Thursday, July 29, 2010

New project

You just had to know that since I have been so good about trying to finish up some projects recently, that I would be itching to start something new! I bought some laser cut kits from Flynn Quilt Company at Paducah last year and finished the first one last June - click here to see it.
I tried to start this project at quilt retreat in February but it required more concentration than I was able to muster up while at retreat, so I put it away. This week I dug it out again and put together a block to see if I could figure it out. The 8 pieces went together perfectly and I couldn't remember why I disliked it so much at retreat...until I put all the pieces on the design wall and remembered that the challenge was to balance all the various fabrics and colours. I could put the 20 blocks together randomly or work on the design wall to get a balanced layout of the 160 pieces, and then sew the blocks. 
What do you think is the best way to sew it?!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Garden Talk

Not much quilting going on here...it's all about the garden these days.

The Rose of Sharon bushes are blooming and they are my favorite! I want to make a Rose of Sharon quilt...I think I started to do this once...I wonder where it went?!?! I'll look for it and let you know!


The tomatoes are going crazy and trying to take over the entire garden. They are being trimmed and cut back almost every day.

Same problem with the zucchini...they could take over the earth!
If you have a good zucchini recipe, please email it to me...I am running out of ideas of what to do with these things.

And hanging in the middle of my cedar hedge is this white thing...any ideas as to what it is??? It seems to be connected to the zucchini...perhaps some kind of mutant?!?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Design Wall Monday #30

I think this must be my latest design wall post yet! I almost forgot about it!
I have been preparing a quilt for machine quilting so haven't done a lot of piecing lately, but I did make some progress on this wallhanging, which I posted about in May. I cut up the panel and framed the 5 flower blocks. I screwed up on fussy cutting one of the blocks...can you tell which one?!? It doesn't look too bad on the photo, but I was having a little fit about it at first!
It was really challenging for me to figure out which fabric was supposed to frame each block. Can you tell which of these fabrics is the "white small floral", the "blue small floral" and the "pink small floral"???
What I ended up doing was magnifying the pattern on the front of the pattern and figuring out which fabric went where by looking at the picture.
I tried to fussy cut the blocks really carefully so that I could preserve some of the motifs such as the bees and the hummingbird to put in the quilt somewhere.
Next I have to finish sewing the pinwheels and start putting the quilt top together.
I'm off to check out the other design walls posted at Judy's blog...wow, I'm #48 this week!!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Yellow Day

Today is "yellow day"!
Early in the morning I picked a bowl of yellow wax beans from my garden for tonight's supper...yum yum!
Then I decided to do some machine quilting. It has been too hot to sit under a quilt that I am working on, but I really miss machine quilting, and just thought that I would start quilting in the morning and stop when the heat is unbearable!
So I went to the closet and asked which quilt wanted to be basted... and this one was the most insistent.
I decided on yellow thread for the top and because I picked a plain white backing, I'll use white thread in the bobbin.
Here's the quilt almost finished with the pin basting...ready to quilt.
Now I have to get the machine ready to do some hard work...wind up 4 bobbins, and give the machine a good drink of oil. I couldn't find my favorite quilting gloves, but I found my purple ones (which are better than nothing!) and I'm ready to go.





I will quilt 'til I wilt!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Saturday Sampler #28

This is the 28th block for my Saturday Sampler quilt that I started at the beginning of 2010. (To see the other 27 blocks click here.)
Block Name: County Fair
Block Pattern Source: 2010 BOM by Amy
This was a fun block to sew. I reversed the lights/darks from the pattern so that more of my sampler blocks will a dark background.
I have decided to sew 30 blocks for this quilt, so I have 2 more to make. The plan at the moment is to go back through the Quiltmaker magazine that started this project and select my last 2 block patterns from there....kind of a full circle thing, going back to the beginning.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Stashbuster Quilt Top

I finished sewing the Stashbuster quilt top. It went together quickly and easily but it was fun and I think the seniors class I teach in the fall will really enjoy this project.
The blocks are 16" square, and my top is 3 blocks across and 4 blocks down, so it measures 48" x 64" which is perfect for donation quilts and I won't need to put a border on it.
Now I am thinking about how I want to quilt it...some kind of "all over" design???

