Saturday, January 31, 2009

Mystery Quilt Layout Decision

I have finally finished sewing the blocks for the DD mystery quilt from Quiltville. I am starting step #6 and have to decide how to put the blocks together. I really can't decide, so thought I would throw it out to blogland for input. What do you like best? The first two photos are the way the pattern is written, having the blocks on pointe...with either the pink or the brown floral setting triangles.

When the blocks are put on pointe, I notice the teal squares more prominately. What do you think?
I tried a straight set and I think you see the brown stars a little more, which I like. Then I tried spacing the blocks a bit and would put in a light sashing with pink cornerstones. It would take me longer to sew the top together but I think I might like it a little more...not that I don't like the other settings too!
The photo on the left shows the blocks in a straight set and the photo on the right shows the additional sashing.

What is your vote?
A) On pointe with pink setting triangles
B) On pointe with brown floral setting triangles
C) Straight set
D) Straight set with sashing

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Golden Heart Family

I have been to visit my brother this week. He has been very sick again, and because of his health conditions, he really suffers from the cold and flu viruses that are passed around in the cold weather (you can read about him here). I haven't done much quilting this week, but while he was sleeping, I finished another Capricorn Quilts block of the month. Yes, it's from last year's BOM series! I still have a couple more to stitch and then I have to decide on a setting for my blocks.
Bea is offering a new BOM series for 2009 called "Once Upon a Time" and the first block called 'Rapunzel' is posted. You will be amazed to hear that I am not starting this new project...because I am finishing the one from last year first!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Baby Quilt Bee

We had a very fun baby quilt bee on friday night. The written instructions for the quilt pattern were difficult to follow and so we each sewed our own unique variation from the kits. It was a perfect evening project. I plan to quilt mine at my quilting retreat at the end of February... I'm already getting my line up of projects organized!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Photo Inspiration

I was tagged by Jean a while ago and finally got around to thinking about it today! The rules are...go to your 4th folder of pictures and pick the 4th picture, then write about it.
So the 4th photo in the 4th folder is this one:

The photo was taken on a trip to Santa Fe in the spring of 2006. My husband was attending a conference and I was wondering around town looking for the quilt store and trying not to worry about the kids (I hadn't been away from them much before that trip!) I found this unique store that sold doors and was quite taken by it. My 4th photo folder is full of other photos of the doors I saw, but you probably don't want to be bored with those! I can't really verbalize to this day why I was so captured by this place.
Here is my fabric representation that I made when I came back home. I still feel happy when I look at it and always try to find a place to hang it up especially in the spring.
And I also made these two little abstract door pieces for the Abstract Challenge Yahoo group just for fun. I haven't been active in that group for a while and hope to change that this year. I always think about the monthly theme and sometimes even make a sketch of my ideas and inspirations, but lately haven't taken the next step to translate into fabric.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Mystery update

If you have sewn a Quiltville mystery before, you know how much sewing goes into each block! Here is one of my blocks from step #4. There are 49 pieces in this 9" block and you need 30 of these blocks, that's almost 1500 pieces I have already cut up and sewn together and that is only half of the blocks needed! (Thanks to Andrea for helping me with the math!!)
But it's a deep freeze here in the middle of our Great Canadian Winter, so what else are you going to do but make quilts?!?! Well, my husband and son are going skiing and snowboarding tomorrow, but not me...
I'll be staying warm, sewing more mystery blocks and working on my baby quilt. Anybody else want to come over and join in on the Baby Quilt Bee?? You can read about it in this post.
Here are all my step #4 blocks for the Double Delight mystery set together on my design board. Now I am finally working on step #5!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Out with the OLD... and in with the NEW

