Monday, August 10, 2020

Design Wall Monday

step #5


On the design wall is the summer mystery quilt that my local quilt guild is doing online. It's a project to encourage quilters to keep sewing through the long covid summer. I am using up some older, less loved stash to make a donation quilt.




The blue/purple border and most of the star points were from a bag of block trimmings from a quilt my friend Marj was making back in February. This was the perfect project to use up these colourful scraps.

step #6

This is the most recent step of the mystery. I used up every bit of that black border fabric with about 1/4" to spare! There are 2 more steps in this mystery project and I'm intrigued about what we will be adding next.

Linking up to Small Quilts

Sunday, August 09, 2020

Slow Sunday Stitching

Welcome to the weekly link up that celebrates all types of hand stitching! 
Do you enjoy applique, hand quilting, knitting, embroidery, EPP, crochet, rug making or beading? Or do you enjoy some kind of hand stitching that we have never heard of?!? If so, we are your tribe! Come join us! We hope you will visit the links below and sprinkle positive comments everywhere you visit because we all need a little more encouragement these days.

I am so close to finishing my 3rd "Stitcher's Revolution" tea towel. I worked on it a bit this week and hope to finish it today. A thunderstorm is predicted, and I'm looking forward to it because that is one of my favourite things to enjoy hand stitching during a summer rain.


What are you looking forward to hand stitching today? Link up your blog post below and share your progress with us. 





You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Saturday, August 08, 2020

Scrappy Saturday - Log Cabin Loonies

It has been a while since I worked on my Rainbow Log Cabin Loony project and this week I decided to add a purple block. The block is made from 1" strips and is made by joining 4 log cabin blocks. There are 52  pieces in this 8" block. 


This project has been in progress for about 2 years and was inspired by Julie's Log Cabin Loonies group. Her block cutting instructions are still posted here. It is time consuming to cut out all the little pieces, but then it is really fun sewing them together. (The pieces on the left of the photo are squares that will be sewn into waffle blocks).


The new purple block joins the other 9 here on the design wall. I like the zigzag effect of this layout. It still needs  a few more blocks added... maybe pink, brown, grey? Maybe I'll have to also make some half blocks for the outside edges if I use this layout?
Linking up to Rainbow Scrap Challenge

Friday, August 07, 2020

Machine Quilting Preparations

When I teach machine quilting, I always stress the importance of preparing and thinking through all the choices before you start:


I 💖 this machine!

1) machine - I only quilt with my 25+ year old Brother 1500.  It has been a work horse for all these years and it can reportedly stitch 1500 stitches per minute. I don't know about that as I would never sew that fast, but it sure does a great job! (no affiliation to any of the companies listed here, just a really happy customer of these products)
2) thread - for me, it's always Aurifil 50 weight. My machine loves this thread and I never have tension issues to deal with, so I buy it by the cone (6452 yards/5900 metres).
3) needle - I have the best success with the topstitch 90 needle for machine quilting. I do not have any skipped stitches (when I'm using the Warm and Natural batting which I purchase by the roll).
Oil, quilting foot, needles and bobbins
4) oil - add lots of oil before quilting so the thousands of mechanical movements can be smooth and slick.
5) bobbins - I usually wind up 3 bobbins full of thread to start quilting a project.
6) quilting foot - I chose the open toe embroidery foot for the free motion quilting on this project. The thing I dislike about it is that it gets caught on every pin, but I like being able to fully see when I am quilting loops. I will try to be very careful when I rearrange the quilt as I go along to avoid snagging the pins.


orange duck watching the looping stitches
I decided to start by quilting loops on the sashings. I enjoyed visiting the scrappy blocks as I quilted on by. The goal was to make all the loops go in the same direction, but I couldn't seem to remember that, and they ended up going every which way. 

***The invitation of machine quilting is... to suspend your perfectionistic tendencies and ENJOY the process wherever it leads and however it looks! It helps me to remind myself that I am not trying to create a masterpiece, I'm just trying to finish a quilt!



In this block the deer is running away, the fox is sound asleep, and the rabbit is supervising the quilting!

Thursday, August 06, 2020

Pin Basting

Shoo Fly quilt top
The Shoo Fly blocks have become a finished quilt top! This project was started last July as the Quiltville leader-ender challenge and my version has 140 Shoo Fly blocks that finish at 4". Some of the sashing is white and some is a light floral. I decided not to add a border and just proceed to quilting.

