Monday, November 29, 2010

Design Wall Monday #44

My weekend was an interesting balance of two types of quilting - large blocks, easy to construct quilt that will be used and loved to death vs. small complex blocks,  challenging to sew, artsy type of wall hanging that will never be used. I love both types of quilting and although most people seem to have a strong preference for one or the other, I love them both.
I already wrote about Saturday's challenging artsy project (click here to read it) and today I am writing about Friday's class which had a quick and relaxing project. The "Ladies of the Evening" is a biannual class at Reichards and is a wonderful night out with quilting friends. We enjoyed a potluck supper, lots of socializing, and sewing until we drop (which for me was much earlier than usual since I had to get up early to travel to the class on Saturday).

Here is the fabric kit for this mystery project...all lovely Christmas fabrics.

Cutting and sewing the 64 half rectangle blocks was was the trimming up that took the most time. And of course I saved the little dog ears for my collection.

And here are the blocks as they look on my design wall this morning...
Christmas Diamonds!
There are two borders - one green and one red, and then I'll have another Christmas quilt, which will make a perfect gift if I get it finished in time. Thanks to Deb Beirnes for another memorable evening and a lovely quilting project!
Want to see what other quilters are working on this week? Check out Judy's blog for a long list of quilters showing their design wall today - click here. And Judy will be on Pat Sloan's radio show today - you can download the podcast to listen to as you sew - click here.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Indian Orange Peel

I named this "quilt blogging week" because I had so much to write about, but I am sad to say that I didn't meet my goal :(
Because I was too busy doing too much, and I didn't even have the time or energy to write about it!
Take yesterday for example...
I was invited by Gail, whom I met through her quilt blog (The Cozy Quilter), to attend an Indian Orange Peel class taught by Heather Stewart. Who could say no?!? Certainly not me, because we all know about the problem that I have, which is called "starting new quilts"! This is the sample quilt that the teacher made and there are 2,621 pieces of fabric in those blocks! 
So I gathered up some of my batik fabrics - we need 125 Fat Quarteres that cover the light to dark range of the 12 colours...clearly I am missing quite a few and need to go shopping! 
In the morning we received instruction in colour theory and analysis of our stash collections to see what we needed to shop for in order to make it the best quilt we can, since we will be spending quite a few years hours making this thing and it needs to turn out good! In the afternoon we learned about sewing the centre 4 patch blocks, made the templates, and started sewing the arcs. Here is a photo of Heather demonstrating how the blocks will be organized.
I was so exhausted when I got home that I just had to have a nap...all that thinking and driving wore me out! By the time I woke up, Gail had already blogged about the day - click here. You can see some of my arcs started in the photo with the rotary cutter.  I'd show you myself, but I have "quilt class hangover" and must admit that I haven't even unpacked my workshop bags yet! 
Thanks to Gail for organizing a great workshop and inviting me along for the fun. Now I just have to paper piece 120 arcs for the next class in March!
Come back tomorrow and see the new quilt I started on Friday night...if I can find it!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Great news!

Last year Santa brought me the first issue of the Quiltmaker's 100 blocks magazine. I sewed many of those great blocks for my 2010 Saturday Sampler.

Now I am planning to start another sampler quilt because guess what?!?  I have in my hot little hands the second issue of the 100 blocks magazine, which I won!!  Quiltmaker's editor-in-chief June Dudley picked my name on the blog tour and sent me the magazine!
The list of new blogs on the blog tour continues - click here to go to the links and you will find more exciting blogs to explore than you possibly have time to visit in this lifetime!

My mind is racing with possible fabric combinations and ideas for my 2011 sampler. I am trying not to think about the fact that I haven't finished last year's sampler or that I am already making 2 block samplers for my guild mystery, and making the layer cake quilt along sampler, plus sewing the stay at home robin, which I am already behind on! Oh my!
And if that wasn't exciting of my favorite books The Birth House by Ami McKay was chosen for Canada Reads 2011.
Readers were invited to submit their favorite books for the "essential list of Canadian fiction". A short list of 40 books was made and then a top 10 list and now it is down to the final 5, and includes the Birth House...yippee! If you want to read a great book about women's issues, healing and midwifery in Nova Scotia (on the Bay of Fundy which is where I was born) I highly recommend it!
Lastly, I want to say Happy Thanksgiving to any American friends reading my blog today...hope you make time to relax, and do some quilting!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Time for Cake

I finished my second block for the Layer Cake Quilt Along and posted it on the Flickr site (click here if you want to see the other blocks people have made).

