Sunday, July 31, 2011

July UFO Finished!

At the beginning of the month, my UFO was a bag of 9 patch blocks from Julie's block swap last year. I was determined that I would have a finished quilt by the end of the month....and I did it! 
Once I got the sashings, cornerstones and blocks sewn together, and the borders on, I made up the binding. It just made the finish seem more doable!
How many bobbins do you wind when preparing for machine quilting? I wound 3 but needed 4 for this quilt. (Did you see Jamie's orange quilt that used 22 bobbins...wow!) 
During pin basting, the quilt and I discussed many ideas for machine quilting. The quilt convinced me not to do any stitch in the ditch or free motion quilting this time. I did all straight line quilting through the diagonal of the 9 patches and then straight through the middle of the sashings...fun! I used my machinger gloves and they were helpful for moving the quilt through the machine.
It was hard to get a photo of the finished quilt today...it was windy with poor light outside by the time I finished the binding. But it's a finished quilt...woohoo!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Scrappy Saturday

It's the last Saturday of the month and we'll soon be getting a new colour of scraps to play with for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge :) I spent some relaxing time (in between machine quilting) piecing these red, white and blue scraps together. No fabric was purchased for this quilt top. It was created from my scraps, plus the scraps of 3 of my quilting friends (we call ourselves "The Sew 'n Sews").
The pattern is Bricks and Stepping Stones by Bonnie Hunter. The rows pieced together perfectly...I didn't even need to use pins! Now it just needs a couple of borders and then we'll send it off to the hand quilters.
And I am heading back to the sewing machine to finish the quilting on July's UFO!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

July UFO Update

3 more days until the month is over...but I am still hopeful that I can finish my July UFO (ever the optimist!)
The quilt top is together and I had just enough of the red fabric to make a narrow inner border, to fill in the missing spaces between the border blocks AND to make the binding!

I just love it! And I am so amazed at how well the whole top came together considering how many different quilters sewed the 9 patches (from Julie's block swap).
Here is a close up which shows the miniature 9 patch blocks around the corners.
I'm sure I can baste and quilt it in the next 2 days with 1 day left to get the binding on. I also want to put together the red and blue top by Saturday...that won't take long since the blocks are already in columns.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Civil War Wednesday

Here are the two latest blocks that I have sewn for my recently resurrected civil war sampler
Block #13 - Little Blue Basket was not fun to sew. It was OK until I decided to try to add a pieced handle like Vivian did, and it was downhill after that! But I think it turned out OK all things considered.


Block #14 - Fox and Geese was easy peasy!
I am almost half way there...block #30 was posted this week.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Design Wall Monday #27

This has been one of the hottest weeks I can remember and everything is brown from the heat and lack of rain. I have almost abandoned my garden. There are a few carrots and 3 green pepper plants, lots of tomato plants (but not many tomatoes on them) and 1 crazy zucchini plant that is taking over the world. **Less gardening time = more quilting time!**
So I have been working on my BeAttitudes blocks and look what's on my design wall today...all 12 blocks are finished! This is quite an accomplishment for me, since I have been working on these blocks for 3 years! There are a few embellishments to add but all the eyes are sewn on, and the buttonhole stitching is DONE! This shows the order of the blocks according to the pattern, but I am going to switch the October and November blocks to reflect the Canadian Thanksgiving in October (for the "Be Grateful" block), and Remembrance Day on November 11th (for the "Be Forgiving" block).
I am trying not to be critical of the colour choices I made in some of the blocks....like the blue in the "Be Smart" block meeting the blue in the "Be Joyful" block. I just made each block on it's own without checking what colour it would sit beside in the quilt, so "that's life in the random lane"!
It was odd to be sewing the Santa block while in the middle of a summer heat wave, but maybe it helped me to stay cooler? I did not enjoy the fiddley buttonhole stitching on the stars or candy cane, and am so happy to be done with that!
These are the 4 fabrics for the borders, but you can probably guess that I don't want to sew 4 borders! The thought of it could drive this quilt into UFO land! If you don't hear about this quilt again, please ask me and remind me that it really doesn't NEED any borders, but it does NEED to be finished!
To see other quilt design walls, visit Patchwork Times.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Scrappy Saturday

