Wednesday, September 29, 2010

This week's activities

This week I am doing lots of leaf peeping...admiring the beautiful fall colours everywhere I go. It's my favorite season BY FAR, and it always passes by too fast to soak up enough enjoyment for my liking. The winter will be here before we know it!
I am organizing some quilting classes for the fall (email me if you want to sign up for the mini quilt club) and I'm pulling together a giveaway for a fall giveaway blog hop coming up at the end of the week...see Debi's blog for the details.

And it seems like I am always cooking and serving lunches and snacks these days. It's amazing how much teenage boys can eat and still feel "hungry". But I love that my kids have always brought over lots of friends to the house and piled them in their small bedrooms at lunch time and after school to "hang out".  I never complain about the mess or the noise or the food demands because I love having them here... I'd rather know where they are, who they are with, and what they're up to! Here are the shoes on the mud room floor from the lunch visitors today. I should have put one of my shoes beside so you could see just how big these shoes actually are!
And I'm madly trying to finish up a quilt for my DH's cousin's wedding this weekend. Why did I give myself so much time to finish, you ask sarcastically?!? LOL I couldn't settle on the decision. A quilt was the perfect gift for these 39 year olds (never been married before) who have everything they need for setting up their new home together and I had planned to give them this quilt for a gift. But it just wasn't feeling right. After seeing the bride's home, I thought they would prefer a quilt with darker colours,  and remembered this UFO. Finally I felt more settled on the quilt choice and was motivated to finish it, which will hopefully happen before Saturday! I put on the borders (yes...I procrastinated that step!) pieced a backing from 12 fat quarters in my stash, and finished the pin basting last night...now to quilt.
PS...if my UFO group members are reading, this quilt is the 5th in my UFO pile that I promised to finish this year - click here to see the pile.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Design Wall Monday #36

On the design wall this morning are my blocks from the Cathedral Stars class I took with Bonnie Hunter last week. You can see Bonnie's quilt in the first photo on this blogpost.
I forgot when I started to put the blocks on the design wall that they will be set on-pointe in this quilt, so just tilt your head to the left a little bit and you'll be able to see how they will look in the quilt. And I just realized that I will need a lot of fabric to make the setting triangles around the outside, and since this quilt is totally from stash, I have no idea what fabric those triangles are going to be made from! Probably should have thought about that from the start! Oh well...too late now :)
There's a lot of 4 patch blocks in this quilt, which are boring to sew, so I'm going to set this one aside as a leaders/enders project until I have sewn all the required 4 patches.
To see the design walls of other quilters - click here. I missed Design Wall Monday last week due to taking classes with Bonnie, but I see that there were 70 design wall postings last week...wow!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

You can't do it all!

I have too much to do. It's probably a sin to complain about having too much fun...and believe me, I am also counting my blessings, but do you ever feel that quilting could take over your whole life?!?
For example...here is the pile of my UFO group projects. These are the quilting projects that I have committed to finish (one each month) for my UFO group. Only 2 of them are actually listed in my UFO wish list on the right of my blog! I have to get to work and finish one of these babies by next week...oh my!  If only I could create extra hours in my days, instead of creating more UFO's.
Too many quilts - not enough time!
And of course, there is so much temptation fun on the internet...a never ending cornucopia of quilty delights!
A blog post on Stash Manicure (click here to read it) reminded me how much fun a Sudoku quilt is.


I dug around in my closet and found this Sudoku mini quilt I made 3 years ago and have always hang up in the fall. It's only 12" square...not a lap quilt like the ones shown on Stash Manicure, and each 9 patch block is 3" finished.

I used a Moda Sonnet charm pack and even used a few more charms as the backing of the quilt. You can see how I make my hanging sleeves and labels in this photo.





Then I decided to challenge myself with the quilting and machine quilted each little 1" square in a different design using a different colour of thread - click here to see the thread selection blog post.



The 1/2" sashing is quilted in teeny tiny little leaves, which are one of my favorite quilting designs, but were a challenge to make this small.

Do you see why projects sometimes take me so long to finish?!? I putz around enjoying every little detail of the quilting process!