This block took 4 layers to make (plus leftover scraps) and I am a little worried if I will have enough squares for the entire project.
I think there are 40 squares in the Happy package, so I could make 10 blocks using 4 each, and I'm pretty sure there are more than 10 blocks.
I am saving all my little scraps (of course) and will be a little more careful when cutting and planning my future blocks.
Here are my first 2 blocks together. I think they are so cute. I appreciate that there is a deadline for posting the blocks which helps to keep me on schedule...I am more likely to get the blocks done to keep up with the group. 
Are you playing along? It's not too late to start! You know me...always trying to entice people to make more quilts!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Another Completed UFO!

Yes I am still going on about pumpkins...
Did you ever hear of "pumpkin butter"? Toni (from the Quilting Pirate blog) told me about it and now I want to try to make some.
At the pumpkin making class on the weekend, we learned about the "boer pampoen" from South Africa, which is where one of the mini quilters is originally from. She was making one of her blocks into flatter "boer pampoen" (see the photos on yesterday's blog post).
Myself, I prefer these perfectly round, chocolate pumpkins (from Lindt) which were part of my reward for finishing an old UFO - click here to read about it.  These chocolate pumpkins served their purpose and they are now gone...and the quilt is finished!

This 2006 quilt top was stalled at the border stage (just like 95% of my UFO's). Once I got the borders on and the quilting idea, and of course the chocolate encouragement, I found it easy to work on it.
For some reason if was difficult to get a good photograph of this quilt, but maybe you can see the leaf quilting design I used throughout the "garden lattice" blocks, and both of the borders. I was sure sick of quilting leaves by the end!

I know that not everyone enjoys sewing the binding and some prefer doing bindings by machine, but hand stitching a binding is one of my all time favorite things :)

I like this photo because it shows the backing fabric and the leaf quilting.

And here is the quilt laying on a bed. It really is finished...I can't believe it! It even has a label on it and it will be a Christmas gift for someone special. Now I can stroke this one off my UFO wish list (on the right side of my blog) which means I have 4 UFO finishes this year!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Design Wall Monday #43 - Pumpkins

My wonderful DH did all the cooking, cleaning, laundry, and running around of the kids (what got into him?!?!)  this past weekend. What a relaxing quilty weekend I had! As a result I have so many things to share (and another quilty weekend coming up) that I decided to make this "quilt blogging week" and write a blog entry every day. Can it be done? Some people (like Judy) blog every day....check back and see if I meet my goal!

The theme of today's post is pumpkins. I loved the pumpkin blocks I saw on Julie's blog in September and made them into a wall hanging for Quilt Bloggers Fall Into Fall Giveaway.
That wall hanging won a ribbon at the Erin Fall Fair and then it went on it's way to a new home.

But I kept on making pumpkin blocks because they were fun to sew (click here to see them) and here are my last 7 pumpkin blocks made into finished mini quilts. The little framed block looks more like a peach than a pumpkin, however I hope the border helps to identify it as a pumpkin.

We also worked on pumpkin blocks at the mini club last month and here are some of the fabulous projects that were made.

Two of the quilters in the group forgot to take their projects home, and so they are still on my design wall for me to enjoy this week! Notice all the different variations in pumpkin sizes and shapes that were created?!

Okay...I think I've got the pumpkins out of my system and can move on to something Christmasy now!

Grab yourself a cup of pumpkin chai tea and go visit Judy's blog to see lots of inspiring design walls.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Mystery Started - Roll Roll, Cotton Boll

I have been a fan of Bonnie Hunter since I started reading her blog many years ago (and if you have been reading my blog, you know I got to meet her this year - click here to read about that adventure!)
I have played along with 4 of her previous mysteries and really enjoyed both the process and the outcome. I love mystery quilts and I love sewing blocks with lots of small pieces, so this is heaven for me! These are the 4 previous Bonnie mysteries I made:
Carolina Crossroads - started Jan. 2008 and finished March 2010 (why did this one take so long to finish??!?!)
Orange Crush - April 2008 and finished March 2009 (on my son's bed)
Double Delight - January 2009 and finished October 2009 (on my daughter's bed)
Carolina Christmas - Nov. 2009 (still a UFO)
I missed out on Old Tobacco Road and Christmas Lights, but I'm not missing out on the new one "Roll Roll, Cotton Boll"!
Here are the fabrics I have found in my stash to use so far:
It is so fun to look at this collection and remember what these fabrics were originally for.  For example there is a small piece of pink that I used in the quilt I made about 12 years ago for one of my nieces, there are lots of small pieces left over from my Saturday Sampler blocks,  and the pink yardage was a souvenir that my Mom brought home for me from one of her trips! This photo does not include the random bits from the strip bin of various colours that will be included whenever possible.
The pinks are brighter in real life and I might use the 2 fabrics on the left for the "constant" fabric and/or borders. My favorite fabrics are the browns that I have collected over the last couple of's hard to find nice browns.
Today I finished sewing step #1 which was quick, easy and fun. Here they are pinned in groups of 10 and 1 group of 5 (just in case of errors, I always make a few extra).
Don't they look cute on my new pink Fiskars cutting mat? The mat looks cute, but it really dulls my rotary cutting blade, so I'm going to ask Santa for a new Omnigrid mat for Christmas.

Friday, November 19, 2010

A little finish

I just finished a quilt that my sister Jayne made for her friend. It is for a memorial service this weekend for the friend's 12 year old daughter who died last year from cancer.  Jayne used the favorite colours of her friend's daughter in this wallhanging.
The pattern is called "Beautiful Butterflies" from Ye Olde Fabric Shoppe - click here to see it.
Because the memorial service was quickly approaching, I agreed to machine quilt and bind it for her. I showed my quilting error in Wednesday's blog post and got some good ideas for hopefully not repeating that again - thanks to all the commenters who shared their quilting tips!

I unsewed and then requilted the bottom border, and sewed the binding down last night. Phew...finished just in time!
And now...on to something new. Can you guess what I'll be up to tonight?!?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I did it again!

I have been machine quilting for almost 20 years and I still regularly make this mistake...
I hate when that I have to rip out all the quilting and start over on that border.  I am finishing this quilt as a favour for my sister and she has a deadline for the gift, which is this weekend, so of course I make this mistake...ugh!
Is it because I leave too much fabric on the sides of the quilt? Should I trim the backing more even with the quilt top to avoid this? Any tips out there for me??

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Layer Cake Quilt Along

I decided once I found the perfect layer cake that I would join the Layer Cake Quilt Along. I had been able to resist starting another new quilt project until I found the Happy Cake and just knew that resistance was futile!

I was able to add a link for the Quilt Along on the right side of my blog...which is quite a technological accomplishment for me!  (Just click on the "button" and it will take you to the website)

Then I opened up the cake and started working on block #1 designed by Gene Black. He put a circle in the centre of his block, but I thought a flower might be better for my happy block.
Because I didn't have my sewing machine with me that does a zigzag or buttonhole stitch, I had to free motion the edge of the flower, which turned into a bit of a disaster  piece of lovely fiber art.

Block #2 is already posted, but I won't have time to work on it this week...too much machine quilting to do.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Design Wall Monday #42

Today I have my old friend "BeAttitudes" on my design wall. You last saw this project in August when I had 7 blocks completed (click here for that post).  At this point I consider the quilt top to be almost 3/4 of the way done, and somehow it feels very exciting and hopeful that this quilt is "almost done"! LOL
I have block 9 fused and just need to do the letters "Be Smart", and then the machine buttonhole stitching.
On the weekend I wasn't very smart!
In a moment of weakness, I started a new project.
I think I need to go to "Quilter's Anonymous".
"Hi. I am Kathy. I have no willpower over starting new quilts."
I saw this layer cake called "Happy" from Me and My Sister Designs when I was away with my sisters. I ask you, how could I possibly resist buying it?!?! Check back tomorrow to see what I'm making!
And when you have time for blog surfing, grab a cup of tea and go see what other quilters have on their design walls today - click here for Judy's Design Wall Monday postings.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Too much fun

Do you ever feel like life is just too full of fun things to do??

