Monday, June 28, 2010

Design Wall Monday #26

This is what is on my design wall this morning. These are my blocks for Clue #4 of Judy's June Mystery quilt. I think they would make a lovely quilt on their own if they were a little scrappier, with more colours :)  Clue #5 should be posted this week and I hope we get to find out what will become of all the other pieces - flying geese, pinwheels, etc.
Click over to Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times and see what other quilters are working on this week.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunday Sentiments

Is your family obsessed with FIFA? Even my teenage son has been getting up "early" *gasp* to watch the soccer games! I thought I might get a little stitching done on my "Journey" quilt while watching the tournament with my family,  but these games are too captivating and no stitching is getting done!

However, I have completed the boring job of stitching together scraps of batting to make a piece large enough for a quilt. The last time I used up batting scraps (click here)  I worried the whole time I was machine quilting about not stitching them together. It worked out okay I think for that baby quilt, but I'm not taking any chances with a larger bed sized quilt.
This has been a very lucky week for me...I received THREE quilty gifts this week! The first one came in the mail from fellow quilt blogger Julie. She sent me her baptist fan stencil to try with my next hand quilting project (when I pick which one it will be).
And she sent along the most gorgeous fabric that I have seen other bloggers writing about called "Rouenneries". It is so beautiful, and although it should go into the "too lovely to cut into" fabric pile, I think it will breathe new life into my Chocolate Covered Strawberry Sampler! Thanks Julie!
And Jackie dropped this new cutting mat into my studio mailbox. It has a rotating base, which is perfect for trimming HST's...have you tried one yet?
I am loving it and finding the trimming to be much faster...thanks Jackie!
And my third quilty surprise was a bag of scraps from Judy (hey...all these generous friends have names that start with 'J'...isn't that weird?!?).
I am totally inspired to cut up these scraps for another "leader/ender" project, although I am only half way through my current one!
Thanks Judy!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Saturday Sampler #25

It's another rainy Saturday. I won't have to water the garden, and may even be able to get a little quilting time!
When I put all my Saturday Sampler blocks up on the design wall a few weeks ago (click here to see them) I decided that I needed more dark brown backgrounds in the blocks. So for the last few weeks I have been making my blocks with this in mind.
This week's block is from a blog that I just discovered called Pieceful Kwilter, which has a BOM quilt going - click here to link to the sampler layout. (BTW, I found Shannon's blog via Diane's blog - click here to see all her fabulous blocks.)
Block name: Exploding Star
Block Designer: Shannon at Pieceful Kwilter
As is my custom, I always fess up to my sewing mistakes, so here's an interesting variation I came up with when I was sewing the easy peasy Quarter Square Triangles! The instructions were great and it was as simple as falling off a log, so I'm going to blame the Laugh Out Loud Podcast that I subscribe to...I was listening and laughing, and apparently not paying attention to my sewing!  But it was easy to fix with my handy seam ripper removing a couple of seams.
I must admit that I'm starting to get tired of working with these colours every week, but have decided that if I call it my "Chocolate Covered Strawberries Sampler", I seem to enjoy it a little more!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Project Containers

I have been working with the new templates for blogger updates and I am not a happy camper/blogger. I keep getting error messages and wish I had never started this makeover...ugh!

Several people have emailed me about the containers I showed on this post. These containers are marketed for scrapbookers, but they are perfect for quilters too! I can store all the fabrics, blocks, instructions, etc for each project in one of these boxes. I also really like that the boxes stack on top of each other perfectly, and you can see what is in each of them.  This box has my leaders/enders project.  I buy my  containers at Michael's and here is the link to the product.

This box has my June mystery units in it (up to last week's step). I am ready to get sewing on step #4 so I have all my pieces ready and just need some time to actually sew!

If you are looking for some inspiration, why not hop over to Vicki's blog and take a field trip - click here.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Design Wall Monday #25

In my cleaning frenzy this spring I unearthed a few old project boxes. You have already seen some of the quilt tops I found - remember this baby quilt and this pile of UFO's? There were also several boxes with parts of blocks and fabric bits. This weekend I opened up one of these boxes and put the blocks up on the design wall.
This project was a round robin project that travelled across Canada in 2001, with each of the 6 participants making the same 2 blocks for each quilt. I included the fairy fabric, the pastel pink and the soft green fabrics. The goal was to make a calendar quilt where each block was made with a specific month in mind. This layout shows the blocks in order of the months.
Now...can you guess why I didn't finish this quilt?
At the time I couldn't figure out how to make this into a quilt I could live with. Do you have any suggestions that might help me finish this thing???

