Saturday, February 28, 2009

Retreat projects report #1

This is one of the first projects I wanted to finish at retreat. In my previous mini class I taught the wheel of mystery a.k.a. winding ways (you can see my first quilt here). The pattern is from the EQ5 block called "four leaf clover". I thought it could be easily changed to this variation of the design by drawing heart lobes on each petal and it could become a Valentine's mini. I had finished most of the applique by retreat, so I just had to stitch in the ditch, buttonhole stitch around the hearts, bind, and sew on the buttons. I think the bias binding gives it a nice edging. Blcoks are 3" and the quilt measures about 9.5".
Warning...mystery spoiler ahead!
I must have been still thinking about Valentine's day because my next project turned out to be more of the same theme! I had printed out the mystery block from Paper Panache and gathered the fabrics a while ago, but didn't have a chance to get to it until retreat. This is what the pieces looked like from the front and how the block pieces fit together from the back.

And this is the finished block...a Valentine's rose.
The process of these mini paper pieced mysteries is truly one of my favorite quilting activities...not too time consuming but complex enough to be a challenge. Thanks to Linda who has been providing these delighful free mystery blocks for years ( I have made 7 of 50 her mystery blocks).

Friday, February 27, 2009

Back from retreat

I am home from my quilting retreat...exhausted but happy! Today I feel disappointed in my progress, since I had high hopes for accomplishing my goals. As with everything I do, I try to fit in more than is humanly possible, and I packed my car with 14 projects! I take a lot of ribbing from my friends about my obsession, especially since we have someone at retreat (Sue) who brings ONE project and works on it until it is done! Say what?!?!
This is the tally:
14 projects taken to retreat
4 small projects were finished (3 mini quilts and one quilt block challenge sewn)
2 other projects were worked on and some progress was made
1 quilt was started (I HAD to start something new, right?!?)
6 project boxes/bags were not even opened and 1 bag didn't even make it out of the car into the retreat centre

This is NOT the reason why! This was a totally contrived shot and I was innocently working away on my block trimming when this alcohol was placed on my table!
Over the next couple of days I will show you the projects I worked on, but today I will share the two new things I remembered about myself.
One is that I definately like variety - "variety is the spice of life" right? My friends decided I am a Spice new nickname is "Mini Spice". This seems much funnier at midnight than it does on the blog page!! I like to work on lots of things at once, and have each project in every stage of development. I cut a little, sew a little, make one block, press a little, etc. I never
complete one stage and then move on to the next stage. Exhibit A - this is my scrappy flying geese UFO that I inherited from my friend Liz (see this post). I have a bag of pieces untouched, and the following piles... sewn HST's, pressed HST's, trimmed HST's, flying geese sewn, 2 geese sewn together and 3 geese sewn together. Overall at this point, still a big mess!
The second thing I remembered is that I HATE when retreat is over! Here is a photo taken of me at 1:50 pm (retreat ends at 2 pm). Everyone else is packed up or gone and I am still trimming blocks. However, once the friends leave, it's really not as much fun!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Off to retreat

I am packed up and ready to go to retreat! I could hardly sleep last night going over in my mind my list of projects and hoping I haven't forgotten anything. Here is how my table looked yesterday as I worked through which projects get to come along, and which ones stay home. I tried not to berate myself for having so many UFO's and just focused on what I hope to finish.
I like to have a balance of projects to suit any mood I might be in...a little hand stitching, machine stitching, paper piecing, quilting, beading, never know what you might feel like working on, right?!?
And of course I had to have a new project, so I cut up this bunch of old batiks and we'll see how far I get with that.
See you when I'm back!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

It's all Andrea's fault!

Last year I saw a quilt on Andrea's blog (Welsh Quilter) and thought the block looked like a fun one to play with. So I made a mini quilt (put on sunglasses and click here to view) with 3" blocks and had so much fun that I decided to share this block idea with my mini quilt group. This week they brought in their quilts made in January using Andrea's block and here is the wonderful outcome! The photos should enlarge when you click on them (if I downloaded them correctly!). What an amazine variety of fabrics and colours!
Almost everyone found that the "on pointe" layout was a bit (or a lot!) of a challenge, but the results were worth all the work! I think this project resulted in the most finished quilts and tops so far!
Carol made her own unique version of the layout, which she called "a mistake" but we called it "creative license"!
See what happens when one quilter inspires another...thanks Andrea!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Scrappy fabric gifts

I am such a lucky duck! I have quilting friends that give me scraps leftover from their projects. Most quilters don't like to throw out scraps, but some people also don't enjoy making miniature quilts, so what to do with the small pieces?? Give them to Kathy...she loves fabric gifts! Here are 2 bags of batik scraps I received from my friend Judy. They are going to be sewn into a paper pieced quilt that I plan to make for our guild quilt show in the fall.
And here is a bag of scraps that Liz gave me at guild meeting. Last year she made a flying geese quilt and these are some of the cut off corners that some people would probably throw in the garbage. But I love them and have already started sewing some of them together. It is wonderful mindless sewing for late at night when I can't sleep. Because of the way the pieces were cut off, there is a little light corner on each dark triangle which I don't like. It will make the seam joins quite thick. So I am going to rip those corners off (where are all my seam rippers???!) and then sew the HST's. So truthfully, this is probably the beginning of another UFO!!
Do you have quilting friends that give you scraps and make you have more UFO's?!? LOL!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