And do you also see why I can't get off the computer?!?! Just reading that Stash Manicure blog entry caused me to re-visit my own Sudoku quilt, write this blog post and waste use up another hour of precious quilting time!
Oh, and speaking of wasting quilting time, do you know that there are TWO blog hops coming up this week?!?  The first is a Fall-o-ween Blog Hop which guides you to visit 10 quilt designer blogs, where each day there will be a new theme and a free project. You can read all about it on Sandy Gervais' blog - click here.
And also Pat Sloan is hosting a 14 stop blog hop to promote her new line of quilting rulers - click here to read about that one.
Too many blogs to visit - not enough time! But spending time doing cyberquilting does not get the quilts finished, so NOW...I will put away my new exciting projects from the Bonnie adventure last week, and get off this computer and get to work on finishing an old UFO!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Stay At Home Robin - Step #3

I needed a little break from strip piecing bazillions of blocks, and got out my Stay At Home Robin project.  To read about my fabric and theme choices, and to see my first two steps - click here.
I decided to try another circle construction method recommended to me by Michelle. To see the tutorial website she sent me - click here.
I prepared a few pieces of fusible interfacing and decided to try some half circle shapes...from where do these weird ideas come?
Anyway, here is my SAHR with step #3 added.  I am enjoying the process of following any ideas that pop into my mind and not worrying about the end result.  After I finish constructing the step and add it on to the previous parts, I step back, look at the whole, and say "what the....?????" LOL

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Back home

I am home from my exciting trip to Michigan...
exhausted from too much quilting fun, too much chatting late at night with my sister (who although she is not at all interested in quilting, was sweet enough to let me talk late into the night about my classes with Bonnie Hunter), and too much driving! I am anxious to get back to work on my two brand new projects from the classes I took, but I do need to spend some time with my family first...can't just pull out the sewing machine right away, can I??!? LOL!
This is the pile of fabrics I had cut for the second day of classes, using the EZ Angle ruler, which thanks to Bonnie, is the only way I am doing HST's from now on!
And here is a photo of Bonnie with me on the second day of classes. I had already been sewing for a few hours and was putting together some blocks for my "Blue Ridge Beauty" quilt which I will likely call something like "Plaid Beauty".  I am not sure of the layout I will use for this quilt, but on the table you can see one of the possibilities.
Don't I look happy?!?  Besides meeting Bonnie in person, and being inspired by her wonderful lecture, and seeing some of her fabulous quilts, the other great thing is that I cleared out ALL of the old plaids (yes ALL!) from my stash to put into this quilt and am delighted with how much storage room I will have (that I can re-fill with my new purchases!) now that all that old fabric is being sewn into a quilt.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Classes with Bonnie Hunter

Had a great day of sewing with Bonnie Hunter yesterday! (My son called her a "quilting rock star" in trying to understand why I was so excited to be taking classes with her!)

In Monday's class we worked on building "Cathedral Stars" quilts and here are some of the students with their blocks.

At night I enlisted the help of my nephew to clean out my machine and organize more blocks for me to sew, which is way more important than finishing his homework! I am having too much fun...staying with my sister and her family, AND having quilting fun with Bonnie  :) Tonight is Bonnie's trunk show...I'll get to see her quilts in person instead of on a computer screen!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Weekend bits

These are the blocks that are on my design wall today. My guild is doing a mystery Block of the Month project this year and these are the first 2 blocks. I am doing 2 sets of blocks...one in brown scraps and one in brights. I have blocks 3 and 4 cut out but not sewn yet.
Mostly this weekend I am getting organized for my trip to Michigan to see Bonnie Hunter! Since Bonnie had to cancel her Canadian visit in 2012, I decided that if I was going to be able to see her I had to go to the US, and the Town Hall Quilt Guild in Clarkston has allowed me to join in the fun with them! I am so excited! I will also make a quick visit to see my neices and nephew who live in Michigan.
So this week I have been stash diving and trying to put together somewhat co-ordinated piles of stash that I want to use up. I started out thinking, all old fabrics are going in the "use up" pile, but since then I've put a lot of them back on the shelf because they are too nice to use...like my favorite batiks (even I know that this is CRAZY!!).
Now I'm thinking about using up my old plaids for the Blue Ridge Beauty and for Cathedral Stars I am still working on a plan...I have one more day to decide! Okay Kathryn this is not rocket science...just pick some fabrics already !!  Here are the background scraps and the gold pieces for the star points, but I am still working on the other decisions. Oh yah...I should probably also pack some (preferably clean) clothes!
What are you doing this weekend???  If you don't have anything else to do today, how about a virtual fiber field trip?!? Check out the fabulous list that Vicki regularly compiles and visit a wide range of interesting artists & projects - click here...enjoy!
And if you are in southern Ontario, Canada and want to enjoy the beautiful fall weather and take a road trip, check out the Erin Studio tour, which is guaranteed to get your creative juices flowing - click here.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Another Quilt Finished!

