this is what I pulled out of the bins.

Scraps for my partner
Blue, Green and Gray Scraps

And the package is now on it's way. Leona's already talking about Round 5 of the swap, with a Quilt As You Go theme. If you are interested, I definitely recommend joining.

What about you? Are you a swapper?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Just One Slab (Or 6)....

I had so much fun digging through my scraps to make some Slab blocks for the people of Southern Alberta. I love these blocks because I get to use my favourite scraps, and it feels like a puzzle putting all of the pieces together.

I started with green. Really, I could probably make five more in green....there are just so many green scraps.

Quilt block for Southern Alberta #justoneslab
Green slab block for Southern Alberta

That block was so fun, I decided to make a pink one:

Block #2 for Alberta. #justoneslab
Pink Slab block for Southern Alberta

Then last Friday, I took a trip to visit my friend, Kristine. She has amazing scraps. And she loves 'girly' fabrics in pink and purple. She was sweet to let me dig through her scraps and take some home to make more slab blocks. I couldn't resist the cute seahorse in this one:

Another Pink Slab Block for Southern Alberta

Kristine had so many purples, I was able to make both a light and dark purple block:

Light Purple Slab Block

Dark Purple Slab Block
After I made the pretty purples and pink blocks, I made a quick aqua block with my own scraps.
Aqua Slab block

Making these blocks really reminded me of crazy piecing the kite blocks for my Maple Leaf Rag. It is so satisfying to grab a bunch of scraps and just sew, sew, sew. It was my favourite part of that entire quilt.

Crazy Pieced Kites for Maple Leaf Rag Quilt

Here are a couple of quick hints on how to make a successful slab/crazy pieced block:
  1. Sort your scraps before you start. If you have lots of scraps (like me), you may be able to make a light and dark block from each colour. I did find that some scraps fit well into both the light and dark blocks.
  2. Don't think about it too much, just sew.
  3. Start by sewing 6 or 7 sets together of one colour. Then add to those sets at least once before you start sewing the sets together. This will help you avoid a log cabin look to your block.
  4. Once you have some larger pieces, I lay them out on my cutting mat, and start puzzling them together.
  5. Don't think about it too much, just sew.
  6. Make your block at least an inch bigger than you need (15.5"). I didn't want any seams in my seam allowance, and having a bigger block allowed me to trim as needed.
  7. Once I got started, I made 2 or 3 blocks at the same time, which lets you chain piece. But once I got to the puzzling stage, I focused on just one block at a time.
  8. Don't think about it too much, just sew.
These blocks are very addictive.  And to be honest, I think they are one of those blocks that look better in real life than in pictures. Now I want to make an entire quilt. And of course, I have enough scraps.

Aren't they pretty?

Are you making Slab blocks for Southern Alberta?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The cobbler's kids get new shoes...

Or, the quilter's couch gets new pillows.

We've now lived in our new house for just over a year. When we moved, we bought our first ever, brand new chesterfield/sofa/couch. And for the entire year I had the pillows from the factory just sitting there, begging for fun, patchwork pillow covers.

After making fun pillows for a swap, I was finally inspired to make some for us. I found an old UFO(Pillow Talk Swap from 2010 that got rejected for this pillow) and quilted it up.

Then I picked some of my favourite blue and green prints and made a simple patchwork pillow.  I found some coordinating Nicey Jane fabric for the border. I love simple patchwork. But please ignore the funny shape of this pillow. The form is weird...I really need to get a different one!

My favourite is this little Heather Ross Van. Here it is up close:

And now my couch is happy.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Just One Slab

The amazing Cheryl (co-author of Sunday Morning Quilts) and Calgarian is collecting quilt blocks for the people of Southern Alberta affected by recent flooding.

We have quite a bit of family in Calgary, and fortunately, they were not immediately affected by the flooding. I am shocked at the level of destruction in Southern Alberta and my heart aches for the people who are now dealing with the receding flood waters. What I love Cheryl's idea of collecting blocks is that it is easy for us quilters to make a couple of blocks. And every block sent brings our love and prayers with it.

I am pledging at least two 15.5" blocks. For all information, including block construction method, please visit Cheryl's blog.

What about you? Are you sending anything to Alberta?

Monday, June 24, 2013


Thanks for all of your encouragement about my Drunkard's Path quilt and helpful suggestions about thread and needles.