I forgot to say what I bought on my Michigan trip. I didn't have much time to shop, but I did get to Jeanne's store The Quilted Cottage and picked up a couple of little things. I am trying to save my money for Paducah, so I am on a restricted quilt budget these days. But I did pick up a few little treats...some red and white for a Valentine's mini quilt and the cutest little roll of 1 1/2" strips of moda prints from a line called "Oh Cherry Oh". It is called a Honey Bun and I haven't seen these in Canadian stores. I'm sure I won't use it, just enjoy looking at it! I also bought some knitted socks and fingerless mittens, which I will be wearing at quilt retreat next week.
And speaking of quilt retreat....anybody want to come?? We have an opening and you would definately have a great time! You can read about last year's retreat (where I detail the hazards of retreat)'s only fair to warn people about what happens when you have too much fun! If you want to come, it is Monday Feb. 23 at 10 am to Thursday Feb. 27 at 2 pm. in the Guelph area of Ontario, Canada. Email me if you're interested.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Michigan Road Trip

I am back from a whirlwind trip to Michigan. I had a quick visit with my sister and her family in Troy and then drove up to Saginaw for a serendipity visit with Jeanne from the Luv to Stitch blog. I emailed her at the last minute when I realized I would be driving very close to her favorite quilting store. And guess what?!? She was available for shopping and lunch! It was very exciting to meet her and see her store The Quilted Cottage (well, not "her" store, but you know what I mean!). Jeanne is a veteran blogger and she has met a lot of quilters from cyberspace, but this is the first time I have ever met a quiltblogger in real life. Thanks again Jeanne!
Then I headed north to Mt. Pleasant to visit my friend Michelle who is recovering from her second mastectomy. One of the fun things about visiting a friend who is a quilter is being able to sleep under her quilts. This is a quilt that Michelle's Mom made and I took a close up shot so you could see all the gorgeous hand quilting. It was a well loved quilt and very soft and snuggly to sleep under.
And I wanted to show you this quilt that Michelle's friends just made for her to snuggle up with while she works through her surgeries and cancer treatments this year. It is a bright and happy lap quilt, and on the back of the quilt are appliqued hearts with hand written messages of love and inspiration from her friends.
And this is one of the main reasons I went to Michigan...not that I don't love my friend, but I am totally in love with her miracle baby! I was the Valentine's date babysitter and had a great time snuggling and playing with and reading to this perfect little person. Here is baby Laura sleeping with the quilt I made for her before she was born. (You can read about it here.)

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Plodding along

It was a busy weekend with family activities and parties so I haven't had much time for quilting. In my stolen moments of sewing, I have been plodding along with the DD blocks. I decided to make the double 9 patches be the outside blocks that will butt against the brown floral setting triangles (see layout #2 here) so I needed to make 12 more double 9 patch blocks....which means 12 x 5 = 60 3" 9 patch blocks! But I didn't have much fabric left. I cut all my remaining scraps into small squares and have been trying to cobble together the last few blocks. Makes me remember how great strip piecing is for sewing blocks like this...I made the first 20 blocks in much quicker time than the last 12.

Friday, February 06, 2009


It's COLD here! I envy those of you who don't have to worry about freezing to death while you while you brush the snow off your car in the morning! This is the ice hanging on the corner of our house. It was minus 27 degrees on my outdoor thermometer yesterday. It was so cold that the schools did not allow the children to go outside for a 15 minute recess!
So I made turkey soup. It seems to be some kind of evolutionary response for's cold and I am compelled to make a soup or stew for the family to survive! After we eat our Thanksgiving and Christmas turkeys, I throw the bones in the freezer in my old tupperware container and then in the middle of the winter when these urges kick in, I get that box of bones out of the freezer and get to work. First I boil the carcass for a couple of hours, strain it, and separate the bones from the meat. And then spend some relaxing time listening to the CBC radio, washing and chopping whatever veggies I have in the fridge. On the left you can see the carcass ready to go in the garbage, and the chopped veggies - cabbage, zucchini, green onion, carrots, celery and red peppers ready to go into the pot.
And ta is the finished product!
A hearty turkey vegetable soup.
I'd like to be able to put the vegetable peelings in my composter, but it's too far from the house and the snow is too deep to get there. I'd also like to have an indoor vermicomposter like Libby does (read the Jan. 15th post) but I can't get my family to agree to having the little wigglers in the house...obviously they'd freeze to death out on the porch...even sitting in the sun!
I am getting myself organized to attend a quilt retreat at the end of the month...going through some of my UFO cupboards and figuring out which projects to take along. I like to include a balance of projects that include machine piecing, machine quilting, hand embroidery, binding, paper I can work on whatever I feel like in the moment. I'll show you the pile when it's assembled!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

More Trees on the Table

Thank you for all your votes on my mystery quilt layout...I was
overwhelmed by all the response! Thank you for taking the time to consider your preference. Of the on pointe choices, the preference was the brown floral (B). The votes on the straight layouts (C and D) was fairly even. And the overall winner was B. I tried to layout the blocks again today and realized that I unintentionally had layed out all the blocks backwards to Bonnie's layout! She has the "flower" blocks on the outside and I put the 9 patch on the outside! I guess I must prefer it that way...I did every layout option that way. The only problem is to do that layout, I need about 10 or 12 more 9 patch blocks. I absolutely do not like the flower blocks on the ouside against the brown setting triangles, so now I have to calculate if I have enough fabric to make more 9 patches for layout B. Stay tuned to see how it all works out!!
I forgot to post the quilts that the mini quilters brought to class last week. In December we made the Trees on the Table pattern from Marcie at Patchalot Patterns. Thanks again to Marcie for sharing this design with us. You can see the plaid one that I made for my nieces here. It was such a fun project to make and resulted in these fabulous little quilts!
The quality of these photos is not very good and I apologize for that because the detail of the quilting and embellishments in these quilts are really fun.
I will have to play around with my settings again. I had the camera set for photographing icicles instead of quilts! Here is my neighbours house...see how wonderful the icicles are! Sometimes the eavestroughs fall down because of the weight of the ice. Having some fun in this winter wonderland!