OLD mystery...
I have been forcing myself to do a little work on my Orange Crush mystery quilt each day. First I had to baste the quilt and while I was basting I was thinking about possible quilting ideas. I started by quilting in the seam lines around each block and can I tell you how boring that was?!?! It was extremely boring!
However, I must say that I have enjoyed looking out my window at the snow falling and trying to soak up any possible sunrays that might shine in the window. See how close the window is to my quilting table!
Then I started some free motion quilting in the orange blocks but the thread kept breaking. I have tried a number of combinations of needles and threads and have decided that the problem is the orange fabric. Perhaps because is a high weave fabric and/or maybe it has some kind of finish on it that is shredding the thread? So my final decision free motion quilting in the orange blocks! Now I am stalled and thinking about what I will do next. I do not want to do more stitch in the ditch, but after a day or two away from it, I might change my mind.
ON with the NEW mystery...
I have been working away on sewing the Double Delight mystery blocks a few at a time. It is mindless and meditative sewing and has been between fighting with quilting the Orange Crush. On the right are my 130 nine patch blocks from step #3 and on the left are all my blocks from steps 1 to 3 in a spinach salad box, which is great for block storage...thanks Louise!
Now onto step 4 and sewing all these pieces into blocks.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Cold and Hot

Cold is...the weather here. It was minus 20 degrees on my outdoor thermometer this morning (not to mention the windchill factor) and I am already tired of winter and being cold all the time! These photos were taken by the river at the end of our street but they were taken on the weekend when it wasn't as cold, and the river wasn't frozen over completely. On the right is one of my favorite views and the bench where I sit in the summer. It is such a relaxing place to sit when walking the river trail...just to rest and think, or chat with my kids when we take the dog for a long walk.

When the snow and ice weigh down the branches hanging near the water, the branches are frozen into the river, then when it warms up a little and the branches lift up again, you get these really cool effects that I call snow trays and ice trays. The trays eventually start to melt away, or will grow larger when it snows. When the trays get too large and heavy, the branches break off and float down the river. Neat, eh???!?

Hot is...the fun I am having making hot pads/pot holders with selvage edges. I have always tossed these in the garbage after I had enough to tie up my tomato plants in the summer. But after I borrowed this book from my guild library, I have been saving the selvages and making things with them...really lots of fun! This is the pot holder I made for one of my quilty friends for her birthday. I put a little ribbon (from a box of chocolates) on the corner to hang it. Check out Karen Griska's website here for the instructions and her fun blog here for even more ideas of things to make with the selvages.
** Hot Blog News**
I forgot to announce the winners of my recent giveaways.
Deb in New Zealand and Rose Marie in Toronto were the winners of the Trees on the Table "spot the mistake" contest on this blog. Their answers came in my email at the same time, so I sent them both a little gift.
And congratulations to the lucky winner of the baby quilt package celebrating my 300th blog entry (name drawn by my daughter)...and the winner is Julie, who is a frequent visitor to my blog. Send me your address Julie and I'll post your fabric this weekend. Or you can come over to my quilt studio next weekend to the baby quilt bee and we can sew together!!!
Anybody else want to join me on January 23rd (next Friday night) to make up this baby quilt??
See the details here.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Celebrating 300 posts!

Celebration Giveaway
My last blog posting was #300! I decided to celebrate this milestone with a fabric giveaway...this baby quilt kit. First of all what I am going to do is put in one entry for each person who left me a comment on my blog
postings in December, so that is 59 entries already!
The kit has the fabric for the top only and the quilt measures 39" x 50". I didn't make this sample, it was hanging at the store....but I'm have mine ready to sew. This quilt starts by cutting up a panel with pictures of Winnie the Pooh and Piglet and has a piano key border...quick and easy to make up for a baby gift whenever you need one.
Baby Quilt Bee
Which leads me to my next idea...anybody want to come over to the quilt studio and make up one of these baby quilts on Friday January 23rd? I want to make one, so I thought I'd host a baby quilt sewing bee from 6 to 10 pm. For $25 you will get the baby quilt fabric kit, a fun evening of sewing (I'll even turn the heat on for you!), and of course tea and cookies. Email me if you want to come to the bee.
Mystery Quilt Update
I have been sewing late at night this week and have finally finished Step #2! Here are 12 of the blocks. I really like these fabrics together. I have also cut out the pieces for step #3 but I think that when I am done this next step I will put the blocks away for a while and work on some other projects. The strip sewing was very soothing and relaxing after all the activity of Christmas, but now I'm ready to work on something a little more challenging.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Mystery Quilt Step Two