I must admit, quilting this quilt has been an extremely frustrating experience. I thought that I had solved the problem with a larger needle, but the thread continued to break literally every 30 seconds. After I realized that the needle wasn't the problem, I spent a long time on the phone with my machine dealer in Kamloops, and he patiently walked me through every potential problem. We quickly discovered that my bobbin tension was too tight (I didn't even know that it could be adjusted!), so I was hopeful that the issue was finally resolved. Not so! Even with a larger needle, and the correct tension on both the bobbin and the top thread, I realized that my Grand Quilter hates Mettler thread.

Results of my picking!

I decided to try quilting the quilt from the other side with my go-to Aurifil thread, and of course, it quilted like a dream. The only time I had to stop was when my bobbin ran out! Unfortunately, it meant a few days spent unpicking all of my stitches made with the other thread. I had only quilted 12 blocks, but it still took forever to unpick all of those stitches.

Beautiful thread....just not for my machine!

I am officially donating the almost full spool of Mettler thread to my quilt guild, hopefully someone has a machine that doesn't eat it. And from now on, I'm sticking to what I know works.

Aurifil Thread
 What about you? What thread do you use for machine quilting?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Drunkard's Path Quilt

I started a new quilt a few weeks ago. I am making it for someone who loves circles, and asked for bright colours with pink, green, orange and aqua.

Basting in the playroom
Drunkards Path Quilt

I decided to dig out my drunkard's path templates that I've had forever (mine are Elisa's Backporch Design in both 3.5 and 7 inches), and use only fabrics from my stash. These templates are amazing. The cutting was so quick and easy as compared to paper templates.

Love these templates for cutting drunkard's path pieces. Well worth the $$$.

The blocks were easier to piece than I expected (the templates came with great instructions for only using 1 pin per block). However, once I got all of the blocks made and placed out on my design wall, I hated this quilt. It just seemed much too bright. When I was picking fabrics, I really tried to mix my mostly medium tone prints with both light and dark prints, but it was difficult to do using only stash fabrics. I think now that I really needed more low volume, or even a light neutral background fabric to tone down the brightness of the quilt.

I must admit, however, that it is slowly growing on me. It helps to take a step back, and to take a look at it through the camera lens. Then it is possible to see the circles, and the quilt is a little less crazy.

On the design wall
Drunkard's Path on the Design Wall

I am now working on quilting it. But I'm having a terrible time. I bought new thread - a pretty variegated Mettler silk finish thread, and it keeps breaking. The tension doesn't seem to be the problem, so I think the needle is too small for the thicker thread. Of course, I can't buy needles for my machine locally (I need heavy duty needles for my Pfaff Grand Quilter) so I ordered some new ones today. I'll give them a try, and if that doesn't work, I'll have to change thread.

Free Motion Quilting

I'll leave you with a photo of me and my youngest. She loves having her photo taken, especially by her big sister.

Me and Little Miss S

Saturday, May 11, 2013

A Fun Swap

Bright, Scrappy Pillows

In the last couple of years, I've become obsessed with Waldorf inspired dolls. Obsessed. I love that they are homemade. I love that they are all natural. I love that each one is a little piece of art. Kind of like quilts, don't you think?

I don't love that they are pricey (like quilts). So at first I tried to make one. Or I did make one. She's lovely, and my daughter actually plays with her. But I discovered that I really don't like making dolls. Actually, I discovered that I really don't like hand-sewing.

Waldorf Inspired Doll - Little Amigo Pattern from Growing Up Sew Liberated

So, recently, to get around both having to make a doll, and having to pay for one, I did a private swap with a mama. I made her some pillows. She sent me a gorgeous Bamboletta Little Buddy.

Bamboletta LB
Bamboletta Little Buddy

My swap partner was the best 'customer.' She asked for bright and modern. She told me she wasn't afraid of colour. That was it. I was free to make whatever I wanted. Here's what I came up with.

The first was a simple string pillow. I used Ashley's tutorial.

Scrappy Strings Pillow

The second was a simple bright and low volume hst pillow. It feels so good to actually use some of my hoarded Denyse Schmidt fabric.

HST Pillow

Finally, I used a pattern from Amanda Jean Norberg for my last pillow. The pattern in Math Facts and it is in the Winter 2012 issue of quilty magazine.

Scrappy Math Facts Pillow
Math Facts by Amanda Jean Norberg

Isn't the barter system wonderful?