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Starting a new quilt today

Don't you just love starting new quilting projects?!? There is so much anticipation and excitement and possibility...it's a wonderful "high" for a quilter!
I am excited to cut into this collection that I bought on this shopping trip to Calico Gals last December.
And I am making the user friendly "Stashbuster" quilt (click here for the tutorial) to teach at the senior's centre in the fall.  Some of the ladies requested a project that would be a little easier for beginner quilters, and Emma and Lisa at Buttonberry generously agreed to let me teach their pattern.
So today I'm whipping it up!

Here are some of the pieces cut out...it's easy peasy cutting and I cut 4 Fat Quarters at a time!




And here are all the pieces cut out and organized for strip sewing, with my leaders/enders project pieces waiting to be put through as needed.
Here's a little advertisement, even though I try to be an "ad free" blog :)
It's not for any financial gain for myself, but helping the community.  You could help us furnish a room at the soon to be built women's shelter... click here everyday and vote for this wonderful community project. A "certain beverage company" is giving away $25,000 to the 2 charities getting the most votes and this project is near and dear to my heart....the new shelter will mean that I have a safe place to send the abused women I see every day at work. There are 43 days left to vote, and over 200 very worthy charity projects competing for the money. Thanks!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Design Wall Monday #29

Finally... all the blocks are sewn together from Judy's June mystery!
Here is the quilt top on my (too small for this quilt) design wall, waiting for some motivation to work on the borders.

It looks kind of 'blah' to me, since I am used to working with brighter colours, and brown is a colour that I really don't "know".  But this quilt is going to be a wedding gift for my husband's cousin, who is having a fall wedding, and I think it will be perfect for the intended couple. I am leaning toward a single (easy) border so I can get this done in time for the wedding and won't have to procrastinate!!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Organized Chaos

I was bragging to Darlene this week about my leaders/enders system ( a la Bonnie Hunter) and thought it was time for me to fess up.  I really want to be organized when I grow up, but it is a daily struggle. I always have the best intentions and try really hard, so I get an A+ for effort!! But yesterday illustrates that I get D- for achievement!!
Here is a photo of some of the remaining pieces of my Cherrywood fabric that I cut and organized into block groupings and then put into a baggie. I keep the baggie beside my sewing machine and in between other things I am sewing I put a couple of squares through.
Yesterday I wanted to work on this floral pinwheel project (click here to see some of it...it's the floral panel on the bottom of the design wall). I found the project box and look what I found inside...a  renegade little 2" block that had been AWOL for 2 months! I was sure that I had finished piecing all those blocks and I was hoping it would turn up... and it did!

Now that the lost was found (yippee!)  I looked around for the crossed canoe project box and started working on that quilt, leaving the floral pinwheels untouched! I made lots of progress on the canoes, and in between piecing these blocks,  I was putting through my leaders and enders blocks.
And then I discovered that the rest of the pieces for this block are (you guessed it)
... AWOL!  I searched around the sewing table, the ironing board, and my clothing (sometimes squares and blocks stick to your clothes and the grocery clerk laughs at you...that has happened to you, right?!?) but the remaining pieces were gone! I don't have enough of this Cherrywood fabric to cut more pieces, so if I can't find them, I can't use this block. I am positive that I cut out the exact number of squares I needed, so they are "somewhere"....but where? Again, I waste more time searching....I check all the project boxes that are on the table and vow never to open more than 1 or 2 at a time, but no luck.  So I put all these projects away, went back to the floral one I started the day with, and got out my new leaders and enders project, which still has all the pieces I need!! Are you understanding my problem!?!
Maybe I could try be a normal person and work on ONE quilt at a time?
Not likely!!
Maybe I need an executive assistant to help me to be organized!! Just think of how many quilts I could finish with the time I would save not looking for things!!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Saturday Sampler #27

Did you miss the Saturday Sampler block last week?!?  Only 1 eagle eye blog reader asked me about it...you can't put anything over on her!!!   Besides being away camping and not having internet access, I find I am losing interest in this project of mine, so I have decided to finish it at 30 blocks. But not to worry...I have another great idea to fill in my Saturday blog entries (stay tuned to find out my new project).
Here is block #27....
Block Name: Scrappy Diamonds
Block Pattern Source: my scrap bag!
I had intended to make the Block Party "Storm At Sea" block but could not get the foundation papers to print out to the correct size no matter what I did. While I was fussing around with that, I realized I had many leftover bits and pieces from previous blocks in the project box. So I pulled out all those pieces and spread them around on the table...some flying geese from blocks from when I had miscalculated and made too many, and lots of baby half square triangles.
I played with the pieces until they started to make themselves into a block for my sampler. Here is a process shot...trying to fit the pieces together in a coherent way, and deciding to put a "square in a square" block (pattern left over from block #24) right in the centre. This was such a fun process (feels the same as meditation to me) and used up a lot of little scrap pieces.
Now I have to find 3 more blocks to finish up my project. I tried to print out this block to make ...I liked the design and the name of the block, but again I couldn't get it to print out to a 12" block. I don't know if it's my printer settings, but I haven't had any trouble with Carol Doak's blocks printing out the correct size!? I might try to draft that block on freezer paper for next week.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Polka Dots

