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2 In Blog/ Lifestyle/ Quilting

A new year…

Sew Fine Thread Gloss

2018 has finally arrived. I’m happy that its finally here because I feel like the second half of 2017 was a rough 6 months. Too many illnesses, deaths, rough times, harsh realizations, etc. for it to be enjoyable. I know there will always be hard times to be had, but I’m happy that I feel like my invisible internal reset button has been hit, even if thinking this way helps me to focus on what’s to come. One of my realizations late last year was that, even though I absolutely LOVE the hustle and bustle of a good craft show, they might not always be worth the work, for me, in this stage of my life. That’s not to say that I won’t apply for the next big Ottawa Etsy show this fall, but I’m definitely scaling back on them. One of my goals for 2017 was to focus on more “me” projects, which I have! And funny enough, I’ve had more custom quilt requests than I can shake a stick at! By focusing on the “me” projects that I enjoy – most of which have been quilts – I’ve gotten more interest in people wanting me to make quilts for them. Funny how things end up happening that way. But in 2018 I will continue to work on projects that bring me joy.

So now I’ve got to find the balance, as I have a tendency to take on too much at once and get overwhelmed. I have only taken on a few freelance design projects recently, but have also turned down a lot. Saying no to a project is very hard for me – I have a habit of wanting to help people. But I’ve stuck to my guns and said no. Its really hard saying no.

Another “re-sew-lution”, which is a partial continuation from last year, is NOT buying any new fabric. Unless its for a commissioned quilt, or I need something small to finish a WIP, I do solemnly swear that I will not buy any fabric that does not have an immediate purpose. Its in writing now, so I’ve got to stick to it.

On the quilt pattern front, I’ve got two projects coming out in magazines early this year! Having a pattern published in a magazine was one of my goals for 2017 and, even though they weren’t out last year, the wheels were turning. I have an EPP mini quilt coming out in the next issue of Make Modern Magazine (sneak peek in the top photo!) and a FPP throw quilt and pillow set coming out at the end of January in issue 57 of Love Patchwork & Quilting magazine! I’m SUPER excited to be a “published” quilt pattern designer, and look forward to creating more fun patterns in the future. I’ve got an entire sketchbook filled with ideas. Now to just find the time to make them come to life!

Make Modern Magazine EPP pattern

A new project that I’m really excited about has taken form, and is close to its “official” launch. I’ve started making a beeswax based thread conditioner called Sew Fine Thread Gloss!

Sew Fine Thread Gloss - Natural

What happened to be rather serendipitous, I started talking to a few sewing/quilting friends here in Ottawa about my desire to make this thread conditioner, and what they thought. Would the people in our local sewing and quilting community be interested? Do a lot of people use thread conditioner? I personally have used Thread Heaven, but wasn’t a huge fan, which was my main reason for making a beeswax based thread conditioner. After some thorough research, a basic business plan, a funny product name, and one recipe, I soft-launched here in Ottawa at Mad About Patchwork. The response I got was fantastic! Could this be something? Next thing I know, I hear that the owners of Thread Heaven had retired and closed the business. Wow, so there’s a hole in the market for thread conditioner! Could this actually go somewhere? I’m determined to find out, and do things the proper way – I’m registering the business, getting all of my little business duckies in a row and diving head first into official entrepreneurship. Am I crazy? I’m still working a full-time job that I love! Will all of my business and marketing training actually pay off? I guess time will tell. In the meantime, I’m happy making something to help people make things, instead of just making things for people to buy. Does that make sense?! Yes. Yes it does. Wish me luck!

10 In Blog/ Quilting

Addy’s crib quilt – Blogger’s Quilt Festival

I’ve been meaning to share photos of this quilt for a few weeks but hadn’t gotten around to it until now, so what a great reason to share than to be part of the Blogger’s Quilt Festival! Some would call it serendipity, some might call it fate, but it all started when I was planning the room colours for my youngest’s bedroom (she’s now 2). As a graphic designer I work with a myriad of colour combinations and palettes on a regular basis, and I happened across a palette that wasn’t overly girly, but unique, and (I think) was just gorgeous together – white, navy, light aqua/teal, and a pinky coral. I LOVED it! So I mixed a batch of custom chalk paint for the furniture, painted the walls and got to work. I also made a twin quilt for her “big girl” bed, but that will be another post for another time.