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sunday Sentiments

I have been fussing around in my garden today. Pulling a few weeds here and there, stirring the composting, tying up tomatoes, worrying about the lack of sun, putting a hex on the creatures that are flattening and munching my emerging beets, and pondering the placement decisions I made for each of the various vegetables. This is one of my more promising zucchinis.  I just like to stand outside, stare at the garden,  and enjoy the fresh air and sun.  (It's kind of like what men do when they just stand around and stare at the engine of the car!)
I have been a little at loose ends since finishing my 18 year long quilt project and don't really know what to work on now. Heaven knows it's not due to the lack of available UFO's, but I had not been thinking at all about "what's next" as a big finishing focus.
So instead of quilting today, I am reading a novel about quilters. For Mother's Day I received three books by Marie Bostwick, and I have started "A Single Thread".  I heard about this series when Marie was interviewed on Pat Sloan's radio podcast. Here's a good quote from the book:  "The order and precision of quilting appeals to that part of me that wants a refuge from life's chaos, while the unbounded possibilities of color, fabric and finishing speak to the part of me that wants to live life surprised."
But if I read all evening I will have nothing to post for Design Wall Monday!!!?!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Saturday Sampler #24

I decided to really challenge myself this week with a brand new paper pieced pattern by Carol Doak. 
Block Name : 4th Anniversary Block (Carol posted this block to her Yahoo group members to celebrate the group's 4 years together)
Block Designer: Carol Doak

My first attempt to sew the parts together resulted in this interesting variation! Ripped it out and tried again to make it like the pattern is supposed to be! It was a challenge to get all the seams to line up but I am satisfied with the outcome. 
There are 129 pieces in this 12" block.  But that is not the record for my Saturday Sampler blocks...the record holder is still this block at 176 pieces!
And speaking of records...Cambridge did not make it into the Guinness World Record for simultaneous knitting this morning. I believe there were around 650+ knitters, and the record is close to 1,000. But it was fun trying!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Grand Finish!

Start the drum roll please...I have my biggest finish ever to announce!
I started this quilt 18 years ago in a class called "Quilt in a Day". The fabrics were all pre-cut into strips for us, and in the class we sewed the strip sets, cross cut them and sewed the strips together in a "Trip Around the World" pattern.
I was delighted with the quilt top, which was going to be a quilt for my daughter when she moved out of her crib and into her "big bed".  She has just finished her first year of university, so I guess she doesn't really "need" it anymore! LOL!
The size is 72" x 93"- now what on earth was I thinking making it that huge! I had no idea what I was doing, as it was my first bed quilt, and I remember thinking that I'd like it to hang down over the sides of the bed. I wrote a blogpost about this quilt 3 years ago  - click here to read more about it, and to see me crawling around on my hands and knees thread basting. I could never do that again at this age :) Also in that blog post I wrote that I started it in 1990, so that's 20 years ago! That can't be right!?!
Anyway, I got the brilliant idea to hand quilt hard could it be???!! Don't you love the enthusiasm and confidence of beginning quilters?!?!?
So I started by quilting all the vertical and horizontal seam lines. That didn't look like enough quilting, so I stitched diagonally across the blocks to emphasize the diamond design. This is the centre on the back of the quilt.
Can you see where I pieced the backing??

Then I reached the borders. I started to quilt a single line down the middle of the white border,  didn't like it and took that out. That border is empty, but I may yet go back and quilt a little cable in there.  In the second peach border I quilted these cute bows...they were fun to quilt!
And then in the 4 corners I quilted these cute little bears. That was fiddly quilting.

And the last border was just straight lines out to the edge. I've heard this design called "bars".  So I've called my quilting design "Bows, Bears and Bars"!