Polka dots seem to be everywhere these days! Pat Sloan wrote a polka dot post (click here and scroll down for some fun photos) and Thelma wrote about her love of dots (click here).
I love polka dots too! Last year I made a pink and purple polka dot quilt and quilted it with some circle designs (click here to see that post). Here is the quilt with my lovable dog Molly.
And this month I am working on a mini dolka dot "leader and ender" project. I found a bunch of dotty batik strips in a scrap bag from my friend Judy (click here to see the pile) and have cut up the strips into 1 1/2" squares and 1 1/2" x 2 1/2" rectangles.
I am storing the little pieces in this cute box that I received from Julie (click here to see what used to be in that box).

And I couldn't resist sewing up a few blocks!
I saw this block on a post by Bonnie Hunter back in the spring (click here to see it) and she used 2" strips, but many of the strips I received were 1 1/2" so I went with that size and my blocks will be 3" finished. All the fabrics will have dots and will not be colour coordinated in any way...whatever dotty scraps are in the bag, and whatever dotty batiks I can find in the stash will be in the quilt. I will just keep sewing blocks until I run out of dotty scraps!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

An old project finished!

Last month I found a box hidden deep in a closet containing 12" blocks which were made in a Canadian Round Robin in 2001. I put the blocks up on the design wall and was determined to do something with them...9 years is long enough to steep! (A side note...I have no idea why I became so determined about this particular project and why it jumped the queue of my other UFO's waiting for attention???!!!)
I fixed the 2 things I didn't like about the developing quilt and machine quilted with an all over free motion swirly design, using up odds and ends of old thread. I had no thread breakage at all in spite of quilting at top speeds, so I guess the Magic Bobbin Washers were a good investment! I had a couple of little "fold overs", which I don't like, that I had to unstitch and re-quilt,  and that usually happens when I am quilting too fast.

This photo shows the quilt from the back. I used up the remaining fabric that I cut the binding for this quilt from.

And here is the finished quilt! I don't love it, but I do love that it is FINISHED and hope that some little girl will enjoy finding the little fairies hiding in these blocks.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Design Wall Monday #28

Evolution of a leaders/enders project:
Step #1 - buy a Scrap Bag or (use your own!)
Step #2 - organize the pieces, cut into useable shapes (I started with 1 1/4" squares) and store within easy reach to put a few pieces through the sewing machine at the start and end of piecing that you are doing on your main projects
Step #3 - make some starting blocks...mine were 2" simple 4 patch blocks
Step #4 - keep sewing and let the project evolve...my blocks turned into 3 1/2" double 4 patch blocks
Step #5 - don't get bored with it since you don't make much progress sewing just a few blocks here and there in between your major quilt projects...my blocks have now become these 6 1/2" triple 4 patch blocks which are on my design wall today.

Step #6 - change what you don't like and make more of what you do like. I don't like the light coloured background blocks (the beige and the light pink and maybe the light teal) so I'll reconstruct those.
Step #7 - play with your blocks, arranging them into possible layouts - stay tuned to my blog...when I have enough blocks made, I'll work on some layouts!
What's on your design wall today? Check out the design walls on Judy's blog - click here.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Family Camping

No quilting has been going on here. None. I am in withdrawal!
We just came home from the annual camping trip with my entire family - my parents, my siblings and their partners, and all the children. The kids enjoyed lots of fun in the sun, swimming, playing soccer on the beach, climbing on the rocks on the pier,  sunsets, card games with cousins, singing and telling stories around a campfire. The weather was fabulous and everyone had a great time!
However,  these kids seem to eat around the clock!  Preparing food that is nutritious and edible, cooking on a 2 burner camp stove, hauling water, and taking up to a 1/2 hour just to make a cup of coffee, is a lot of work!  All the adults take turns and we work well together, but I must admit that I am exhausted! Other years I have been able to do some hand stitching, and although I took it with me, I didn't even open the bag.
Here are the kids...
most of them are teenagers now and they like to play hard, talk nonstop, stay up late, sleep in late and eat constantly. But there was lots of love and laughter, and lifelong memories created and that makes it all worthwhile!
Tomorrow...back to quilting. I can't wait!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Too hot!