With the deadline of the guild meeting looming, I pushed myself to finish my buzzsaw quilt.
This was a project started at a "Ladies of the Evening" class in March - to read about it click here. I had it pieced together by the end of May and then it sat waiting for the entire summer!

I pin basted the quilt last week and had a great time selecting threads.  The white blocks were quilted with white Aurofil (wouldn't I love to have this case?!?!) thread, and each "blade" was quilted in a swirly feather design with a different coloured thread to match the fabrics. I had a challenge with my Presencia threads for the first time, but consistently had thread breaks whenever I had a Presencia in the needle.





I quilted the border with my favorite swirly feathers (using my favorite pink Aurofil thread) with pointy curls, and added the occasional hanging heart...just for fun!
This is my all time favorite quilting design! (I am teaching how to quilt a variety of feather designs on domestic sewing machines at Triangle Sewing on  October 15th if you want to learn my tricks to make it fun and easy!)

I already had the binding made, in an attempt to entice myself to finish this quilt earlier in the summer. I had used up the strips leftover from the quilt top and made a scrappy binding.



Apparently setting a deadline is a great idea for me, because I finished this quilt with minutes to spare before guild meeting!
Here is the finished quilt....
My sister had taken the class with me and she sent along her finished quilt top for guild show and share. Jake, who also had taken the class brought her quilt. AND Susan, a dedicated blog reader, decided to also make this quilt, and so we had FOUR buzzsaw quilts to show at guild meeting! Here we are...I am on the left, then Jake, and Susan, and Sandy is holding up my sister's quilt top. It was a very exciting show and share and I'm so glad I pushed myself to finish this quilt!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Design Wall Monday #35

I'm quite impressed with myself this week...my quilting room is full of activity! This is what is on my design wall this morning. I started these blocks in the spring and posted them on a design wall Monday at the beginning of May - click here to find the link to the block pattern. I didn't have enough fabric to make the quilt a useable size. On Saturday I found more fabric to add to this project, so I finished up the blocks to make a nice size lap quilt. Now I just have to sew the blocks together and then put on 2 borders....someday :)
This is what is on my ironing board....I am making prairie points from  1 1/2" squares for this project. Very fiddley but fun...I have enough ready here for all 4 sides of the mini quilt.

And this quilt is laying on my quilting table!
I want to show it at guild meeting this week with the other quilts that were made from this class, so I have a deadline to motivate me. I have it pin basted and have some of the threads picked out to quilt each buzzsaw blade in a different colour...that will be fun!
Hop over to Judy's blog and see what other quilters are working on this week!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Reflecting

Thanks to everyone for the great suggestions on how to get my #1 UFO finished. (You can read the ideas in the comments posted to this blog entry.)
This week I attended the first meeting of the season for my UFO small group meeting (from my guild) and got re-energized to get to work on a pile of my UFO's. I found a few "new" UFO's to work on that aren't on the list to the right on my blog, so I'll have to update that.
I finished piecing block #8 on my Journey of a Quilter project, which means I only have 1 more block to piece for this quilt! It feels like a light at the end of the project tunnel!

And I have been working on some of the hand stitching for block #7.
This is the stitchery I just finished, which is appropriate for today...September 11th. I will spend some time reflecting on the events of that day 9 years ago.
I will also be attending a surprise 25th anniversary party for my sister-in-law and her husband, where we will reflect on and celebrate their life together.
And if that is not a busy enough day, I'll be attending the Open House at Triangle Sewing from 10 -2. Come on by and see the fall class samples, and enjoy some great food. I'll be working on finishing up block #7...woohoo!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

A UFO finish

I just wrote a blog comment (don't you love visiting quilting blogs?!?) saying quilting is such a great hobby because there are so many different activities to suit any mood you might be in.  Since the weather has turned cooler here,  I'm really into machine quilting. I decided to finish up this quilt...I received the blocks and fabric for this quilt back in February. It was a UFO belonging to a quilting friend which was about 10 years old...the quilt was 10, not the friend! To see how I quilted the blocks - click here.
I finally decided to quilt a loopy design on the borders of this quilt. I wasn't happy with how this corner turn looked, so I took those stitches out and redid the quilting.