I would like to give mention to Cathy at Sane, Crazy, Crumby Quilting who has inspired me by making incredible complex scrappy quilts using her totally scrappy approach. 


Ready to pin baste
I used her random layout technique in this quilt... picked 4 Shoo Fly blocks and sewed them together with white sashing, then I randomly sewed the sets of 4 with floral sashing. I love how it turned out!

There are A LOT of small pieces of fabric used up in this quilt, the blocks did not all measure exactly 4", and there are A LOT of seams. It's a little wobbly and hilly in spots, so I'm a bit worried that it might be challenging to quilt. 

Kwik Klip tool

I started the pin basting during a family zoom, and this photo shows me using my favourite Kwik Klip tool to insert and close the basting pins. It makes quick work (less than an hour) of putting 140 pins into the quilt. 
I will post tomorrow about how I prepare for machine quilting.

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Midsummer Challenges

August has bought blogging challenges AND gardening challenges. The blogging challenge is that the new system is now the default program. We have until the end of the month to stop reverting to the workable legacy program, so I'll just keep using it until Blogger prevents me from doing so.
The gardening challenges are way easier to deal with!
cute baby bunny in the garden
It's hot and dry, and the garden has to be watered every day to keep things alive and growing. I have a very small garden this year with tomatoes, zucchini, cucumber, basil, peppers, carrots, beans, and a bit of spinach and lettuce in a raised bed. It's a constant battle for the produce with the resident bunny family. Mostly they win, but sometimes we get some of the veggies.


black swallowtail butterflies-to-be
I had to sacrifice my favourite parsley plant to a family of black swallowtail caterpillars. These creatures become beautiful butterflies and they are great pollinators, so I decided to let them live here.



The zucchini is out of control! The rabbits usually only bite into a couple of them at the beginning of zucchini season. Once they realize that they really don't like zucchini, they leave the rest for the humans.


The tomatoes are late appearing this year. Maybe they are worried about getting COVID too? Should I make them tiny little masks so they feel safer being so close to their friends? LOL Covid humour :)


Gardeners' humour!

Midsummer is when I get weary of the watering and weeding. It's a predictable process that unfolds over the season... 
I can't wait to plant seeds in May, really enjoy checking on all the baby plants in June, watch and water faithfully in July, and by August I am so over all of it! 

Monday, August 03, 2020

August UFO

It's hard for me to know when a project has served it's purpose, and it's time to wrap it up and move on. I tend to be a lofty goal setter and have high expectations of myself. 


some Blockheads 2 on the design wall
So when the project in question is Moda Blockheads 2 and it is supposed to have 52 blocks, but I only made 26 of them during the quiltalong, I put pressure on myself to finish those other 26 blocks so it can become a finished quilt.

Here are some of the block designers finished quilts that I was able to find online:
*Coriander Quilts' finished quilt here
*Minick and Simpson's red, white and blue version here, and 
*Sherri from A Quilting Life shares her lovely quilt here

These awesome quilts make me want to finish my quilt with ALL the blocks. So I let the blocks sit in the UFO closet for a while and hoped my "fantasy quilting self" would magically finish all the blocks and make a great quilt! But we all know what happens in the UFO closet ... nothing!


Blockheads 2 pieces on the design wall
However, I have learned from my blogger friends who easily adapt projects to their own liking, that when they tire of the block making, they finish up the project no matter where they are in the process. They have a lot less UFOs and more finishes. I want that too!

There were lots of reasons why I lost interest in this project, but most importantly was when the pace increased to more than 1 block a week, I couldn't keep up. It was reassuring to me that even the block designers couldn't keep up with the pace! Once I fell behind, there was just no catching up again, even though I loved my Sweetwater fabrics 

Okay... all of this to say... my UFO goal for August is to finish this quilt top. I have decided to accept it for what it is (the COVID19 life lesson in a nutshell!) and just finish it up with the blocks I have made. 


The next decisions are how to lay out these blocks of varying sizes, to add sashing or not, and of course what to do about borders. Lots of decisions ahead... linking up to One Monthly Goal  and Small Quilts.