Friday, September 20, 2019

Leader-Enders Obsession

This is a post about a sewing concept that I learned from Bonnie Hunter called Leader-Enders. I have been using her revolutionary idea for probably at least 10 years since her first book was published in 2010 and she had shared this  technique on her blog before that. On the right side bar of my blog the topic of leader-enders has almost 30 blog posts!
main project under the needle with the leader-ender block waiting
This concept is always on my mind when I'm sewing any project and I always have at least one leader-ender project going on. On my sewing table everyday there is a main project that it being sewn, and some leader-ender blocks for a secondary project that is 1) already organized and cut, and 2) easy to sew requiring no brain power.

Thankfully I was not tempted to start ALL of Bonnie's leader-ender challenges usually because I liked the unfinished ones I was already working on! Here's the list of L/E projects Bonnie has inspired over the years with a link to either Bonnie's page or my version if I made one: 

2019 Shoo Fly, Shoo (started in July and presently obsessed!)
2018 Jewel Box Stars
2017 Rail Fence
2016 Hourglass (one of my favourites - top finished in 2018)
2015 Tumblers (I made a sweet "tiny tumble" version)
2014 Lozenges 
2013 Split 9 Patch
2012 Spools (one of my favourites - top finished in 2016)
2011 Cheddar BowTies 

I have also started my own leader-ender projects over the years. The most recently finished leader-ender projects was Maverick Stars. It's one of my all time favourite quilt tops and it's in the queue for quilting.
Alamo Stars
Another of my favourite was Alamo StarsIt's at the stage of becoming a quilt top and currently stalled because I had the grand idea of making more blocks to make the quilt bigger. The blocks are 2.25" so it's a relatively small quilt. But apparently I don't truly want to make it bigger because more blocks are not actually being made!

And partly it's because I became smitten with the Shoo Fly Shoo block. It's so fun to use up all the bits and pieces in the sewing room. 
In a recent blog post Bonnie said:
"Sometimes we have to get inventive to move the fabric that has been neglected for whatever reason".
She gave lots of ideas (click here) on how to be inventive, one of which was how to cut 5" square for 3 sets of HST's. Brilliant! I have a few odd charm squares that needed to be gone. 
Hope you are sewing your own leader-ender projects and if not, why not start with the Shoo Fly project?!?

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Waning Days of Summer

Progress is being made on the Simply Sensational Summer Scrap mystery which I would like to finish before Fall arrives on September 23rd. It's an arbitrary self imposed deadline, but I work well to deadlines.

I had procrastinated trimming the edge of the quilt once the centre was put on point. It was all bias edges and there was so much potential to make a big mess and lose points (as in chopping off the sides of the squares, not as in losing "brownie points"!)
I cut with trepidation and gentleness.

The next border was neutral strips followed by neutral squares. I was getting a little tired of the selection of my  remaining neutrals, but resisted the urge to buy more because the goal is to use up what is in the stash. 
And I did.
I don't really like these strip sets, but I'm sure I won't notice them once this busy quilt is finished.

So then it was time for the litmus test... would the next borders fit the on point edges?
And guess what? 
sewing on a border with the bias edge on the feed dogs
To my great delight, the next border went on easily and most of the points are still visible.
AND best of all... it lays flat!
My secret was to use a lot of pins, and to sew the seams with the bias edge on the feed dogs while easing in the extra fabric from the on point centre.

I gotta congratulate Kevin because my faith in this wonderful outcome was low when I was working on it! I'm still in shock when I look at it and see how it all worked out!
Okay... now I'm moving on to sewing the colourful 4 patch blocks into strips for the next borders. I'm so close to finishing the summer mystery while summer is still here!
Here it is on the design wall measuring 56.5" square at this point.
Exactly square!

Monday, September 16, 2019

Mystery Updates

I must admit that I seem to be addicted to mystery quilting. It is rare for me to be able to pass up a mystery quilt adventure. Every mystery quilt pattern writer has their own unique style and I love them all!  It's so fun not knowing what I'm really making or what the project will end up looking like. 
Today is an update on the three mystery quilts I am currently working on:
Mosaic Mystery step #1

1) Step #1 of the Mosaic Mystery quilt at Meadow Mist Designs has been posted. It was quick and easy sewing but doesn't look very exciting on the design wall.  

Are you someone who worries about how your fabric choices will work out and hesitate to join in the fun? For this mystery you just need 4 fabrics and Cheryl shared lots of tips on the fabric selection process - click here. And then hop over to the September "House Block" link up to see all the finished blocks. It's so fun to see the variety of fabrics that people are using. There are no wrong choices!

And of course I sewed the second line on all the corners of these blocks to make the baby/bonus HSTs to add to my collection. I'm not sure why the blue fabrics look so different in these 2 photos, but they are the same fabrics!

"Almost Reproduction"
2) Lori at Humble Quilts is starting a new mystery project and step #1 is posted. The quilt is called "Almost Amish" and uses solids. I don't enjoy sewing with solids, so I'm using civil war reproductions because I have lots of those and need to use them up. I guess I'll call my version "Almost Reproduction", although that doesn't sound quite right!