Shortly after she was born I was browsing around my local Chapters store and did I not find four Wonderland prints from Rifle Paper Co. on SALE! I have total admiration for Anna Bond and her paintings/illustrations, so when I found these prints, and they matched the colours for Addy’s room, I just HAD to have them. Fast forward to late last year when the Rifle Wonderland collection for Cotton & Steel came out, I just knew I had to incorporate the fabric somehow into her room, because it was meant to be! As her big quilt was already finished, I started planning an oversized crib quilt, that would work for both the crib, and then as a throw when she outgrew the crib (which is fast approaching!).

I created this quilt as an oversized Crystal Star block, using a solid Kona, a couple of Cotton and Steel basics, and the teacups print from Wonderland. The final size is 56″ x 56″ and was created with HSTs and four solid corner blocks – a quick and easy project! I had just enough of a super soft Robert Kaufman chambray to use for the backing and then used a white with silver glitter dot fabric that I got from our local guild stash sale for the binding. I quilted the blocks using a coral and teal Glide thread in simple angled lines so it wouldn’t be dense, but soft and cuddly.

One of the things I love about making quilts for my girls is that they’ll (hopefully) have them for a very long time, will comfort them, and keep them warm, and so far they love them, which makes me happy. And the little lady herself wanted to be part of the photoshoot, so just because she so darn cute and was sooo good while I tidied her room and set her hoard of stuffies aside for these pictures, here she is, sticky face, boogers and all!

For those of you stopping by via the Blogger’s Quilt Festival, thanks for checking out my quilt and be sure to check out the rest of the amazing quilts on the tour!

0 In Blog/ Quilting

Piecing, linen and lessons learned.

I love Essex linen but I don’t love it in this quilt. And that’s okay.

This is the first quilt that I’ve made that combined small piecing and Essex, and I’m not a fan. Lindsay Neill’s Pen and Paper patterns are some of my favourite quilt patterns of all time. I love her style and I love everything that comes out of that crazy creative brain of hers. I had made a few snail blocks from her Garden Snails Quilt pattern before I decided to make an entire quilt for my oldest daughter, so I knew how it went together and was happy with my finished snails. Then I thought that using Essex would make for a nice background. This is where my issues started. Essex and small piecing don’t mix. At least I couldn’t get them to play nicely together. It stretched and shifted and distorted until my poor little snail antennae got cut off because I couldn’t square my blocks properly (Lindsay if you read this, I’m sorry for butchering your adorable snails!). Le sigh. I knew I was in for a treat when a friend from my guild regaled her tales and tribulations of quilting Essex that was cut on the bias. And my snail blocks were already 3/4 done – at least I knew I wasn’t alone.

Thankfully I didn’t have any issues quilting the quilt, other than a bit of warping/stretching along the edges, but okay because I had wide borders. I spent the morning with Julie from the Longarm Workroom and we did a simple all-over pattern. I’m thinking though that a few of the snails need a bit of embellishments; maybe a moustache or hipster glasses!

I’m glad that the quilt is finished, because it was the first time I’ve ever been frustrated with how a project was coming together. In the end it looks great, Ava loves it, I love the colours and prints that I’ve chosen, and, ONLY I will see the little janky antennae on those poor snails. So now is the time to let that shit go. Lesson learned from this quilt: I still love Essex linen, but now I know not to try using it on the bias, or for small piecing. Unless I want to make myself crazy… again.

0 In Blog/ Quilting

I made a really big, little thing.

I’ve had this idea written down in a notebook and in the back of my mind for a long time and I’m so stoked about how it turned out! It was a simple mini to go along with my “Larger than Life” project. A paper clip. Just a basic paper clip. I have a thing for office stationery; ask my co-workers. I’ve got a massive collection of post-it notes, “special” pens (I’m a leftie so the struggle is real to find a decent non-smudging pen), and my favourite notebooks. But I’ve always felt that the paper clip was under appreciated.

I was lucky enough to be gifted a massive collection of vintage and just plain old bias tape and I never use it. I had also been working on a commissioned quilt for a few hours, and wasn’t the slightest big tired (this was at midnight last Friday night) and wanted to just make SOMETHING that didn’t have a deadline, or needed to be made. Something fun and frivolous. And it all came together so perfectly!

