Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Stash Butterfly Quilt

A group of my quilting friends have been working on blocks for a donation quilt since last summer. You can read about the beginning of the project here. We finally are finished piecing the last blocks. I thought the butterflies needed to have antennae. The group members agreed and said "have fun with that"!! But what kind of antennae to make? I couldn't decide, so I am making each butterfly different. It was fun at first and now I am bored with it!
How many more do I have to do???
This many!!!
On the right is a photo of all the finished (antennae-less) blocks on my design wall...made completely from our stashes. We worked on piecing them mostly at home and didn't know what fabrics the other quilters were using, so there is a wide variety of colours.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Catching up

This week I have been working away on my long term projects including 1) the Bead Journal Project (group blog here and my BJP blog here), 2) my 365 quilt and 3) Journey of a Quilter stitchery. It feels good to be making significant progress again and having some time to devote to these projects. I have finished all my fabric recordings for 2007. December entries were the longest month so far, since it was such a busy time of year with lots of activities going on to write about. I had two exciting blog happenings this week. One is that Bonnie at Quiltville posted some photos from her mystery quilt project and I am so thrilled that she used a photo of my quilt. Check out all the wonderful quilts she inspired at her blog here. The second is that my photo from this post of my ring blocks from Bonnie's mystery quilt inspired Solvi to make another whole quilt! Read all about it here.
Bonnie has come up with another great give quilters something to work on during the Super Bowl. Read about her idea here to make scrappy bargello quilts. Since I have already made a top using her pattern, I am not tempted (yet!) to start another quilt top! Maybe I should use that time to put on the borders and actually quilt this teal bargello quilt I made at last year's quilt retreat. Maybe....but starting a new quilt is so much more fun!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Dreamcatcher Mini Quilts

There is a wonderful quilt pattern on the Quilt in a Day website by Sue Bouchard called Dreamcatcher. Sue wrote the pattern to finish 28" x 28". I tried making it using 1.5" paper pieced blocks and it made this cute Christmas gift for someone who loves the Thimbleberries fabric line.
Sue gave me permission to teach her design in this small size and I presented it as a mystery project to my mini quilt class. I had to make another one since I had given my first quilt away. And look what happened! I knew the design, and had already sewed it once and still made a few mistakes in piecing the top! What is wrong with me these days (I did the same thing with Bonnie's mystery quilt)?!?! Let's just blame it on the winter weather.
For the mini class, the students had to pick 5 fabrics (border, light background, and 3 other coordinating fabrics) without knowing what the final design was. That was quite a challenge but they did a great job. Here are their wonderful little Dreamcatcher quilts. Isn't it just amazing how the fabric choices change the look of the design?!?! I just LOVE that!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Mystery solved!

Okay all you faithful blog are really in the bad books today! That's right...all you folks who read my blog on Thursday and looked at my pieced star blocks, but didn't tell me that I had one pieced wrong! Check out on the star blocks on that post, the right hand column, third block down...UGH! Why didn't any of us see that?!?!
So, I started putting together the blocks. Here is a weird photo of the top left corner of the quilt. It is so busy I was almost going blind! But I was really delighted with how well the seam matching was going, and the rows were coming together really well. I realized as I was sewing that this is the first large quilt that I have ever made on point.
I was merrily sewing along, had all the blocks on the design wall, and about 3/4 of the rows sewn, when my Dad arrived for a little visit. Sometimes he likes to bring me a Tim Horton's coffee, and sit and chat with me while I sew. He sat and stared at the quilt for a long time and said "Sweetie, something isn't right in the middle". I thought it was making him blind too, until I saw the twisted QST! There it was, right in the middle of the rows I had already sewn together. So then I thought about calling it a "humility" block and leaving it alone. But it was bugging me, so I had to rip out the block and turn it the correct way.
It made me feel better to know that fellow mystery quilter Jeanne did the same thing...check out her version of the quilt here.
And here is my finished mystery quilt top. As you can see I decided to make it 4 blocks across and 6 blocks down (instead of 5 blocks x 5 blocks). Everyone in my family is tall, and since my 13 year old is almost 6 feet and still growing, I think I better start making my quilts longer! So I have one extra ring block and one extra star block, which I'll either include in the backing somehow, or make into pillow covers.
I am happy with the little bits of light blue that I tossed in and think that it is an interesting looking quilt. I have a great fabric that I am going to try to use for a thin light border, and a black fabric for a wider outside border.
Thanks again to Bonnie at Quiltville for all the fun!
For those who enjoy knowing the details of the number of pieces in a quilt,
my quilt with 39 blocks has:
Ohio star blocks: 15 blocks at 53 pieces each = 795
Rail/ring blocks: 24 blocks at 49 pieces each =1176
Setting triangles: 16 blocks at 30 pieces each = 480
Corner triangles: 4 blocks at 17 pieces each = 68
For a total of 2519!!
That's a lot of cutting and sewing !!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Step #7 blocks finished