4 patches for step #1
I have been reading Lori's blog for many years and have really enjoyed all her mystery quilts. Here are some of her mysteries that I have made: Palmateer Point, Pink Lemonade, Country RoadsAbundance, Cascadia, and Mountain Trail. What is most noteworthy about this list is that every single one of Lori's mysteries that I started has  resulted in FINISHED quilts! So why not jump right in, make the 4 patches for the first step and use up whatever stash you have laying around. 

3) Kevin's Simply Sensational Summer Scrap quilt is coming along. Summer is over now so this quilt has to get finished! 
It was challenging to trim the quilt since I didn't want to lose any points, and the edge is now completely on the bias. The next border has to get on there quickly to prevent stretching which would make the quilt edges wavy.  
This is how it looks today on the design wall. The next border is being sewn, and there are more borders still to make.

Hop over to Small Quilts to see more design wall posts.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Slow Sunday Stitching

It's Sunday and you know what that means... it's time for the weekly hand stitching party! We hope you will pick up your needles and thread or yarn and start making some stitches. 

I have been busy judging local fall fairs and have seen some beautiful hand stitching. Just look at these hand embroidery pillowcases with such a variety of designs. I have never seen anything like the one on the bottom right with the blue variegated crocheted skirt. Such a treat to see these treasures up close!

Today I'll be putting stitches into my own embroidery project.  I'm working on my Gail Pan "I Stitch" blocks from last year. I think I only have 3 or 4 more to stitch. I have chosen an odd variegated thread to make this house and look forward to seeing how it will turn out.

What are you hand stitching today? Please link up your blog or instagram post below and share your project with us.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Scrappy Saturday - Big Reveal

It has been such a busy week in the middle of Fall Fair season. In spite of all the busyness, I have a big Rainbow Scrap Challenge reveal to share with you!
I have been sewing a few Maverick star blocks here and there since April of 2014. That's 5 and a half years of collecting little pieces for these scrappy 6" blocks! These blocks have seen a lot of my life and hold so many memories.

This is my Sweet Baby Jayne 1964 Singer Featherweight sewing all my stars into a quilt top. There were a lot of seams to match and many pins were used in the top construction. But I was surprised at how well it came together considering the blocks were made on many different sewing machines over several years. 
And then it was time for the big reveal. I hung the quilt on the clothesline at my friend Deanna's house for the photo shoot. 

Do you see my friend Barb's whale block also hanging on the clothesline to the left of the stars?!? It makes me smile that the whale looks so small swimming beside the stars!

I'm not going to share all the secrets about the lengths to which a crazy blogger would go in order to get some good quilt photos from the right angle, but let's just say a ladder was involved! And bless their hearts, Deanna and Ted never rolled their eyes or talked about me being crazy (in front of me anyway!) when I asked if I could borrow their ladder to climb up to the shed roof!! LOL

I wanted to take a photo with the quilt by some of my favourite birch trees that are dying and will have to be taken down. But I couldn't get far enough away from the quilt to get a full angle shot. So I climbed a ladder on the other side of the shed to get a shot from over the roof. And then when the wind picked up,  Deanna tried to hold the corner of the quilt to keep it still. I love this action shot and it still makes me smile!

I couldn't really think about ending the Maverick stars project until I had another scrappy leader-ender project that would use up all the small scraps in my quilting room.  And now I have that focus thanks to Bonnie Hunter's Shoo Fly Shoo challenge. Here are the latest blocks made last night. The RSC colour for September is purple and I don't seem to have many purple scraps laying around, so I'll have to dig deep!
Hop over to the RSC link up to see more scrappy projects.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Design Wall Tuesday

Guess what is on the design wall this week?!?
A finished quilt top!
Actually it's either going to be a Christmas tree skirt or a table quilt. I haven't decided how to finish it yet and haven't cut the final shape, but I'm very happy with how it turned out. Those star blocks were challenging but they look good from this distance!
This is a Kim Diehl pattern in her Simple Christmas Tidings book. It's such a lovely book and a well written pattern.
Hop over to Small Quilts to see more design wall posts.

Sunday, September 08, 2019

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly hand stitching celebration! We hope you will enjoy a cup of your favourite soothing beverage while you visit with the other hand stitchers around the world.
Last weekend I visited one of our Slow Sunday Stitchers at her lovely home a few hours north of where I live. It was so much stitching fun and a mental health reset for me. We enjoyed many adventures in the forest and in the sewing room.

Slow Sunday Stitching last weekend in the gazebo
One of the highlights for me is always Slow Sunday Stitching in the screened gazebo which even has a wood stove for heat, so that no matter how cold it is, we can still stitch outside! Do you see the forest out the window? The creek runs between the gazebo and the trees and the sounds of birds and water are completely relaxing. 

These are the projects we worked on:
I continued to hand quilt my Friendship Album quilt and am about half done now. It has been a lovely summer takealong project.

Louise was knitting some socks using an interesting variegated yarn that created a striped pattern.

Barb was making some hexie blocks in a larger size to practice her skills in order to progress to a project with teeny tiny sized hexes.

Deanna was hand stitching a binding on a wedding quilt which she had been hand quilting most of the weekend.

So now it's your turn.
What are you hand stitching today? Share your project with us by linking your instagram or blog post. And if you haven't entered to win the Aurifil thread draw from Monday's post, click here and leave a comment. The winner will be randomly drawn tonight! 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter