Wednesday, June 29, 2011

UFO report

Now don't laugh, but I am being amazingly self disciplined this week. I am!  I have already washed most of the fabrics I purchased last week (well, except some beautiful FQ packages that I will admire for a while before I think about using them!) AND I am not starting anything new until I finish this month's UFO. Unbelievable, but true!
When in the US I bought a few boxes of the Color Catcher Sheets that I love. There wasn't a lot of dye transfer on the sheets I threw in with my mystery fabrics (which are mostly from the Moda Sweetwater Pure line) so now I won't feel worried about washing the finished quilt.
This is the latest update of quilt #8 on my UFO wish list that is supposed to be finished for the UFO challenge by the end of June. The first 3 rows are done, 3 of the 4 blocks for row 4 are finished, and row 5 is a mess. Hey, I still have 1 more whole day to finish it!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Design Wall Monday #23

I'm back to my regular routine after an exciting quilting adventure last week. It's Monday, so that means a design wall posting on my blog. Prior to my Vermont trip I was working on my Capricorn Quilts BOM (from 2008!) blocks, and I am happy to announce that the blocks are finally sewn into a quilt top!!!  I auditioned possibilities on this blog post last month, and finally decided on this option. 
It's a difficult quilt to photograph with all the white, and looks much prettier in person than on the computer screen. I like this layout because it finishes the red chains out to the edge of the quilt, and I also like that  this design gives me some white triangles in which to feature some quilting designs. And speaking of quilting, this is another quilt that is enticing me to do some hand quilting...I'm hoping that idea passes!
Hop over to Patchwork Times and see what other quilters are working on this week.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Late Scrappy Saturday

Since I was traveling yesterday, I forgot to post my Rainbow Scrap Challenge update. The colour for June is yellow and I am sad that it is already the end of June, and I haven't accomplished as much as I had hoped. As soon as I am finished this blog post, I'm going to hop over to see what the other quilters are making with their yellow scraps - click here if you want to see too.
I organized all my yellow scraps, cut them into strips and sewed the strips together. Then I started cutting them into the triangle wedges, but got interrupted by my trip to Vermont.
In the comments on my last scrap challenge post, Debbie came the closest to guessing what I am making...she guessed a bee hive!
This week I must get back to my tiny yellow triangles and see if I can make them into a yellow honeycomb quilt.

Home from Vermont Quilt Festival

We are home safe and sound, having travelled a total of 1,512 miles through New Hampshire and Vermont. We visited 6 quilt stores in addition to the 80+ vendors at the quilt show, and we still found a few things to buy at our last stop - the Fibre Junction in Rouses Point, New York.
This was a lovely store with the friendliest quilt store staff member that we met on our whole trip. It's interesting to reflect on the variety of experiences you have when visiting so many stores/merchant booths. You get a sense of their personalities through their fabric choices and their interaction with customers, and each one had a completely different "feel" to it, even when some of the fabrics were the same.
On the way home we were joking about who would be the first quilter to have their fabrics in the washing machine, and who would be the first one to actually cut into them. I left all my purchases in the trunk, with a plan to bring them in the house a little at a time...I'm sure you know what I mean! But before the day is over, I plan to do some cutting and sewing. I have been away from my machine for a week and have been in withdrawals!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Vermont Quilt Festival

We have enjoyed a whirlwind of a week! We hit every quilt store we could find, and spent every cent we brought along...  and then some!!! We did lots of sightseeing and went to all the popular tourist attractions, including the Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream factory.
I LOVED the Shelburne Museum  and wish they had more of their wonderful collection of quilts on display. My favorite quilt in the permanent collection was made by Clarissa White Alford, who lived 1806 to 1890. She raised 9 children of her own and 6 step-children. In her later years she made this fabulous scrap quilt from QTS's and this quilt has 6,048 pieces! It inspired me to continue to keep every little scrap of fabric, because one day I'm going to make a Clarissa inspired quilt!
And of course we had a great time today at the quilt festival. One of my favorite things about this show was the number of French speaking visitors. I live in Canada which is considered to be a bilingual country, having english and french as the 2 official languages. There is a lot of pressure to have bilingual services, and laws to provide bilingual schools, signage, etc and I do speak some French myself. But in my day to day life, I have never been in a public place and overheard people speaking French. Today in Vermont I frequently overheard women chatting in French about the quilts. I tried to eavesdrop and figure out what they were saying but the technical terms were hard for me to translate. It was totally serendipitous for me to experience this at the quilt show!
I saw many inspiring quilts and I was delighted to discover that we were allowed to take photos at the quilt show, as many shows I have been to in the last couple of years have prohibited any photography. This show states in their program book that photos may be posted on websites, and full credit must be given to the quilt makers. 
This policy is generous and refreshing, and I hope that the visitors abide by it, and that future quilt shows will follow this example.  The one quilt I want to show you is this scrap quilt made in 1909 by Philea A. Spear when she was 84 years old. It has 12,976 pieces of fabric and it was amazing!!
It is sometimes hard to sleep with so much inspiration and quilts being made in our dreams!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Another quilt store in New Hampshire

We travelled around New Hampshire today searching for a store that one of the quilters in our group saw in the Quilt Sampler magazine. It is a beautiful quilt store called Quilted Threads and I was able to find a set of fabrics for the mystery quilt that I want to make in the Quiltmaker magazine. I consider myself to be an experienced mystery quilter, but I found it very challenging to pick out 9 fabrics that co-ordinate, yet have enough contrast to be different enough from each other when you don't know which fabrics will be beside each other in your quilt. (To see 3 possible colourways - click here.) I couldn't decide on fabric #7 so I bought 2 possibilities.  I think my choices will make an interesting (but maybe not visually appealing!) quilt.