I have been going crazy with the rotary cutter this week (too hot to do much else!)
I got all my Paperweight FQ's cut, and started cutting from the red and blue scrap bins. 
I cut out all the remaining bricks needed for the donation quilt for next year (see this post for the pattern link) and have been sewing the bricks into columns. This is how it is taking shape on the design wall.
I have also made a few mistakes (not serious ones like wearing 2 different shoes!).
When power sewing, several times I sewed two bricks stuck together...rip, rip, rip.
What are you sewing with your scraps today?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Cutting Paperweights

When I was in Vermont I found a few more Kaffe Fassette paperweight fabrics that I love, and I bought fat quarters of every one that I saw (all the while wishing that I could buy yardage, but remembering that I only have 1 lifetime to make all the quilts I want to, and my stash is big enough to last the current lifetime).
So in this heat wave, I have enjoyed the quilty job of fondling cutting up the paperweights for this project that I started at retreat in February. I had made 8 blocks and have cut enough fabric to make 12 more, with a layout of 4 blocks across (60") and 5 down (75") which will make a good size quilt with a border or two.
In non-quilty news, I wore two different shoes to work one day this week! I walked all the way across the parking lot, through the ER department, and half way across the hospital to my office and didn't even notice! I'm blaming it on the heat! This photo shows my daughter's sense of humour!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Quilting vs. Wilting!

It has been unbearably hot here this week and today is supposed to be record breaking temperatures, with a high of 38 ℃ (100 ) but with the humidity it will feel like 49 ℃ (120 ℉). I don't feel like quilting or piecing...it's just too hot to sit under a quilt, or turn on the iron. I have been doing some cutting and fabric organizing, but mostly just trying to stay cool.
I did attend a little "goodbye" party for my quilty friend Shelly, who is moving away. We sure will miss her since she is one of those "gems" in life - someone who is always positive and encouraging, and although she does not like the spotlight, she has worked on guild committees for years, donating her time and talents. We had a "Fat Quarter shower" to enhance Shelly's stash before she moves away. We are already planning road trips to visit the quilt stores near her new home...and to visit her, of course!
Here is some quilty news that might help keep you cool...
C & T publishing are announcing a new Piece 'O Cake Designs book with Christmas projects and are having a book giveaway on their blog - click here and leave them a comment if you want to enter the draw.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

War Wednesday

In March I gave up on my civil war sampler quilt after making the first 9 blocks (to see the blocks click here). The blocks were just too boring for my enjoyment and I abandoned the project. But when I was in Vermont, I found this fabric bundle that said to me  "take me home, and I will rescue your civil war project".  What's a quilt addict to do? I had to buy them!
These fabrics forced encouraged me to start making the blocks posted on Barbara Brackman's Civil War Quilts blog again. 
The blog has just posted block #28, and I had sewn 9 blocks prior to my "break", so I have quite a few blocks to sew to catch up!



Here is block #10 called "Lincoln's Platform" (aka churn dash) with a fussy cut centre from my new fabrics.





This is block #11 called "London Square". 


Click here if you want to see the photos posted in the Civil War Quilts Flickr group.





Monday, July 18, 2011

Design Wall Monday #26

I am so excited to show off my design wall today because I have been working really hard on my July UFO, which started off the month as a bag of blocks. Now I have put most of the blocks together with the sashing strips and here it is...
I sewed the blocks and sashings together randomly and am delighted with how it turned out. 
There are a couple of spots that I would have organized better if I was planning the layout, and this is an example where 2 of the same sashing strips turned out to be too close together, and 2 of the same blocks are too close together. But that's life in the random lane!
I think I have enough 9 patch blocks left to make one more row if I cut more sashing and cornerstone pieces. 
Check out Patchwork Times' Design Wall posting for some creative inspiration. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Scrappy Sunday & Josh

I seem to be having some blogger issues...don't know where my Saturday post went, so I'll make another one for Sunday and it will be longer now :)
Here is my finished red, white and blue scrap project for the Rainbow Challenge. 
I really liked it until someone commented on last week's post that I got the blue and red reversed in the flag layout... say what???!!! I really had no idea that the US flag colours are the exact opposite until that moment, and then I thought I can't believe I did that!
Oh well...it's done now! I'm looking for some star buttons to embellish and do hope that no one takes offense because of my design error.
I have decided that for the rest of July I will focus on using up my red and blue scraps that are big enough to cut into bricks for my group quilt - click here to see it.
If you want to see what other scrappy quilters are working on - click here and go to Angela's blog.
I can't resist showing you what I did last night, although it's not quilting related (it's inspiration related!).
This is where I went...


and wasted 3 hours of my life sitting on the Bluewater bridge (1 1/2 hour wait time each way) to cross the US - Canada border.
And this is why I went...to see a Josh Groban concert and he was amazing! This is the second time I have seen him in concert in Detroit and it was a fabulous show each time!