I have been a one woman piecing factory today. My family is away skiing, snowboarding, shopping, and working, and I had a glorious sewing day all to myself! This is a very rare occurence and I enjoyed every second of it. On the left is a photo of one of the step #7 blocks of the mystery quilt. On the right is 16 of the finished blocks. Don't they look great together? I thought that I could just add a sashing and have a lovely quilt with these blocks!
But I kept right on sewing and was able to finish all the blocks needed to piece together the mystery and here they are. They don't really look like much sitting here a pile, but just you wait until tomorrow when I sew them all together!!!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Happy Snowman Day

Today is declared "Snowman Day" on the Stashbuster's yahoo discussion group. Although we don't have enough snow here in Southern Ontario, Canada today to make a snowman, we did a few weeks ago and I posted some photos here.

This week I tried to teach some quilters how to sew paper pieced snowpeople blocks...not mentioning any names, but some of them had a little trouble with their blocks! It seemed particularly enticing to some quilters to sew the background fabric as the faces, instead of the white?!?! Here is my little wallhanging which is hanging on my front door for the month of January.
It is from Wendy Vosters pattern (click here for her website) and she was very generous in letting me teach this block to another group of unsuspecting quilters! This is a fun block to sew and Wendy provides the free pattern on her website. She also has patterns for a paper pieced alphabet quilt as a free giveaway to celebrate her new Mini Quilts paper piecing book (in photo on the left).
Special thanks to Leanne who brought everyone an adorable little chocolate snowman - it was almost too cute to eat!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Step #6 Finished

This week is just speeding by me! The last block of Bonnie's mystery quilt has been posted and I am so close to working on it. But first I had to finish sewing 16 of these Ohio Star variation blocks. I was glad that I had carefully squared up the hourglass blocks from step #5, since it was tricky to get these blocks to join together well at the seams.
Here are my 16 blocks on the design wall. I like the design that these blocks make when displayed all together. But that's not how it will be sewn...this is only less than half of the blocks I need for the mystery.
I can now start to sew my last blocks from my remaining 100 rail fence blocks, 100 9 patches, and 25 light squares.
Back to "work"....

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Step #5 half finished

I didn't have much time to sew this weekend since it was my son's 13th birthday celebrations. It was a weekend of shopping for, feeding and tolerating the noise of a pack of loud boys! But they are great kids really and I'm happy that my son enjoyed his memorable 24 hour party!
I did have some sewing moments, hiding away from all the chaos, and was able to sew up the 16 Half Star blocks. I just keep hoping that my quilt doesn't end up looking like a dog's breakfast! These blocks are quite busy looking, don't you think?? I am looking forward to sewing the 4 Quarter Star blocks and then 16 Star blocks. Some of the quilters on the Mystery Quilters blog ring (links are on the right side of my blog) have already figured out the mystery! I wish my brain worked like that, but I still do not have a clue how this is going to some together. Look at all these blocks sitting in my plastic bin! Where are they going?!?!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Step #5 finished

I finally had time to open up my Christmas present and become acquainted with my new sewing machine. I thought this might be a good block to sew since the quarter inch seam is so different on this machine and it was not as necessary to be perfect in this block. We were working well together as a sewing team and quickly producing the 100 hourglass blocks for the mystery quilt, until I noticed a problem with my blocks. Can you see it in the photo on the right? When I sewed the second seam, somehow it pulled the fabric back in the centres. Some blocks were just fine, but this was happening on about 25% of the blocks. I tried very hard to fix this, putting the blocks through very carefully, but couldn't seem to solve the problem. I ended up having to take out 2-3 stitches in the middle of the seam, fold the lip back and resew that part of the seam. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what is causing this?
Anyway, I persisted and resewed the problematic blocks, and then squared up the blocks to 3.5". It was a lot of work, but I was determined to catch up before Bonnie posted step #6. And I just made it! How are these blocks going to be sewn together?!? It's a mystery!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Step #4 finished

