Thursday, March 23, 2017

Scraps and Improv

I am teaching an improv piecing class in Paris (in Ontario, not France!) on Saturday and am getting all my samples out of the closet. I decided that I really wanted to have my Scrap Vortex finished to show the students. It's one of my favourite quilts and it demonstrates how you can use crumbs, scraps and letters to make an "interesting" quilt. 

I started this quilt in June 2015 and this is how it looked when it came out of the UFO closet this week.

I still loved it, and particularly loved that the 'S' in SCRAP turned out to look not as bright as the rest of the word. That's seredipidy!
However, I really wanted to have the word 'vortex' in the quilt, so I pieced the letters, surrounded them with scraps, cut the quilt top in half and inserted the vortex strip.

Here it is...

Definitely not serendipity!

The R's cannot be right above each other! That just didn't look like how I had envisioned it!

Out came the seam ripper, and the quilt top was dissected again! 
I inserted a scrappy strip between the words. 
But there are a few things that need to be changed so I can like it more. And a great border idea popped into my mind, so this project isn't close to being a finished quilt top yet! But it's ready for a road trip to Paris on Saturday!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

It's Blockhead Day!

Have you started the Blockhead project yet? Information about the project can be found here and many beautiful versions of block #1 can be seen here

This is my version of block #2 called Aunt Dinah (link to the pattern can be found here).

These are my first two blocks for this sampler quilt. 

Wednesday is the day that the next block pattern is posted, so I'll be hopping over to Jo Morton's blog today to see her block. 

"Resistance is futile" of course! If you've been strong enough to resist making these cutie pie blocks so far, I am amazed by your self control! 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Aurifil BOM Quilt Top

You never know how a project is going to turn out, especially when it's a mystery BOM. I would love to know the statistics on the number of quilters who start a BOM and actually end up with a finished quilt. Some interesting quilty statistics can be read here from the 2014 survey of American quilters, but there are no statistics gathered on the number of blocks sewn/started/sitting in UFO cupboards.
I have my fair share of those that may or may not become a finished quilt one day, but I have learned something and increased my skills with every block I have sewn. And every once in a while, blocks actually do become part of a quilt top.
Here's my most recent accomplishment...
the Aurifil BOM from 2016 (free patterns are still here). The size of the quilt top is 62.5" x 82".
Although it is a 2 colour quilt, it really is a true scrappy quilt with it's huge variety of red and white fabrics. I was determined to not buy more fabric to finish it, so I had to substitute another red for some of the block sashings. Many of the sashings are pieced from scraps. And the inside light sashing is a different size from the border sashing because I was running out of that yardage too. It was a huge logic/math puzzle (not my strength) which makes this seem like a bigger accomplishment to me than usual!
This will be the perfect project to be quilting during Canada's 150th birthday year!
You can get the instructions for Pat Sloan's layout here, and see a few finished quilt tops at the link up.
To see more design wall postings, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Slow Sunday Stitching

Happy Slow Stitching Sunday! 
Welcome to the weekly blog link party celebrating the art of hand stitching. We recognize how long it takes to make hand stitched creations and we want to encourage you along that slow process.
This is what I am working on today with my Life is Beautiful blocks. 
The 4 patch background squares need to be pieced and then I will hand applique the 4 patch circle (on the bottom left) and the strawberry applique (on the bottom right) onto those 4 patch blocks. You can see the small circles in the centre of the photo which will be appliqued onto the corners of the blocks when the whole quilt top is together.  I'm not exactly sure how that's all going to be done yet. I'm taking one slow step at a time!

Also I have been continuing to take one stitch a day (and sometimes a few more) on this project. Here is how my "1 Year of Stitches" embroidery looks today. The pattern is from Wild Olive.

What step are you taking today to move your hand stitching project along toward completion? Go ahead and pick up your needle and thread, and put in some stitches. Take a small step and/or stitch every day!
And then write a blog post about it and link it below. We are cheering for every step you take toward your goal!

    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Worldwide Quilting Day

Today is Worldwide Quilting Day when we celebrate quilts and quilters around the world. The Quilt Show is offering free viewing of over 200 of their shows this weekend, so there is lots to watch while we sew.

I am excited to get my sewing machine out and start creating something. Yesterday was all about putting on the green for St. Patrick's day, and today is all about the red over at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. This is what my cutting mat looks like today with partial pieces for another Mad City Mama block. 
Happy Quilting Day!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Building Loving Neighbourhoods

When I was at quilt retreat, our guild president showed us how to sew improv house blocks starting with any sized square. It was a little bit scary at first since I didn't want my houses to be totally crazy looking. But every block was more fun to sew than the last. Here are some of the blocks we made at retreat from scraps of batik. Marjorie is going to turn them into a donation quilt. 

Building houses with my Singer 301 (Ethel)
When I heard that the members of the Montreal Modern Quilt Guild were making quilts to donate to the families of the victims of the Quebec City shooting, I couldn't resist participating.

The guild requested 12" house blocks. So I made a little neighbourhood using the Stash Bee tutorial (which is exactly what we learned at retreat) for improv house block construction.  My little houses started out as 6" charm squares and ended up between 4" and 5". 
9 house blocks were joined together to make this 12" neighbourhood, which is in the mail on the way to Montreal.
One little quilt block will not change the world, but it will be part of the efforts to provide more love and comfort in lives and situations where fear and darkness live. 
Linking up to the Let's Be Social party!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

301 Singer Sisters

I enjoyed a fun but short visit with the Erin Quilters last night. It was wonderful to see old friends again and have a quick visit. It was a very snowy drive, so I didn't stay for the whole meeting and was relieved when I arrived home safe and sound.
Sewing on a Free-Westinghouse
I hope to have some sewing time tonight with my 301 Singer Sisters! They are my beloved work horse sewing machines from the 1950's, so of course I have affectionately named these old girls Lucy and Ethel. I make sure to give them a regular workout to keep them in good sewing condition.

Singer Sisters
The threading of these slant needle machines and their bobbins are a bit different from the majority of machines that I use regularly, so I often need a reminder of how to thread the needle (from right to left) and how the bobbins unthread in their cases (the opposite direction of my Brother 1500). A great resource for 301 machines is found at SewUSA. There is a lot of information on a wide range of machines and you can access the threading diagrams here for most of the brands you can think of. Here is the direct link to the 301 information.
Ethel's wiring is a little on the unsafe side, and she probably needs to be re-wired, but that is one job that I haven't learned to do yet. I keep her workouts brief and hope I don't electrocute myself or start a fire! But every time I use these machines I remember how much I like the sound/voice of these machines, and what a nice stitch they make.

I have started making some improv house blocks and need to build a neighbourhood... by Wednesday!