Thursday, December 13, 2018

Machine Quilting En Provence

My UFO goal for December is to finish En Provence which was the Quiltville mystery started in November 2016. I have my Brother 1600 machine set up for machine quilting and other vintage machines set up for piecing projects. That way I can work on the quilting a little bit at a time. I am having some pain in my right shoulder so shorter quilting sessions are a good idea.

I decided to quilt two small circles in the middle of all the blocks. The smallest circle is traced around the base of a spool of Aurifil thread, and the larger circle is the size of a canning jar lid. As I come to each block, I trace the lines with an "air erase" marker and stitch it right away as the lines disappear fairly quickly!

This is how the quilting design is turning out - 2 circles in the centre, and arcing lines around the other block shapes are stitched in blue, green and yellow threads. I like changing thread colours frequently. I put the green thread in and stitched all the green blocks in each of the 9 alternate blocks. Then I put the blue thread in and quilted the 4 blue triangles in the 9 blocks. Yellow thread was last and was stitched in the yellow squares and the white diamond shapes. It's a lot of stopping and starting but that's okay with me. It's looking even better than I had hoped! 

Next I will be quilting the light spaces around the pink stars. I procrastinated that decision because the stars extend into the borders and I haven't decided on a border design yet. Feathers? Stippling? Grid?

I am hoping to have the machine quilting finished by Christmas so that I can enjoy hand stitching the binding during quiet family times over the holiday, and maybe even finish the quilt in 2018!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Step #3 of Good Fortune

The blocks this week for the Quiltville mystery were half chevrons and bonus triangles. 
I am using my vintage sewing machine collection to sew my Good Fortune blocks and decided to use my blue White machine this week. It really needed some sewing time... it was so long since I had sewn on it that I couldn't remember how to thread this poor thing!
I watched the video again to jog my memory.

Luckily everything worked well and with a little sewing machine oil, it started to sound as sweet as it was stitching. Here's a tip for folks who collect vintage sewing machines - I have a little laminated card in each of my sewing machine cases to remind me how to wind the bobbin. With each machine being so unique, some wind the bobbin clockwise and some are counter clockwise. If you have a little visual reminder with each machine you never have to guess which is which.

I am sewing half the blocks for this mystery since time is tight for me this year but I still wanted to play along. I used Bonnie's Bonus Buddy ruler and followed her instructions exactly, and my units came out to the perfect size with only very tiny bits of sliver trimming required.

I like to draw a few lines, sew a few, press a little, trim a few, and repeat until the pile of pieces magically turns into finished blocks. 

Here are all my green blocks for step #3. I used a few of my favourite plaids in these blocks. 
I'll be sad when they are used up.
It's a sickness, I know! LOL

Here are all my mystery blocks in their storage bin. It's fun to think that this is a quilt in the making right here! I don't know what it will look like, but so far so good!
Hop over to the Quiltville linky party and see all the beautiful blocks being shown. 

Monday, December 10, 2018

Design Wall Monday - Arrowhead Blocks

Since finishing 2 quilt tops this month (Save the Bees and Secret Santa) my design wall was left empty for a moment. So I searched for my blue Anita's Arrowhead blocks (pattern here) and got to work on those. I have sewn the 9" blocks into 3 long panels that are 2 blocks wide by 8 long. 
As first this quilt was going to be 30 blocks, but I liked the project so much, I had to keep going. I've made over 50 blocks, and have decided I need to make just a few more! 
The plan of the moment is 7 blocks across and 9 blocks down for a total of 63. That will make a quilt that is 63" x 81". I have enjoyed working on this project from start to finish and am already thinking about how I will quilt it.
Hop over to Small Quilts to see more design wall posts.

Sunday, December 09, 2018

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to Slow Stitching Sunday where we make time to slow down our lives, to breathe deeply, to pick up a needle and thread, and take some slow stitches. 
I traced another Gail Pan embroidery pattern to stitch this week and then just didn't feel like working on it. It's cold and wintery here and as cute as it is, I just didn't feel like stitching flowers and a birdhouse. All I wanted to do was get out my oldest UFO and do some hand quilting.

This quilt has been in storage since the weather turned too warm to be sitting under a large, heavy quilt. This quilt is about 22 years old and I still really like it!  I have enjoyed every slow stitch over the years and know that one of these days I'm going to be quilting the border, and then putting on the binding. 

But it won't be happening this month, and probably not even this year.
This month I'm going to enjoy sitting under a warm quilt and working on a project that has no deadline. I'm not making it for anyone, or to gift for a special occasion. It's just an old quilt with a long history, with lots of hours of stitching put into it, under the supervision of my granddog Max who loves to snuggle in a quilt. 
Such happy memories!