It's too hot for humans here! Well, it's too hot for Canadians, who are happy with their 6 months of freezing cold, snowy weather each year. We like spring and fall, but most of us just tolerate and maybe even detest these dog days of summer when it's too hot to even go outside.  This is the thermometer outside my kitchen window, and doesn't take into consideration the humidity, which makes it feel like well over 40 degrees.
Which means that it is WAY too hot to quilt!
So I cleaned out the rhubarb patch...washed and chopped 20 cups for the freezer....ready for pies, juice and cake in the winter.
And then I played in the scrap bag that I showed in this post.  There were a lot of dotty fabrics, so I pulled them out and started cutting and organizing them to start a new leaders/enders project idea from Bonnie - click here.  It was very relaxing, but I have a lot more to do before it looks like an actual quilt is being constructed!

Monday, July 05, 2010

Design Wall Monday #27

It's Design Wall Monday! What's on your design wall this morning?
Here are my clue #5 blocks for Judy's June Mystery.  I think that some of my fabric choices are a bit too light, especially the two blocks at the bottom of the wall, so I might take those out. I'll see how it looks when Judy shows us how to put the blocks together with the next step. It's a odd number of blocks (18), so I am excited to see how Judy is going to solve this mystery!
Now that I am caught up with the mystery clues, I'll go back to finishing this quilt.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Saturday Sampler #26

Here is my 26th block for "Chocolate Covered Strawberries" aka the Saturday Sampler quilt. (You can see the first 25 blocks here.)
Block Name: Eddystone Light
Block Pattern Source: Quilters Cache
An easy and fun to sew block, perfect for a hot Saturday afternoon in July.
And no mistakes to confess this week...woohoo!
Now I am going to finish up the machine quilting on the charity quilt that I showed in yesterday's blogpost. And hop on over to Gail's blog to see the happy quilt top she made from the charm squares that I sent her as the winner of a blog giveaway last December - click here. I am so happy that she made such a cute quilt and that it will be donated to a foster child in the care of the Children's Aid Society...great job Gail!

Friday, July 02, 2010

Quilt or FIFA?!?

I can't decide whether to quilt or watch soccer...so much fun, so little time!
I'll try to do a little bit of both! I put together the calendar round robin blocks I showed on this post. The comments from blog readers helped me to be more flexible in putting the quilt top together and I changed the 2 things about the developing quilt that I didn't like.
1) I unsewed the March block (top right) and took out the dark green fabric; then reconstructed the block with a softer green.
2) I rearranged the blocks to spread the blues more evenly around the quilt top. I was stuck in my thinking that the blocks had to be in the calendar order in which they were originally intended to be. But once I felt free to rearrange them, I liked the quilt better. I put in a sashing with fairy cornerstones and added a border to bring the size up to a comfort/donation quilt size.
The quilt has been pin basted and I used up a lot of batting scraps which I stitched together last weekend (click here).  I'm joining Susan in her long weekend cyber quilt retreat and hope to finish up this quilt. I am free motion quilting on my Brother 1500, which has been a workhorse for me for 10 years.
I am using these Magic Bobbin Washers that I first saw on Leah's blog. They are quite expensive ($10 for 12 plastic discs) but if they do prevent thread nests and thread breaking, I'll gladly pay it! So far, I am having good luck....stay tuned.
Gotta go...Guana is playing Uruguay!

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Happy Canada Day!

Canada Day celebrations are in full swing across the country! Many people are excited about the Queen being in Canada to celebrate with us this year  - you can read about it here. It would be a day long drive for me to go and celebrate with the Queen, so I'll just stay home and have my own party.
My garden is all decorated for the festivities!

I have lots of strawberries and Canada Day ice cream (that's supposed to be a maple leaf in the middle of the ice cream!).
Of course we had a fabulous parade! It was a gorgeous day for a parade...sunny, but not too hot. And this parade was not like the parades of my younger years, which consisted of a lot of old cars and tractors! This was my favorite float this year.
And it's not every day you see this kind of a spectacle! Only in Canada, you say???!!
And this is my Mother's favorite marching band...I think it's the old guys wearing the shorts that she likes, but they play great music too!
As for me, I'll be sure to celebrate the holiday with a little bit of machine quilting!