The Gift of Textiles

What could be a better gift? Or a more difficult one to choose by a non-quilter, given the unknown (and expanding) size of Emily’s stash?

Happily, our non-quilting (but sympathetic to the obsession) bro M gifted us some lovely fat quarters this Christmas.


Stéphanie’s are the beautiful array of Kona solids (left), and Emily’s are the polka dots (right).

Stéphanie also received, from the parents this time, some fat quarters of Shweshwe fabric, made by Da Gama Textiles. It has a neat history of being starched for shipment by sea, and so is very stiff (and smells oddly perfumey). Da Gama Textiles explains the history and process on their site.

P1020531  P1020522

Although not a textile, Emily received some hide, with the intention of beading and hand-sewing some moccasins. We can’t remember if it is moose or deer, but either way is soft and will be a good project between quilts!


Bought with the intention of drying dishes, Michèle was gifted some linen tea towels, made by Rain Goose Textiles. They were declared too nice for such a menial life, and will probably be re-purposed as pillows. Go figure.


Michèle also received a beautiful woven wool table runner (or shawl) from a trip to a weaving cooperative in Peru.

P1020559 P1020560

Stéphanie, taking pity on poor quilt-less M, made him placemats (…mini quilts. sort of) for Christmas. The backs are a linen-cotton blend with a neat feel and look, a bit more rugged than just cotton. The rest of the fabric (bought at the same time but not a set so of unknown identity) is cotton, made from 5 fat quarters. It was close with that amount, and she actually ran out of binding for the last placemat but he didn’t seem to notice.

P1020580 P1020583

For a family friend, Stéphanie made a trivet. (I love love love making trivets.) They are fun to choose the fabric, have simple quilting, and are finished so quickly! She used Australian Aboriginal fabrics by M & S Textiles, specifically “Wild Bush Flowers Purple” by Layla Campbell and “Yalke Blue” by June Smith along with some batik print on the front, and again an Australian Aboriginal print on the back with an unknown name (should really start labelling the stash….). There are 5 layers of batting inside, but in retrospect, should have used an old ironing board cover we have to make it more heat resistant. It was quilted pretty simply with a walking foot, even the circle.

P1020481 P1020470 P1020469

Michèle also caught the trivet bug, making a bone themed pot-grabber for a friend working in Diagnostic Imaging (X-rays). The bone fabrics come from a Hallowe’en line, but the eggplant purple binding will let it be used in any season.She used the old ironing board cover as batting. The pockets make it perfect for grabbing hot dishes! (Pictures coming soon)

Michèle made a beautiful basket using the “Divided Basket” pattern from Noodlehead and fabrics from the Riley Blake Designs’ “Fancy Free” line and Kona solids among others. It is lined with a very stiff interfacing, and will be perfect to store cloths or diapers.

P1020564 P1020570

Not only that, but we were surprised by gifts from L for each of us to take home; a Christmas table runner for Michèle, and appliquéd reindeer pillows for Emily and Stéphanie.

P1020575 P1020573 P1020572

So I guess you can understand why we’ve been so absent from posting in the rush for Christmas! We hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and holiday, and look forward to sharing more (and perhaps more frequently!) in the New Year!


All our best,

Stéphanie, Emily, and Michèle

Baby Time!

It’s been a while! I have been waiting all week to take pictures, but by the time I get home, the sun has gone down or it has been raining. Inside it is.

This quilt is for a friend who is having a girl at the end of November. My first baby-sized quilt, and I LOVE how quickly this sews together (once I got over the agony of colour, pattern and placement… but I think I have quilt commitment issues since the combinations always seem endless).

P1020416 (2)    P1020426

I have to give a significant amount of credit to Emily… I think I had about 4 of the patterned fabrics in my stash, and she let me root through hers to find the best baby ones. The fabric donation, combined with my haphazard style of purchasing fabric, means that unfortunately I have no idea what collections any of them come from. Except the toucans and jungle prints; those are  Birch Organics – Safari Soiree, and the sashing is all Kona solids.


Like the other quilts, this was quilted with cotton batting on the long-arm machine, this time using a paper pantograph design. I chose little people outlines, … which I also forgot to write down the name of. Scatterbrain much? Both top and bottom are quilted with Bottom Line – Superior Threads. We have been having a couple tension issues with the machine, and find that there are fewer problems with this thinner thread. I do love the King Tut thread colours too, so just have to work out the kinks.

P1020436   P1020437

The backing is a flannel bought from Fabricland. To make the binding a little sturdier for longtime baby use, I sewed it on the back first, then machine-stitched it to the front instead of hand stitching, and it turned out pretty well.


In taking pictures, I accidentally got this black and white shot, which surprised me to see the quilt just by the colour value. You can see that the pink, blue, and green sashing are the same.

Well, one last look for me, and then wrap up the quilt so it gets there before the baby!

– Stéphanie

For the love of lumberjacks.

Made for a friend whose wardrobe has a definite slant towards flannel plaid, I wanted to represent the blend of colours to give some cozy comfort without actually using plaid. I drew up a pattern, making sure it was big enough so that I wouldn’t have to deal with itty bitty pieces. As it is, the yellow strip is only 1″ wide.

DSCN1061     DSCN1037

I used different fabrics, trying to match how the colours change when they overlap in a plaid pattern. The most difficult to find was where blue overlaps with yellow; I did not want to end up using a green, and was fortunate enough to find fabric that seemed to maintain distinct blue and yellow. I wanted a little bit of the back to show in the front, so chose the red as a binding (spoiler!).

DSCN1042    DSCN1065

It was quilted free-hand, attempting to emulate a wood-grain pattern. Sometimes they look more like waves, but for a first-time free-hand quilter, I’m not complaining. I was also listening to music and dancing while quilting so that probably contributed to the… waviness.

DSCN1047    DSCN1045In the big white squares between the plaid, I wanted something simple to keep the attention on the plaid. So I chose to do straight vertical and horizontal lines for three of them.


And a surprise for the fourth! Can you tell what it is?


You can see it better from the back….

DSCN1052    Surprise!

I wanted to make the back interesting, if not reversible. The moose is appliquéd on. It was the first thing quilted, and we had to be a little creative in how to roll the quilt onto the long-arm once that part was done. The rest of the back was quilted in a light grey so the wood-grain is a lot more obvious.

DSCN1056 DSCN1054

Hopefully next time there will be some in-progress photos, but for now just bear with my excess of finished pictures. I suppose once I have made a lot more quilts, I will be more blasé about it, but for now I am pleased as punch.

There have been mumblings of turning my scratched out plans into a real pattern in case anyone was interested, but that will be a while coming.

Thanks for reading!


Lesson #3: The dangers of post-secondary education.

At 13, I made my first quilt. Simple squares, bold colours, bug-shaped variegated quilting. It covered my bed successfully for 4 years without incident; warm, cozy, …and undamaged.

First Quilt

And so it came along when I went away to university. Kept me warm in my very cold and drafty apartment. I took to studying in bed, wrapped up in this bright reminder of home and free time. Wrapped up, cozy warm, with study notes in one hand and a bright orange highlighter in the other. So cozy that I frequently fell asleep among the sprawl of academia and cotton and uncapped highlighter.

First Quilt front      Quilt back

It turns out that orange highlighter is surprisingly difficult to get out of the quilt. Fortunately the colours are so busy that it takes a little while to spot the …spots. (There are at least 4 stains).

Spot 3  Spot 4  Spot 1  Spot 2

I would like to say I conquered the urge to fall asleep without a writing instrument in hand but unfortunately I have to admit to a brief phase with a green liquid ink pen. On the plus side, I now always know which sheets are mine.