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.

Monday, December 03, 2018

Save the Bees!

Today is the day for the reveal of Save the Bees! You can read all about it and find out how to get your copy of the free pattern over at Jacquelynne Steeves' blog.
This has been such a fun project to work on. I have enjoyed every step from collecting the fabrics, sewing the blocks using various techniques, and putting the whole top together.

This gold honeycomb fabric is one of my favourites in this quilt. It's called "Bee Creative" by Deb Strain.  It is the fabric that I bought for the large border.

I took this picture while attaching the side honeycomb border because I noticed that during my sewing time I had somehow managed to nick my thumb and two fingers by the knuckles. 
Can you see that?!?
Quilting is a dangerous sport!!

The hardest part of sewing the inside of the quilt together  was picking which fabrics to use for the HST blocks. I put a dark bumblebee square in the centre instead of a QST block. And I put the QSTs in the centre of the borders (instead of the corners) because I only had a small piece of the white fabric left and due to the vertical lines on the fabric, it would have been challenging to piece together long border pieces. So I used smaller border strips with the HSTs in the middle.
I loved how it was coming together.

This next step involved working with fusible applique, which I haven't done for quite a while so it was a bit of a challenge for me. I felt happy tracing and cutting the letters as the activity felt similar to playing with paper dolls when I was a child.

Here are the steps:
trace the letters onto fusible web, peel off one side of the paper, stick letter to wrong side of fabric, cut out shape following your traced lines, peel off other side of paper (this step was not included on the fusible directions so took me a while to remember!) and lay on the border. Then iron letter to border using a hot iron for 10 seconds. 
Here is my ironing board work surface. I use a mylar non stick pressing sheet so that my iron doesn't get sticky from the fusible. You only get one chance to get each letter attached correctly, and if you screw it up, you have to start the border all over again! So I recommend working slowly and carefully in order to get each letter fused just right. 

And here is my  finished quilt top which measures 40.5" x 56.5". I didn't add the last pieced border as the pattern shows, and went with a narrow yellow one instead. I can't wait to get quilting and finish the quilt for the wrap up post in January. I'll be adding some hand and machine quilting, stitching around the letters to make sure they stay put, and adding the antenna to the pieced bee block. Also, I may add another appliqued bee in the borders too. SO FUN!

This month the draw prize giveaway is generously donated by Sarah J. Maxwell. You can win either a fat quarter bundle of Studio 37 fabrics for a US winner or a pattern collection for an International winner (one prize per person per month).  You can enter the draw by leaving a comment below. The draw will made next Sunday Dec. 9th.

And be sure to visit all the featured bloggers and enter their draws too!
Hop over Jacquelynne's facebook group Sew Quilty Friends to see other Save the Bees projects being made.
Linking up to Small Quilts and Let's Bee Social.

Sunday, December 02, 2018

Slow Sunday Stitching

Happy Sunday! 
It's a day for rest, renewal, and stitching! 
We hope you will join us as we slowly stitch creative projects using needles and threads.

Here is the embroidery block for Gail Pan's 2018 BOM that I was working on this week. The December patterns have been sent out to us and I'm way behind in keeping up with stitching 3 designs per month. But that's okay, because I will continue working on this next year. 
Gail will be releasing a new BOM in the new year with a Christmas theme, but I am going to exercise great restraint and finish the 2018 BOM first!! 
Really, I am! LOL
I have about half of the blocks stitched (see many of them here) including this little cute heart. 

I put stitches into this heart in 3 different cities, including while waiting for my son's return at Pearson International Airport, at the November quilt guild meeting, and while visiting a friend recovering from surgery. When I was stitching, I was reflecting on the loving relationships with the amazing people in my life who fill up my heart. The world is full of people who are angry, self serving, and destructive. But people who are loving, kind, and generous are hard to find, and I was feeling very grateful as I was stitching, remembering all the relationships that add something special to the design of my life.

And what about you? 
Are you enjoying the benefits of hand stitching today? Link up your blog post below and share your projects with us.


    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, December 01, 2018


I can't believe it's December 1st!

There hasn't been much leisure time this week, and this weekend every spare moment will be spent finishing my Save The Bees quilt top to post for the blog hop on Monday. Part 2 of Bonnie's Good Fortune mystery was posted yesterday and I have cut all my triangles. Here they are on top of the lid of the storage bin for sewn units. They are ready to feed through the sewing machine as leader-ender units while sewing the bees together.

My One Monthly Goal for December is to finish En Provence. In November I became obsessed with finishing one of my previous mysteries before the new mystery started. Obviously the finish didn't happen, but lots of progress has been made. I'm really enjoying the process of machine quilting this wonderful quilt. All of the 16 pink stars have been quilted and ideas for quilting the alternate block are coming together. It would be great to have another finish in 2018 but December is quite a busy month, so we'll see how it goes!