And speaking of Quiltmaker magazines, my travelmates picked # 17 to win the 100 block magazines that I am giving away from this post...and the winner is Anita. I will send the magazines out to you Anita as soon as the Canadian Postal Strike is over!

Monday, June 20, 2011

New Hampshire

You may have noticed that for the first time this year, I do not have a Monday Design Wall posting today. The reason is that I am not in the same country as my design wall!

I am on my way to Quilt Festival in Vermont... via New Hampshire. It's not exactly "on the way" but we had to go to Keepsake Quilting since we were so close!
This photo shows one of the staff members cutting my first purchase - "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" fabrics. 

We did some major damage to the credit cards and then headed off to visit Castle in the Clouds and saw some beautiful scenery.
I realized today that I forgot to draw the name for the winner of the magazines, so I'll do that tomorrow while we're driving.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Yellow Scraps

It's the saturday check in for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. Yellow is the colour for June and I have only had the time to pull out my scraps, and get them cut into strips that I will eventually sew into something yellowish, which was inspired by finding these 3 fabrics.
Can you guess what I am going to make based on these 3 clues??
I don't have any time to actually sew up some blocks...gotta get packing.
Did I mention I am going to Vermont?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Binding and Canning

I haven't been able to focus on a project this week, and keep flitting from pile to pile, accomplishing very little. 
I have Vermont on the brain... 2 more sleeps (well, actually 1 1/2 sleeps since we are leaving so darn early!) I did make up some bindings to motivate me to work on some finishes....purple binding for Spiderweb, pink/green binding for my old mystery, and blue binding for stacks. At the bottom of my binding basket are the leftover bits from the ends of bindings, which might become a scrappy binding some day.
I also made some blueberry rhubarb jam this week and used a new recipe with much less sugar. I didn't want to use another chemical substitution preservation agent, but I am a little worried that the jam won't last as long with less sugar to preserve the fruit properly, but am willing to give it a try. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mystery Quilt Reveal

It was the big reveal for the mystery quilts at guild meeting this week. Sindy Rodenmayer of Fat Cat Designs gave permission to our guild to use one of her patterns called Chocolate Stars.
I posted my bright version of the pattern back in May - click here to see it. I was able to finish my chocolate version just in time for guild meeting. I decided not to do the friendship star border on this quilt since it is for the guild comfort quilt collection and is big enough at this size. I like the effect of the sashing with the 4 patches, and am really looking forward to quilting this one.
Want to see the other amazing quilts that guild members brought to show at the meeting??
I just love how each quilt looks so different, even though each quilter started off with the same pattern! 

It was very exciting to see what the quilters created.
Which one is your favorite?!? 
If you haven't entered my birthday/100 followers draw yet, click here and leave a comment. The draw will be on Saturday before I leave for Vermont :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Birthday & 100 Followers Giveaway

Because it's my birthday and because I apparently have over 100 followers, I am having a little celebration with a draw for the 100 block Quiltmaker magazine! I have never really understood what the follower thing is about,  but I did some research on it and think it has to do with people who read my blog regularly? It's so funny to me that I can write a blog for so many years, and yet am so computer illiterate in many ways!!
Anyway, thanks for checking out my quilt adventures here and for all your comments, advice, laughs, and encouragement over the years!  If you would like to be in the draw for vol. 2 and vol. 3 of this great magazine, leave a comment on this blogpost. Unfortunately we have rotating postal strikes here, so your prize may take a while to arrive, but you'll have lots of time to anticipate it's arrival!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Design Wall Monday #22

I have been doing more gardening than quilting these days, but don't have much to show for all the work...yet! So what's on my design wall?
It is the beginning of a donation quilt to be ready for next year's quilt auction. My small sewing group (the Sew 'n Sews) have picked Bonnie Hunter's pattern called "Bricks and Stepping Stones" for our 4th donation quilt.
We are each searching our stashes for more red and blue fabrics for the bricks and I am sewing the black and white 4 patches using fabric from my stash. I love to collect black and whites and am happy to use up some of them in this quilt.
Hop over to Patchwork Times for lots of design wall inspiration.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

BeAttitudes Update

This July will be the third birthday of my BeAttitudes project. I am using a technique that I discovered I dislike (machine applique) and I have to force myself to work on it. But I am motivated to get it done now because I have a friend who would like to use the pattern book, so that is helping me to get going on these blocks. The photo on the left shows all that I have left to do...2 more baggies for the last 2 blocks! 
The 10th block is almost finished...he just needs some embellishments.