And then the binding. Since I made this so long ago, and was not anticipating taking this long to finish the job, I had not purchased any binding fabric. I looked for years for the outside border fabric, or any of the fabrics in the quilt to use for the binding. In May I finally found a perfect match - read about it here. The binding fabric has the same flowers on a peach background, and my border fabric has a blue background, but doesn't it look great?!?
I still can't believe that this is finished, and I feel a little sad, which is CRAZY! Someone asked me recently what my second oldest UFO is and I've been focused on this one for so long, I don't even know!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


If you are a regular reader of my blog, you will know that this is a first...I am posting a photo of something I made that is not quilted! I do know how to knit and although I gave that  up (and all other crafts) when I was bitten by the quilting bug, I do still remember how to knit.  I dug this out of my cupboard...a pair of mittens for my daughter that I started at least 12 years ago! Yep...her hands are much too big for these little mittens, but I am so close to finishing them, that I forced myself to work on them. I just have to stitch up the seam and I'm done!
Why am I telling you this? Because this Saturday is "World Wide Knit in Public Day" and Cambridge is having a celebration. They are trying to set a new record for the "Guinness World Book of Records"  for the most people knitting in one place at the same time. You can come any time after 8 am and walk around the farmer's market, have an apple dumpling, and tour the knitting exhibits, but the record attempt will begin at 10:30 am. I will be the counter at gate #6, so if you're there, come by and say 'hi'! The weather forecast is sunny with a high of 27 degrees (which is hot for me) so I won't be wearing anything knitted, but I'm sure some people will be, and there will be an impromptu knitted fashion show with prizes! Click here for the flyer.
The 'artist in residence' at the Centre for the Arts this year is knitter Sue Sturdy, and she is also planning to "knit a bridge" in September, so I'm going to knit a piece for that. To read about it - click here or here.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Design Wall Monday #24

Even though it was a busy weekend, I was able to squeak out a few minutes here and there to do some sewing.  I'm surprised that it all added up to being able to finish step #2 of Judy's June mystery quilt.
Here is step #1 on my design wall - 18 sets of flying geese and 18 pinwheel blocks. I had great fun picking out all these fabrics - there are 36 in total since I didn't want any repeats. Some fabrics I bought on the May Shop Hops and some were from my stash. Although the colours look kinda dull in this photo, in real life they look like an interesting "quilt in progress".

I enjoyed making these blocks, and making the swirly centre with the seams on the back of the block (the way Judy recommended). Aren't these little swirls so cute?!?

And on the front of the block, the pinwheel centers came together quite well too.
Here is my June mystery storage box. I took the blocks off the design wall today so I can work on something else.
Here are the flying geese, pinwheels, plus the 4 patches and strips from step #2.

How do you store your WIP's (works in progress)???
I used to have mine stuck into every nook and cranny, in drawers, cabinets and closets, but nothing gets done on the projects using this "system"! So now I have organized many of the WIP's that I want to work on and store them in these see-through containers. Here's one of my WIP stacks.
Better get to work!
Click here to get to "Design Wall Monday" if you want to see what other quilt bloggers are working on this week.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Saturday Sampler #23 on Sunday's Sunday again. Maybe I'll have to change my sampler quilt name to "Sunday Sampler", since that is now 2 weeks in a row that I didn't get my block posted on a Saturday! You can see some of my other blocks in this post.
But here is this week's sampler block:
Block Name: "Broken Wheel" (which is the block of the week at the Friday Block Party)
Block Pattern Source: Quilter's Cache

I know this block by the name of "Rolling Stone" since I made a mini version of it a couple of years ago. I ended up paper piecing the tiny corner blocks since they measure 1" finished and the accuracy was a struggle without paper piecing.
For an interesting size comparison, here is a photo of the sampler block beside my mini quilt...sure does make the sampler block look huge! But it's only 12"!

Thursday, June 10, 2010


I am cranky!
I have been working too much and not quilting enough and that is reason #1!
And I have no recent project photos to show because my camera is AWOL...reason #2!
Reason #3 - I missed guild meeting because I went to an Eagles and Dixie Chicks concert in yes, but while at the concert, I missed the last guild meeting of the year, and rumour has it that it was great fun. just can't do 2 fun things at once!
And my regular quilting activities are finished until the fall, and that is reason #4! I miss my quilting friends and the regular structure of our activities that keep me focused on quilting.
For example, here is a photo of the some of the students I taught at the local senior's centre that I won't see until the fall.