Last night was guild meeting and that is always very exciting. We had Donna Funnell as our speaker and she was so inspiring. Her work was amazing and the detail on her quilts just draws you in and makes you want to look at them unendingly!! You can see some of her work here or here and here.  Her quilts made me remember how much I love beading and how much I miss it. But I love so many other things too...and there are just not enough hours in my days...24 hours is just not enough! And even adding the extra hour when we turned our clocks back on Saturday night has not helped me!

I also love sewing quilt blocks and here are the 2 most recent blocks for the guild mystery quilt. (Oh yah...I love mysteries too and have to pull out some fabrics from my stash for Bonnie Hunter's new mystery starting soon...yikes)

I am making one set of blocks from leftover bright scraps with a consistent white background and one set of blocks from browns and creams. This is a photo of blocks 1 to 4 in both colourways.

And the Quiltmaker's 100 blocks magazine blog hop is making me crazy...too many things to see, too much inspiration, too many blocks and quilts that I want to make. Seriously, I do think there is such a thing as too much stimulation! If I don't get called in to work today I need to calm down, get my quilting room cleaned up and I need to FOCUS. I have this UFO to finish and the fall churn dash quilt (that I volunteered to quilt on Quilt Bee Day) to finish.
And then I need to get my fabric sorted for a class I  have signed up to take with Heather Stewart. the class is to make Karen Stone's Indian Orange Peel quilt. Did you see the amazing version of this quilt that Pat Sloan posted today...check it out here?? And look at this amazing one here.
Gail is organizing this class and several of the students have already met to share their fabric plans - click here to see the collections. I am going to the US to visit my sister this weekend and may have a chance to shop, so I have to figure out what I "need".
So here is my the top of the photo are my friend Barb's fabric selections and at the bottom of the photo are my fabrics. Do you see the problems??
Problem #1...I don't have enough batik fabric (125 Fat Quarters are suggested...holy cow!) and
Problem #2...I don't have not enough variety. I have some lights and some muddy mediums, but I need to do some serious shopping!

Monday, November 08, 2010

Design Wall Monday #41

I attended a guild Bee Day on Saturday and one of our guild members demonstrated how to make Anita Grossman Solomon's Arrowhead blocks from the Quiltmaker magazine. Everyone at the bee had the opportunity to try out the technique and these are the blocks we ended up with (made from a bag of fabrics donated to the guild).

I brought all the blocks home to square up and today they are on my design wall waiting to be sewn together for Tuesday's guild meeting.
These blocks were really fun to sew - you should try them if you haven't already!
The squaring up went really well, even though the blocks were made by many different sewers...all of them came out to 9".
I thinking of using up the leftover scraps for some kind of scrappy border. And there were also 5 strips of the bright blue in the donated fabrics bag, which might become either a border or some sashing. Here are the Worker Bees and some of the other comfort quilt projects we worked on...
Drop by Judy's blog to see lots of other design walls for inspiration - click here.
The ultimate in inspiration will be the new issue of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks magazine which is being published next week. Last year I made 30 quilt blocks using many of the patterns from the 1st issue of the magazine - click here to see them (yes...they are still a UFO!). To celebrate the release of this magazine, there is a quilt blog hop where you can visit the block designers starting today - click here to read about it. I can hardly wait to get my copy and be inspired to start another project!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

UFO progress

Were you wondering if I was motivated to finish my UFO from this post? I was highly motivated, but didn't have much extra time for quilting this week. However, every spare minute I did have was spent machine quilting my UFO. I finished the stitch-in-the-ditch of all the horizontal and vertical seams.

Then I decided that I should quilt leaf shapes on the garden trellis and that took some time, but that is done too. This is one block...isn't this fairy fabric adorable??