I finished step #4 of Bonnie's mystery quilt today, even though my son has been home sick from school. In between waiting on him hand and foot (and doesn't everyone love being waited on when feeling under the weather?!?) I really enjoyed sewing these cute little units.
Ruthie emailed me to help with my calculations on my previous posts about how many little squares we are sewing in the 9 patch blocks for the mystery was even more than I had thought! I adjusted the numbers based on correct addition :)
And another fun happening was that Jeanne honoured my blog can read what she wrote here.
That really made my day!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Step #3 finished

I forced myself to get those little 9 patch blocks done and here they are!
They look so cute sitting there...don't know what all my fussing was about!!!
Now I am ready to get going on step #4. Bonnie said she might post Step #6 on Thursday or Friday, so I am still optimistic that I can get #4 and #5 done before then. Here are all my finished blocks, waiting in a plastic bin...rail fence on the left, 9 patch in the middle, step #2 blocks and filler squares on the right.
I was at quilt guild meeting tonight and I always come home revved up on quilting energy, so maybe I'll go sew some step #4 blocks now...can't sleep anyway!

Monday, January 07, 2008

How small is "too small"?!?

I can't believe I'm saying it, but I am tired of 1 1/2" squares! That's right - I said it!
Step #2 had 900 1 1/2" squares. (Done)
Step #3 has 720 1 1/2" squares. (Halfway done)
Step #4 only has 120 of these squares. (Not started yet)
And so I took a wee break from the squares today and jumped ahead to Step #5 to sew something different...don't tell anyone!
On the Stashbuster's Yahoo group there has been some discussion this week about how small is "too small" of a piece of fabric you would keep. I keep everything - even the seam trimmings from paper piecing blocks and very rarely throw out anything except snips of beige thread. I put the tiny scraps in jam jars and line them up on the shelves of my sewing room. Here is one of my shelves. I will sometimes sort through the bits and take out specific colours to make a mini quilts such as I did for this quilt. But mostly I just admire the pretty colours and it makes me feel happy. So here is a photo of what I was doing tonight...cutting off the dog ears, putting them in the jar. Looks like I better look for a new jar...this one's getting full. There's probably still room for the other 180 snips to fit in!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Step #2 finished

I am on a roll - this is my fourth blogging day in a row! And I am sewing along like crazy, trying to catch up to the rest of the group. I have finished step #2 - 100 9 patch blocks (3" finished). I sprinkled in a few blue squares because I was getting tired of the green and now I like the blocks better. I had a few renegade blocks...don't know how that happened! There are no blocks like these two on the left (so far) in this design.
Now I am off to sew more 9 patches with darks in the corners.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Step #1 finished

I sewed all morning and finished the first step of the mystery - 100 rail fence blocks. Here they are...not looking nearly as wonderful as they should for all that time and effort! Oh well, they will look better when they are put together with their friends! It sure has been great to use up all the small bits and scraps of these fabrics that were just sitting in a box. I already have cut lots of 1 1/2" strips to go right into step #2 this afternoon.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Quiltville Mystery

Yippee...I am finally starting the Quiltville mystery called Carolina Crossroads! I have been thinking about it, dreaming about fabric combinations, and wishing for time to sew, and here it is! My husband is taking the kids to a football game tomorrow, and I get to sew all day...can't wait!
As I wrote on Dec. 26th, if I couldn't make the entire quilt from my stash fabric, I wasn't going to do this project. I dug around in the boxes today and came up with a huge pile of browns, blues, rusts, etc. but wasn't happy with the thought of sewing all those dark colours. Then I found a box of fabrics that were black backgrounds with lots of colour and I was happy to have those as my dark. Then I settled on white fabrics with some black patterns for the lights, and picked bright green for my accent colour. I'm not sure if I'll have enough green fabrics, so I have pulled out some blue to use if I need to. I have cut enough strips to get started on the rail fence blocks.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