This was a special request class, made by someone who had lost a loved one and wanted to make a quilt from his clothing. I did an internet search and found Nancy's "7 shirt quilt".  I tried out the pattern and loved making it - this is my finished quilt, which I apparently forgot to post on my blog :) I used almost every bit of fabric from the shirts in this quilt, including the backing and the scrappy binding which doesn't show up very well in this photo. The shirt pockets were used for the corner blocks in the borders.
This is such a great group of ladies and we had a wonderful time with this quilt project - many happy memories were shared about the men who wore these shirts, and some tears were shed over missing them. I am very thankful to Nancy of Life's a Stitch blog for generously allowing us to use her 7 shirts quilt design for this class. If you have some shirts from a loved one or want to purchase some at a thrift shop as I did, the instructions are still up on Nancy's blog - click here to get them.
Okay now...what am I going to do to cheer up?!? I think I'll go finish the quilt binding that I was working on in Monday's post...I love to stitch binding!

Monday, June 07, 2010

Design Wall Monday #23

Not a lot of sewing going on here this past week, as seems to be the case for many others out there in quilt blog land. Guess we're all out in our gardens...
digging and weeding, trimming and planting.

I did manage to get all the pieces cut out for Judy's June mystery step #1.

My goal was to finish sewing the first step by tomorrow, but I don't think that will happen. I was also hoping to have each block made from a different light and a different coloured fabric...I needed 18 of each. I have 14 combinations so far, so I'll either repeat some or wait until I find other fabrics to add. Still working on sewing the HST's into pinwheels.

And I have finished the 18 year odyssey of hand quilting on this quilt and here is a (not flattering!) photo of me hand stitching the binding down while at a lovely luncheon with my UFO support group last week. We enjoyed a delicious lunch with perfect weather and I made a great start on the binding. I am so excited about approaching the finish line on this project and will likely write a very braggy blog post about all the hand quilting details, with lots of photos later in the week.
What's on your design wall? To check out the design walls listed on Judy's blog - click here.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Saturday Sampler #22

Don't tell anyone, but my Saturday Sampler block is being posted on Sunday! I was just too busy yesterday to get to the computer!
I belong to Carol Doak’s yahoo group, and from time to time I work on one of the group projects. (Click here to see the block I made for the "3,000 group members" celebration block.)
Carol is now offering a paper pieced Block of the Month to group members and this is the June block.

 Block name: June Simply Radiant
Block Pattern Designer: Carol Doak
Block Pattern Source: Carol Doak Yahoo group 

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Lavender Treats

Did you guess what block I was making?
How about if I show you my "double oops"! 
Can you believe I sewed 2 of the 9 blocks wrong?
This is a really old block pattern called "Crossed Canoes", and I have also known it to be called by other names including "Indian Canoes", "The Dragon Fly", "Twinkling Star", and "Tippecanoe". I paper pieced these blocks and each one finishes at 1 3/4", so the whole quilt is 7" square. 
I was happy to find a soothing, watery looking fabric in my stash to float my canoes in!
And here is another soothing lavender treat...
Taro ice cream from our local Thai restaurant.
It always tickles my son to be eating something this colour for dessert, especially since it's made from a vegetable - click here if you don't believe me!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Mystery Starting!

Remember the strips I was working with a few weeks ago? They are in a finished quilt now...can you tell what the blocks are? I'll show you tomorrow!
Today I have to announce that Judy at Patchwork Times blog has started a new mystery quilt! Don't get mixed up with her Memorial Day quilt recently posted...this is a mystery (my favorite)! The cutting directions are posted here and the first step is posted here. You have 1 week to get step 1 finished before step 2 is posted.
Here is the fabric I have put together for this mystery...something a little different for me. I am using the lighter browns as my 'medium accent' and the darker browns as my 'dark accent'.
It's all washed and pressed but I haven't done any cutting my mind it was a June mystery so I put off the cutting until June, which is NOW! How did that happen?!?