Thursday, July 14, 2011

UFO progress - Celebration 9 patch

Last week my July UFO was a pile of 9 patch blocks.
I have been making slow progress and have finished sewing most of the sashing strips...

and...
the border, which is made from the 3" 
9 patch blocks. I'm not sure of how the quilt layout is going to work out, and I really hope my math skills are fairly accurate (crossing my fingers) because I don't have a lot of that red fabric that I want to use for the border and binding.
Now I am working on sewing the rows together and so far I am loving the random piecing of this project. It was my very ambitious goal to get the quilt top together by the middle of July, leaving me 2 weeks for the quilting and binding. Do you think I will make my goal??!?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Be Forgiving?

I hate rabbits! My apologies to those of you who adore the little furry creatures, but this year I have declared war against the burgeoning population of neighbourhood rabbits. They have destroyed much of my garden and are able to figure out how to get through any type of barricade I have constructed so far. 
This is the first year that I have ever had a problem like this and obviously need to do a little research on how to keep rabbits out of a garden. You can see my lovely beans and peas from last year on  this blog post from Canada Day. And this is what was left of my beans at the beginning of the month this year, but now even those tiny leaves have been eaten and only tiny sticks remain. The beets, peas, beans, and even the green onions are absolutely gone...grrrrrr! Strangely, those rascally rabbits do not like my carrots (say what?!?!) and they haven't yet touched my red peppers, squash, zucchini, or tomatoes.  My husband likes to joke that "we likely won't make it through another winter with this level of garden produce"! I am having a lot more sympathy and compassion for Elmer Fudd these days! (I guess that reference probably dates me!)
When I'm not battling the rabbits, I am slowly working on the remaining blocks for my BeAttitudes quilt. In a bizarre bit of irony, I have just finished the embellishing of the "be forgiving" block #10 (does not apply to rabbits, of course). After working on it for about 5 hours this week, I am now half way done the applique on block #11 and have just sewn the base for block #12.
I was stalled temporarily when I ran out of black thread...so far I've used 800 metres of thread machine appliqueing these blocks, but I bought more thread and am ready to get to work again ...the end is near!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Design Wall Monday #25

On my design wall there are 4 UFO's today. I'm hoping for some inspiration to finish them up.
The two projects on the right are waiting for border decisions...Storm At Sea and Hexagon Honeycomb.
On the bottom left is my "Stay At Home Round Robin" that got stalled at step #5 (out of 12 steps). I don't know why...I put it away to work on Christmas gifts, and forgot all about it. When I found it again, I put it up on the design wall to remind me to work on it. If you want to see the other finished robins, you can visit the blog here.
But the top left project is the one I am really excited about...it is the final block for my long term project called "Journey of a Quilter". The pattern is by Leanne Beasley and I have been working on this quilt for 4 years. The 9th block background has been pieced and I just finished tracing the stitching designs and it is ready to take along on my summer travels.
Grab a cup of tea and hop over to Patchwork Times for some Design Wall inspiration!

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Scrappy Saturday

People often ask me why I keep very small scraps and what do I do with them. Sometimes I keep them just because they make me happy...that is reason enough! Like these tiny snack bags full of block trimmings from my friend Susan...how could you throw this in the garbage?!? Seriously!
My favorite way to use tiny bits is to make a mini quilt by putting them under water- soluble Solvy. For this month's Rainbow Scrap Challenge the colour is red, white and blue. I immediately thought of these trimmings that my friend Marion gave me. 
The bits are arranged in a design on a background fabric, and then a sheet of Solvy is pinned on top of the scraps. I arranged the scraps roughly in the shape of an American flag, pinned the Solvy to the background fabric and batting, and did some basting free motion quilting. 
Then I quilted some dense designs because whatever is not stitched down will fall off once the Solvy is removed. I quilted swirls on the red scraps and straight lines on the blue. This is how it looked once the quilting was finished.
Then I put the whole thing in a warm water bath and just let it sit in there until the Solvy is completely dissolved. You can tell that it is completely gone when the quilt does not feel gluey. Then I gently roll up the quilt in a towel to remove some of the water, and leave it laying flat on a towel to dry. Then I have to decide what to do next - add a border or just trim and bind?
To see what other quilters are making with their scraps, drop by the Scrappy Rainbow Challenge.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