I am now happier with the quilting on the corners, even though some of the loops are a little wobbly. It was a fun and quick way to quilt the border.

When I needed a break from machine quilting (you know how your shoulders and arms get tired and you need a stretch?)  I sorted and cut dotty scraps for this quilt  and then pin basted a little on this quilt....making slow progress on each of these projects.
Then I'd go back to quilting the black and yellow quilt. I had enough fabric with the project to make the binding from the rest of the black fabric with a little of the yellow. And here is the finished quilt! The size is 58" x 77". It will be donated to the community outreach project of my guild which collects quilts for the Pediatric Sexual Assault unit at hospital.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Design Wall Monday #34

I have been working on the #1 project on my UFO wish list - Journey of a Quilter.  This is a quilt pattern by Leanne Beasley (click here for her blog) which I have been working on since the summer of 2007 - yep...4 summers of hauling this project from camping trip to camping trip, hoping for some quiet time for stitching.
Here are the first 6 blocks up on my design wall that are completely finished.
In this photo, it looks I have a bit too much red for my liking...I might reframe that "Give Thanks" block with greens.  It has been quite the interesting journey of constructing this quilt, since I have pieced each block separately over the years and haven't paid much attention to how each block will look beside the others.
This week I worked on the hand stitching in block #7 and began machine piecing block #8.
I really liked this quilt, and still do, and want it to be a finished quilt instead of blocks in a box, but I'm getting tired of it.  I am hoping that putting the blocks up will inspire me to work harder to finish up this quilt top. Do you have any ideas of how to motivate yourself to push a project into the "finishing stream" versus the "permanent UFO cupboard"???
To see other design walls posted on Judy's blog - click here...I am #50 today!

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Beading Crossed Canoes

Remember this mini quilt that I made in June? The crossed canoes inspiration originally came from this quilt that I saw on Laura's blog.
I loved it so much I made it in 2 sizes...my purple one has 1 3/4" canoe blocks (with the 4 sections) and then I made a teal one with 3" (finished) blocks.
But I lost one of the blocks (see this post) and put the project away. This week when I was cleaning (yuck!) I found the lost block (yahoo... the cleaning was worth it!) and decided to finish up this little quilt. And besides, I was stuck on this quilt. I just can't decide how to quilt the borders, so I procrastinated by finishing the canoe mini.
I put these blocks on pointe and then quilted it in the ditch with my walking foot.
The first photo show the proper colouring of the blocks.


Then I did some free motion quilting in the corners...this second photo shows the quilting better, but the colours are washed out.

Once I got the binding on and the quilt was finished, I thought it was a little blah, so I decided to sparkle it up with a bit of beading. Part of the fun for me is visiting with my beads, remembering where I bought those beads, laying out lots of possibilities and deciding what I like best.

In addition to the fun, I also had 2 problems.
When I am beading along and having a great time, I sometimes forget to check the threads on the quilt top as I go, and I sometimes get these little loops from thread knots that result in the beads not being securely attached. So I had to go back and rethread the beads on that block.
Also, I am very hard on needles and always bend a couple when I'm beading quilts or hand quilting.
This is my bent needle jar...see how many I have ruined?!?   Do you have any recommendations for a needle that would stand up to my heavy touch with beading quilts??



I just did a little beading on these blocks so that I would like the finished product a little more.
Another finished quilt!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Machine Quilting

I have been working away on some machine quilting as the temperatures permit. It was my goal to get this quilt finished for my UFO Friendship Quilters meeting at the beginning of September and I think I'll make it!
I pieced all the leftover bits from the blocks into a strip down the back and am so tickled with myself because after I make the binding, there will be hardly any fabric left from this quilt...everything was used up!
This photo shows the backing and the stitch in the ditch - horizontal and vertical seams to anchor it, and then a diagonal chain through the black squares.
Then I had some fun figuring out how to do a continuous line design within the star blocks. This is my favorite part of machine quilting and I find that time just passes so quickly and I am so relaxed (if the thread doesn't break and give me grief, which it's not).
I hope you can see the quilting design I ended up with on this last photo...it's hard to see the white thread on the white backing! The design is quilted free hand and I am my own stitch regulator, so it's not perfect, but it's fun!