2007 Quilt Review

It has been a beautiful winter wonderland here, with overnight temps of minus 20. My dog is refusing to go for walks in this cold weather, so yesterday I went for a nice walk by myself and took a few photos of the snowmen made by the nieghbourhood children.
I think they are really creative...especially the one on the right, which has great detail!
I have been pondering making a list of my UFO's, as many of my fellow bloggers have bravely done (go look at Meredith's list). But I know that would be too time consuming, overwhelming and probably discouraging for me. In 2005 I started a list (didn't dig too deep) and came up with over 50 UFO's. I made a short list of 12 projects to work on and by the end of the year had finished 7 of them. In 2006, I made another short list of 9 and finished 3 of those. I did like having this list to keep me somewhat focused, and might try to do that some time this week.
I thought it might be more fun to review my accomplishments for 2007 and here is a summary of what I accomplished:
Mini Quilts - Abstract Challenge: finished 3 pieces ("family", "country", and "orange" themes)
Paper Pieced Mystery blocks completed: 3 blocks sewn (still just at block stage)
Mini Quilts - 7
Wallhangings - Pieced 56 blocks and quilted Guild President's Challenge by the deadline
Pieced and Quilted the Spring Shop Hop banner
Baby Quilts - 2 finished and given away
Lap Quilts - 2 for nieces; pieced and quilted Christmas Quilt (made of 80 HST blocks)
Mystery Quilts - 3 tops completed (2 sizes from Quiltaholics spring mystery and 1 from fall)
Charity Quilts - made blocks for the UFO group quilt last year and blocks for this year's
- Assembled blocks and quilted one guild BOM quilt; quilted a second BOM quilt
Classes - took 3 classes this year - a Quilted Vessel class with Christine Ford, a Bead making class with Judith Eckhardt, and a Paper Piecing class with Denise McKenna
Teaching - Taught 23 local quilting classes
Other quilting highlights:
-attended a 2 night/3 day quilt retreat; attended Quilt Festival, where 3 of my quilts were displayed; lectured at at the Georgian Quilt Guild; lectured and taught at the Orillia Quilt Guild; made a halloween costume for my son (no quilting involved but lots of sewing); hand embroidered and sewed 10 pillows for Christmas; went on 2 Shop Hops
Ongoing projects started in 2007:
1)Bead Journal Project - finished 4 months so far
2) Journey of a Quilter - finished stitching 4 1/2 blocks
3) 365 Quilt - finished 8 months
It was a very busy and fun quilty year! I look forward to continuing my ongoing projects and finishing some of my UFO's from previous years. I would really like to get my scrap management system improved. The problem being that once I start playing in the scraps, I get distracted and start making things instead of here to see the last time I tried!
Well, I better get going on making some supper, and retrieving the children from their friends' homes. This is the view I enjoy from my kitchen window this week...takes me longer to cook when I keep gawking out the window!!
Happy Quilting in 2008!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

It is already New Year's Day did that happen?? It seems that I am in an accelerated time warp where days and weeks speed by way too fast to savour. This past week has been a frenzy of family and friends, travelling, cooking, and partying, and I am too old for all this frenetic activity! I have enjoyed our great Canadian winter weather when taking my dog for a walk. Here are two photos from Boxing Day, when all the trees were covered in sparkly ice/frost. On the right is the view I have when walking by the river at the end of our street...just beautiful.
Since my Mother-in-law is too ill this year to qualify for health insurance to travel in the US, we decided to meet in Niagara Falls for our Christmas Celebrations. It was farther for our American relatives to drive but it worked out okay. Here are the views from our breakfast table...the photo on the left is the American Falls and on the right is the Horseshoe Falls.

We have lots of wonderful memories from this past week. I was delighted that I was able to accomplish as much as I had hoped, getting all my presents finished and wrapped on time for each celebration.
Now it is time for some much needed rest and relaxation. If you can believe it, I have not even opened the box to see my new sewing machine! I hope to do that today. I am disappointed that I do not have the energy to sew the mystery quilt projects that are going on today. So much quilting excitement, so little time! Kim, one of my fellow stashbusting bloggers, told me about this mystery at Planet Patchwork and there is also a mystery over at (although I don't like the "pop ups" at this site) . There is also a video mystery quilt posted at Quilt Bug which looks interesting. I am still hoping to be able to do Bonnie's Quiltville mystery quilt although I am already 4 steps behind!
I wish all of you, my wonderful blog readers, a healthy and happy 2 008. Thank you for the encouragement and ideas that you have shared with me this past's to lots of quilting time this year!