July UFO

I am on a roll with UFO's and have already started working on my July UFO! The project number drawn by Judy this month is #2 and that is my Celebration 9 Patch, a block swap hosted by Julie last year.
This is the only project on my UFO list that was a bag of blocks, so it's going to take a lot of work to turn this into a finished quilt by the end of the month. This is a photo of how the project looked yesterday - 90 large (6") 9 patch blocks and 60 small (3") 9 patch blocks, which will become some kind of border.
My falling asleep moments over the last couple of nights have been spent dreaming about how I want to sew the blocks together. I decided that I'm going to make my first large totally random quilt. I am not going to match anything, or balance the colour placement, or even lay out the blocks on the design wall. I am just going to pull blocks out of a brown paper bag and sew them together. I have done this when sewing mini quilts before but never a large quilt...should be interesting!
In any spare moments, I have been cutting sashing strips (1 1/2" x 6 1/2") and cornerstone blocks (1 1/2") so I am ready to sew...fire up the sewing machine!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

June UFO is FINISHED!

I cannot tell you how excited I am that this quilt is finally finished! I started it in February 2007, so it's about 4 1/2 years old. The size of "Scrappy Memories" is 48" x 56".



I learned how to line up the sashings more accurately and practised with each row, so by the end I was getting much better at it. But the first long sashing was still bugging me, so I took the entire first row off and reattached it. It made me like the quilt so much more! 






I used my new ripping tool that I bought in Vermont and it worked quite well.
This was my first Quilt-As-You-Go (QAYG) project and I have decided I do like the technique. I used the same technique as on Andrea's tutorial over at Welsh Quilter. I liked it so much that a) I have started another QAYG quilt to use up scraps from my Indian Orange Peel quilt, and b) I signed up for a QAYG class in the fall with Martha Shellingerhoud. 
I have written before about the challenges in finishing this quilt - click here if you missed the gory details!
These are the great things about this quilt...
1) it used up a lot of leftovers including bazillions of small scraps of fabric, as well as lots of small bits of leftover batting of all kinds. I mixed them all together - bamboo, cotton, blends, etc and you can't tell at this point that they aren't all the same. It will be interesting to see how they hold up over the years of washing. On the back of the quilt are random squares of purple from my stash.

2) I will always remember hand stitching the sashings on the back of the blocks while having movie nights with my Mom. She received these old 1950's Howard Keel movies for Christmas and we had lots of laughs watching them.
Challenge Summary: for the 2011 UFO Challenge we each set our own projects goals and mine were to finish (as in quilted, bound, and labelled) 12 quilts. As of the half way mark of 2011, I have finished 5 out of 6 of my UFO's. (My spiderweb quilt just needs quilting and then all 6 will be finished)...woohoo!

Monday, July 04, 2011

Design Wall Monday

On my design wall today are some of the blocks from step #1 of the Quiltmaker mystery. Not very exciting.
Step #2 is out so I have peaked ahead and see that there is a lot more sewing for this step. These are my fabrics for the mystery. 
I usually don't use directional prints in mysteries, because you don't have any idea how they will work together in the blocks. But I really like these fabrics, so I plan to be fine with however they work out in the overall quilt design.
To visit other quilty blogs and get some design wall inspiration, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Scrappy Saturday

Happy Belated Canada Day to my Canadian readers and an early Happy 4th of July to my American readers! The weather here was glorious for the parade - sunny and warm, with a slight breeze. We enjoyed a picnic with 14 family members, followed by fireworks in the evening. I have done a lot of visiting, cooking, and dishes, but not much sewing. 
I did manage to finally get my yellow scraps sewn together for June's rainbow scrap challenge. I was happy with the amount of yellow scraps (cut into 1 1/2" strips) that were used up in this project. 
There were a lot of bias edges in these blocks and it sure was a challenge to get the seams to match up...a lot of pinning was essential. I have no idea how to finish the edges of the quilt top, and in fact I don't even know which way is up! 
I do know that it wants to be called "Hexagon Honeycomb"! My favorite fabrics are the bees, and the yellow flowers.





Now, which way does it go? 



Layout A is on the left....














Layout B is on the right...


Which way is up?
What is your vote?


The colour for this month is red, white and blue, and I have a great idea for using up really tiny scraps. Drop by Soscrappy to see what other people are making with their rainbow scraps this week.