I grabbed this piece of Libs Elliott‘s Gem Stripe in Teal fabric from her Tattooed collection (which I’ve been hoarding) and it was actually pretty fantastic because I used the stripes on the fabric to guide the placement of the bias tape. I used a double sided fusible hem tape to position it, then ironed it all down. I quilted the background randomly following the lines using a nice shiny Glide thread and then stitched down the edges of the bias tape to secure it.

I still have my scrap bag from the #100days100blocks2017 quilt-along sitting beside my sewing table, so I snuck in a few bright scraps to liven up the black binding. The finished piece measures 16″ square. And thanks to my little helper for holding it up during our little photoshoot!

0 In Quilting

The Kindred Quilt Pattern

Oh dear – so my goal of blogging regularly has been shot to hell. Gotta step up my game, so might as well go big or go home! And by that I mean that I just self-published my first quilt pattern!

The Kindred Quilt was the first quilt pattern that I ever designed. It was originally only supposed to be for me but I wanted to share her with the world. Please be kind! She’s a 63″ x 72″ throw quilt, using only HST’s and a few solid blocks. Super simple, super easy and a great quilt to tackle if you’re a beginner wanting to try out a HST pattern with some interesting internal shapes. Because its my first self-published pattern, and I’m still working out all the kinks and specifics (don’t worry – the pattern is correct, I just mean all the fine print, etc. associated with pattern writing) it will be listed for $5.00 (CAN).

I would love to know what you think! Please leave a comment, and please be gentle. To purchase the quilt, please go here!

0 In Blog/ Quilting

#goalachieved x 3

EPP mini quilt by Jenn McMillan

Weird post title, I know. But I am excited to write this post even though I can’t divulge any of the finer details just yet. A few months ago I wrote about my creative resolutions for the year. While I’m in-process with a few of my resolutions, I’m happy to announce that resolution #4 has been achieved!

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0 In Blog/ Quilting

#100days100blocks2017 update!


Update time! We’re currently on day 10 of the #100days100blocks2017 challenge on Instagram! Lots of participants had started making collages to show their first 9 blocks so I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon. Its nice to see the first batch of blocks together and get a feel for how they’re all jiving. Also, nice to be able to evaluate if you’ve got a good colour/tonal balance (if you’ve got a specific palette and that’s what you’re going for!)

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0 In Blog/ Quilting


Committing to a long-term project scares the crap out of me. Honestly. Not in the sense of being actually afraid of doing it, but knowing me, I’ll get it started and then get bored along the way. Tula Pink’s City Sampler book has been on my shelf for what feels like a long time. I’ve tagged a few pages of blocks that I liked, but haven’t used it for anything other than a bedside table decoration. So when Angie from Gnome Angel announced a second #100Days100Blocks quilt-along I was instantly on board.

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0 In Blog/ Quilting

Binding time!

I feel as though this quilt has been in-process forever. But the end is near and I can’t be more excited! Last week I dropped my full-sized majestic pineapple quilt off to Sharyn at Huntley Quilting Studio (inside Mad About Patchwork) to be long-armed. I chose a basic meander/stipple pattern for a nice flowing all-over quilted effect. I think its a nice balance between the angles of the pattern pieces and the flowing quilting.

Last night I finally got the time to trim and sew the binding on. Normally this is the point in a project where I just want to get it finished, so I’d machine finish the binding, but since I’ll be taking a LOT of photos of this quilt, I’ve decided to spend the time and hand-bind it properly. I’m hoping it’ll only take me a few hours, and there are a few new Netflix movies that I actually want to pay attention to, so it’ll be the perfect time to finish it!

I’ve got a few other process photos on Instagram if you wanted to check them out. Once the quilt is photographed I plan on submitting the pattern to quilting magazines (one of my 2017 crafty resolutions) – wish me luck!

0 In Blog/ Quilting

OMQG & VMQG Mini-mini swap!

Earlier this year I signed up for a mini-mini swap through the Ottawa Modern Quilt Guild. We would be making mini-mini (under 48″ diameter) quilts and swapping with the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild! We were asked to fill out a questionnaire and our answers, likes, dislikes, etc. would be given to someone in Vancouver; but we were given a different name than the person making our quilt. Scouring Instagram for clues and trying to find the person we were quilting for was fun, except if the person has no social media presence at ALL! 🙂

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