I just loved how this BOM (from Reichard's) was organized...each block in it's own bag with the fabric all neatly placed in order, with the applique pieces together and the background block pieces together. The only thing I changed about the fabric was to eliminate all the floral fabrics, and I still had plenty to make the blocks. I have heard about people sewing kits that barely have enough fabric, but this one was very generous and a pleasure to create blocks with.
Here is the beginning of block #11.
The background is pieced and has the applique stuck down, and now it needs the letters, the buttonhole stitching and the embellishing. Only 1 more block to go after this one!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Coins and Stacks

Here you go Amy...this is the size of the Storm at Sea blocks from the quilt I posted yesterday, as compared to the infamous Canadian coins - the $1 "loonie" (the gold coin with the loon) and the $2 "toonie" (the silver/gold coin with the bear). Hey... those blocks look cool with circles in the centers!
This is what I am working on today...fabrics are from my stash and my friend Marion's stash. The pattern is from the Moda Bake Shop website and is perfect for using with jelly rolls - click here to go to Random Reflections pattern.
Very fun and easy to sew! I have 3 stacks sewn, and 3 more to go.  This photo shows 2 stacks sewn together. I am delighted with all the fabric that is getting cleared out of here.
Do you have a jelly roll looking pretty on your shelf? Make it into a quilt so you can really enjoy it!

Monday, June 06, 2011

Design Wall Monday #21

I am so excited to have finished piecing my Flynn Storm At Sea kit!
I am very happy with how it turned out and love the watery look of the batik fabrics. It measures about 15" x 18" without the border (which I haven't picked out yet). I will enjoy admiring it on my design wall while I figure out how to quilt it.
Hop on over to Judy's blog to get lots of design wall inspiration - Patchwork Times.
This is the third Flynn kit that I have pieced and I have enjoyed each one - click here and here to see the other ones. I have a 4th much more complex kit that I need to consult with the reps about how to sew the blocks. I see on their blog that they will be at the Vermont Quilt Festival in 3 weeks...I intend to lose a bundle of my hard earned cash getting more kits at their booth! Anyone else in blog land going to Vermont?!?

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Relaxing Sunday

The colour of the month for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge is yellow - click here to see what other scrap quilters are making this week.  Yellow is one of my favorite colours and is the colour of the paint on the walls in my quilting room. I love how yellow brings the light to a quilt/room/life!
It has been a challenge to find scraps that are yellow and not gold but I did find a few, and sewed up four 6" blocks for my scrappy blocks collection. 
The gorgeous gerberas were a gift I received yesterday for teaching a class on block construction for my guild. 
We had a great day sewing blocks and slicing them up and making them into something different.  Here are the sewers holding some of the blocks that were worked on at the workshop. I also made up a bunch of kits from donated fabrics so that they could learn some new blocks, and help to make charity quilts at the same time...a win-win situation for everyone! 
Lots of ideas were stimulated and I hope many new projects will be started over the summer from the creative ideas these quilters were dreaming up (I am definitely a bad influence!) 
We also enjoyed great conversation and of course some tasty treats. I didn't spot any cocktail consumption at the workshop, but then I was working them pretty hard. My thanks to each one for all the enthusiasm and willingness to try some new things!

Friday, June 03, 2011

Blades and Strips

I have been playing with fabric this week. I cut 8 kits for comfort quilts for the students to work on at the class I am teaching tomorrow. I cut so much fabric that I wore out my rotary blade.
Of course I couldn't find the pack of blades I bought in the winter. Needing to get the cutting done for the class, I stopped in at Michael's after work to buy a rotary blade...guess how much it cost??
I took a picture of the receipt because I know you won't believe me... $19.20 for 1 blade!
When I got home, I found the package I had purchased at the Waterwheel House Quilt Shop in you see the price for those...$31.50 for 5 blades!
That is quite a mark up at Michael's! Needless to say, I'll be taking that purchase back to the store.
When I was organizing fabric for the kits, I found a bag of 2" Moda strips in the cupboard and got side tracked/obsessed! I decided it would be the perfect way to practice teaching flying geese blocks.
This is how far I got with the strips last night. I wanted to try to organize the strips into a colour rainbow... red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. But it ended up looking a bit landscape'ish.  (I think I'll take out that yellow goose on the left because it really stands out) I have no idea what I'll do with this, but it was a fun exercise.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

May UFO Report

I was able to finish my UFO top, but didn't get the quilting done. Still, it is quite an accomplishment for this very busy month. (You can read more about the quilt in my last post - click here.)
My first task was to stop struggling to match up the seams between the blocks and accept it as it was - that was a big step toward finishing this top. Amazingly I had stored the extra purple fabric with the blocks, and was able to add a narrow purple border.
Then I sewed the string borders and these 4 corner blocks, added them to the quilt.

Ta da... the spiderweb quilt is a finished top measuring 67" square.

Now I am wondering if the string borders are too wide at 6 1/2" and do they take away from the spiderweb blocks?
I am wondering if I should trim it to 4"?
What do you think?

Hop on over to Judy's blog and see the other UFO projects that were tackled during the month of May - click here.