This quilting is hard to photograph since I used a light yellow thread and the fabrics are fairly light/medium.
Hope you can see some of the quilting in this block.

This is the fabric on the back of the quilt...more yellow.

Now I am thinking about whether I can leave those white diamonds alone or if I have to quilt something there?
And then I need to think of what to quilt in the 2 borders...probably some kind of leaf variation.
But first, I'll finish stitching in the ditch between the borders...

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Embarrassment of Riches!

It sure has been a month for treats arriving in my mailbox and I am excited to show you what I have received.

First of all I got my Celebration 9 patch blocks from a swap that Julie hosted. I am not sure how many blocks I have all together now, but aren't they great?!?  I have some of the 6" size and some 3" blocks in a wide range of rich colours.  I have enjoyed seeing what some of the other swap recipients are planning to make with their blocks... you can read about the plans of AmyCarolyn, and Annie. I have no idea what I'm doing with my blocks yet, beyond admiring them...I am open to suggestions!

I swapped a few extra 9 patch blocks with Darlene and she also sent me this adorable scissor fob that she made. I am thinking of attaching it to my rotary cutter, which I tend to lose on a regular basis. (If any of my guild members are coming to the Quilt Bee on Saturday, you can see it up close & in person!)

Do you remember the Fall into Fall quilt blogger giveaway?
I was the lucky winner of this baby quilt kit from Linda at Stray Stitches! I don't have any babies on the horizon to make this for, but you just never know! Don't you love the fancy card she sent with the really cool 3D handbags!?!

And then I received this surprise package in the mail from Paula in Wisconsin, who needed some fabric that I had, so I sent it to her.
What a wonderful surprise!

But wait...there's more...

My friend Barb went to a quilt show and picked up these fun Halloween fat quarters for me! Watch for them to become borders for these blocks.

And more...
Out of the blue, a quilter named Sheila that I met when I was doing a trunk show in Simcoe several years ago sent me these wonderful scraps from some of her hand dyed fabrics, which she just couldn't bring herself to throw out! I already have an idea what to do with them, but just need T I M E!!
I am beyond thankful for all of these wonderful serendipitous treats and send a big thank you to:  Julie, all the 9 patch block swappers, Darlene, Linda, Paula, Barb and Sheila!!
Because my work is with survivors of trauma and violence, I sometimes find myself thinking that the world is mostly made up of angry and violent people, and forget that there lots of fabulous, wonderful and generous people. So I thank each one of you for these colourful reminders of the goodness of quilters!

Monday, November 01, 2010

Design Wall Monday #40

I had 2 goals for last week...neither of which had anything to do with a design wall project:
1) sort scraps - click here
2) quilt/finish a UFO - click here
Apparently it is impossible for me to sort scraps and actually finish that job because those darn things keep inspiring me to make something with them. I thought to myself..."look at these cute pink scraps...they would make a lovely block. I'll just quickly sew it together".
So I started sewing the pink scraps and squared it to a 6 1/2" block. Cute!

And then the blue scraps started calling to me and before much else got sorted, I was playing with the blue scraps.
And how many of the scraps got sorted into the new bins?
Not even enough to take a picture of them!

But look what else happened??
A few more scrappy blocks got sewn...and then a project started that I could post for Design Wall Monday!

So far I have made 1 pink, 2 red, 2 orange, 3 yellow, 4 green and 4 blue of 16. That is not nearly enough for a kid's quilt yet, but I have lots more (unsorted) scraps!

Notice a couple of pumpkin blocks on the bottom right of the design wall? They haven't been sewn together yet from this project.

So then I came up for air and realized that I was not accomplishing much for my 2 goals listed above. And goal #2 has a deadline because the rewards (UFO meeting and shop hop) are this week...yikes!
So I quickly pieced the backing and basted that UFO, then got to work with quilting a stitch-in-the-ditch grid to stabilize the quilt. I haven't yet figured out what else I will do with the quilting, but as least I have made a tiny bit of progress in the direction of accomplishing my goals. My friend Pat took this picture of me while quilting at her house so I can prove that I am "on task"!