I've dug out my circular wooden hoop, quilting thread and needles, my favourite scissors and my quilting glasses. I'm ready to start the winter hand quilting season!

What are you hand stitching today? Do you find that your hand stitching preferences change with the seasons?
Link up your blog post below and share your slow progress with us.


    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, December 08, 2018

Rainbow Scrap Challenge December Year End Goals

I started participating in Angela's Rainbow Scrap Challenge at the beginning of 2011. You can read my first post here, and the hilarious thing about that post is... the quilt I was working on then... is still a UFO! 
I have enjoyed 8 years of being inspired by Angela to sew up my scraps and have been linking up regularly over the years. A few wonderful projects have been finished (my favourite finish this year was "Tied up in Knots") but dozens more have been started!
When playing with scraps I like to have several projects on the go so that there is a use for every size of scrap. Block construction is my favourite part of quilting, so I tend to make a lot of blocks and then start to lose enthusiasm for projects as they approach the layout phase. I usually try to be more focused on finishing some RSC projects in  November and December.

Mad City Mama
In December last year I finished Mad City Mama quilt top and the year before I finished Scrappy Spools quilt top.
My goal this December is: 
1) to quilt Mad City Mama and 
2) to assemble 2 Rainbow Challenge quilt tops - Circle of Squares and Carrie Nation. It's a totally ridiculous overly ambitious goal, but I really want to see some progress on these projects. 
Hop over to the RSC link up and see what other quilters are trying to finish up this week.

Thursday, December 06, 2018

No Longer a "Secret Santa"!

Webbed block
Secret Santa, a Temecula mystery quilt sewalong has come to an end, and since it's not a mystery anymore, I'm making a long blog post about it. This block pattern is called Burgoyne Surrounded. Here is one block in progress (measures 11 3/4" when sewn). The block is webbed, which means all the vertical seams are sewn together. You can see Bonnie Hunter's instructions on webbing a quilt top here. I used this same construction technique to make these blocks with 97 pieces! I never thought we'd be making such a complex design with so many pieces in this mystery. 
Even in spite of webbing each block and being extra careful, I still got one block wrong. Do you see it?!? I was very happy to discover the mistake while working on the sashing (instead of finding it after it was quilted!) It should be an easy fix at this stage.

I put the "pedal to the metal" to finish this quilt top and just love how it turned out! I especially like the bits of darker neutrals, the tiny fussy cut Santa faces, and how well the sashing fabric worked.

Did you notice that I forgot to fix that @#$% mistake?!?!
How is that even possible!?! I can't believe it!
Now it's a harder thing to fix, but still easier than after it's quilted. 
Will I remember to do the repair before I start quilting it?!? UGH!

I found six blogging friends that have posted their finished tops and 2 of them have even finished their quilts! Here they are:

*Check out Nancy's version over at Where's The Dude? The sashing and the border fabrics make it so fun!

*Jeanne at Spiral also has her quilt top done, and even made a little mini quilt from the leftovers!

*Cathy at Sane, Crazy, Crumby Quilting used gold background fabrics and her version just glows!

*You must see Carol's quilt at Artless Fabrications. She has lovely wintery photos to enjoy!

And I found two overachievers who have finished their entire quilt:

*Karen at Moose Bay Muses has the whole thing done... quilted, bound and even labelled!

*Joanne at Thread Head also has her quilt completely finished! Love the photo of it on the ice!

Congratulations to all of you! I know how much sewing went into this project and you guys are mystery quilt rock stars!
Have you seen other photos of the Secret Santa quilts posted in blog land? If so, email me so I can include a blog link in this list.
Now... where's my seam ripper?!?

**Just found Beth's version of Secret Santa posted here.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Quiltville Mystery Step #2

1953 Singer 301
I decided that a fun challenge would be to sew all my Good Fortune blocks on vintage machines. Step #1 was sewn on "Charity" a 1953 Featherweight, and Step #2 was sewn on "Lucy" my 1953 long bed Singer 301

In between sewing together my Save the Bees quilt top, I used the HST's for the Quiltville mystery as leaders/enders (as Bonnie taught us to do). It's like making progress on 2 quilts at once! 
Once the Bees quilt top was finished, I went into full triangle production mode. 

Here are my blocks from the first 2 steps, all counted and organized in their storage bin, waiting for a future step to sew them together in some kind of amazing design!

Hop over to Quiltville's link up to see the blocks that other folks are making for their mystery quilts.