Yahoo...we are connected to the internet again! My husband, bless his heart, has spent many frustrating hours working on this problem and although the wireless system isn't working and he can't work at home, at least I can now check in with my favorite quilt blogs and update mine. After all, quilting activities are the most important computer functions, aren't they??!!
I am working slowly on my Double Delight mystery. It occurred to me that I cook stews and soups in much the same way as I make a quilt. I just keep adding a little more of this and a touch of that as I feel like it. I was getting bored with my selection of pinks and lights, so I dug around in the stash and found a few more pieces to include. Some are small scraps but will add a bit of interest to the quilt overall.
I was also bored with sewing these square in a square blocks. So I have blocks on the go at each stage - some have one triangle on, some have two, some have three and some are ready for trimming. This is a typical scene at my sewing machine. I have had trouble with my wrists with all the trimming (240 blocks to trim!) so as soon as I get 10 blocks with all four triangles on, I stop sewing and trim those blocks. Trimming a few blocks at a time has helped with the wrist pain. Thanks to Sara for this suggestion!
I hope to be able to move on to the next step on the weekend.
Watch for a 300 blog posts celebration giveaway!!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Computer torture

My computer link up is dead! Extensive detective work has not uncovered the problem or the solution and I am finding it to be somewhat torturous! I really have a love/hate relationship with my computer...can't live with it, can't live without it!
So if you are expecting an email from me, please know that I am not ignoring you! I can't access my email or connect to the internet. I am writing from my parent's computer, which is dial up (horrors!) But hey, it's a working dial up!
Computer problems have not interfered with my progress on Bonnie's mystery though. I have almost finished step #3 and will post a photo of my blocks whenever my computer is fixed.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Step #1 finished

I have been sewing like a fiend on Bonnie's mystery quilt blocks (Double Delight mystery). I had no idea these little suckers would take so long to finish! The sewing is easy, but it's the squaring up that takes so long and for the first time that I can ever remember, my wrists are aching after a day of sewing/cutting 120 blocks! I even replaced the blade in my rotary cutter thinking that I was working harder at cutting because of a dull blade.
Here is the result of all that labour!
The problem is that step #2 is more of the same block, with different
colours. So I decided that I will sew up the blocks but not do the
trimming until my wrists feel better. And I will just go on ahead to step #3...yes, I peeked, and we get to start sewing a different block using the pinks, which I am anxious to do!!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year fellow quilters!
How are you ringing in first days of 2009???
Guess what I am doing?
If you guessed quilting, then you are right!!
Bonnie at Quiltville is hosting another mystery quilt - still one of my favorite quilting activities!
In 2008 I pieced 2 quilt tops (Carolina Crossroads and Orange Crush) from Bonnie's mysteries but couldn't find the time in the fall to get in on the 3rd one. But what better way to start 2009 than diving into a new mystery quilt project!?! (shhh...don't mention the UFO's waiting to be's a new year and I need a new project!).
So here are the fabrics I picked out. It's a very different colourway than Bonnie suggested, but my yardage amounts were right and I get to use up a lot of FQ's (that I don't even know where they came from)! I do feel a little bit nervous putting teal in a quilt with this olive green, but if you look at my favorite fabric in this quilt, which is the brown on the right, those 2 colours live happily in that fabric, and some of the olive FQ's have the teal in them, so I'm just going to try it out and see what happens. I may change the green for a dark pink if it doesn't look okay in the blocks, but there is already a lot of bubblegum pink in this quilt (3 yds). On the right is a photo of my strip piecing for step #1.
Oh no...I just see now that step #2 has been posted. I better get off the computer and get sewing!