Thursday, August 30, 2012

Votes For Women

First some great news...Barbara Brackman posted some of my Civil War blocks on her Civil War Quilts blog! I was so excited to see my blocks there...that made my day!
Then the not so great news...I didn't meet my goal to have my civil war blocks made into a quilt by the end of the summer. The reason is that my Brother sewing machine is in quarantine waiting for surgery, and my back up Janome machine just does not sew nice seams, especially when the blocks have multiple seams to sew over. So I have been working on other projects where I am not concerned about having chewed up seams - and my civil war blocks are still sitting in a box (insert sad face).
And to end this post with more great news...
Barbara Brackman is starting a new year long BOW (Block of the Week) called Grandmother's Choice: Votes For Women. There will be and 8" block pattern and history lesson on the fight for women's rights posted each Saturday for a year. I can hardly wait! The first block will be posted September 1st (yep... that's tommorow and only one more sleep!) and I have all my fabrics picked out (from stash) and they are ready to cut into. I might be piecing my blocks by hand if my machine isn't fixed.
Are you joining in?? 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

August Free Motion Quilting Challenge

This month the Free Motion Challenge was to stitch a design called "Jester's Hat" and the lesson was by Wendy Sheppard. The design looks so cute and I thought it would be fun. 
But it was H A R D!!!
Part of my problem is that I love to quilt swirls, and my brain kept wanting to launch into what it enjoys/knows to do, instead of learning something new!
I figured out during my many sketching attempts that I couldn't seem to fill in the space as easily as with other designs (like the heart shaped leaves or the loops and stars) and I did not seem to be able to keep the scale of the design consistent. 
But I could draw it across the page one way and then come back, so I went with that as a plan!
Over to the machine...
Unfortunately my Brother sewing machine is broken and away at the "spa", so I had to use my back up Janome machine. The small bed is harder to quilt on and I couldn't find my extension table. Shheesh!
But the quilting stitch on this machine was okay so I went ahead and tried my best. I stitched across and back, kind of on a diagonal and it looked okay. There were a  couple of crossovers, and unevenly spaced parts, but I give myself an 'A' for effort! And I am sure that the design would improve with more practice...or I could just blame the machine, but I'm sure it is operator error!!
To see other attempts at this month's challenge, hop over to SewCalGal.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Quilt Square Quilt Along Frustrations

There are two blocks to chose from for this month's Quilt Square Quilt Along, and I am (of course) trying do the pieced 'T' block. I say TRYING because it's not going well.
The cutting out and organizing went fine...9 different fabrics, all the HST's cut out with my Easy Angle Ruler, and a nice argyle print cut for the border.
But the sewing is driving me crazy!
I am very frustrated with my Janome machine and pining for my Brother machine!
Do you see how it is chewing up the fabric underneath? Grrrr....
Any advice on how to fix this?
I have had this problem with this machine since I bought it...I wrote about it on my blog way back in 2008. I was going to take the machine in to be fixed and never did, and now I'm mad at myself for that :) 
I am going down to the basement to try to find my very first 25 year old sewing machine and see if it can do a better job on these seams! Or else it will be hand stitching only around here!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Design Wall Monday #32 - Journey of a Quilter

I have a big reveal today to share...
drum roll please...tada! 
These are all my finished blocks for my "Journey Of A Quilter" project! The extremely well written pattern for this quilt is by Leanne Beasley.
The stitching on the first block commenced in July 2007, so it took 5 years to finished the 9 blocks! There are a lot of stitches and many memories in this quilt! And I am happy to say that I still love this project today as much as I have since the day I started it...and that doesn't always happen on long term projects (just ask any one of the UFO's in my closet!!)
You can read the long stitching journey documented on my blog by clicking here. I just counted and there were over 181 comments of encouragement and advice left on those blogposts over the last 5 years, and I thank you for every word shared!
I will sew the blocks together when my sewing machine returns from the "spa". 
And then the next part of the journey starts - the quilting. I have been debating about the quilting decision, but have decided that the stitching has taken so long with the embroidery being done by hand, so what is another year or two extra to do the quilting by hand also?!?
To see more design walls, hop over to Patchwork Times.
And you still have time to enter my Bowls with Borders draw - click here. These are the bowl link ups for today:

August 27th

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Slow Sunday Stitching

I have been doing a lot of hand work this week since my sewing machine has been at the "spa". I miss it very much, but thankfully I have lots of hand work projects to keep me out of trouble!
I finished my "Bowls with Borders" project that I posted on my blog yesterday. That little quilt had a lot of hand quilting and hand beading, and I enjoyed every stitch.
Then I worked on the last block for my Journey of A Quilter project. This is a project that I've been working on for a long long time...guess it's a long journey! 
I have been using one of my favorite tools - the Clover Needle Threader
I discovered that you need to have the "right" combination of needle and thread to get it to work, but when it works, it's awesome. I have been using 2 strands of DMC embroidery floss for this project and this tool threads my needle with no problem. It is great for late night stitching when old, tired eyes can no longer thread a needle!
Most of the stitching on this block is a back stitch, but I made some french knots for the centers of some of the flowers and have really enjoyed that.
In my blogland travels this week I found a gorgeous Christmas quilt pattern with patchwork AND stitchery blocks...AND it's free.  Hop over to Red Brolly to download the patterns - step one is here.
What have you been stitching this week? 
Link up your blogpost about your hand work and share your progress with us!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Bowls With Borders Blog Hop and Giveaway

I am so excited to be part of my first official blog hop ever - the Bowls With Borders Blog Hop! If you haven't visited here at Kathy's Quilts before, welcome to my quilting blog! And if you have visited before, welcome back!
I live in Ontario, Canada, and have been blogging about my quilting addiction adventures since 2006. I joined the Bowls blog hop because I enjoy paper piecing, and I loved the pattern that inspired this blog hop.
I had great fun dreaming up creative versions of possible bowl quilts to create, but went with my first thought:
"If life is a BOWL of cherries, what am I doing in the pits?" (which is a book written by Erma Bombeck)
Here's are my cherry bowls...
A big thanks to designer Regina Grewe for providing such a fun pattern to sew! And thank you to hop cheerleader Carol and hostess Madame Samm!
Paper piecing is one of my favorite block sewing techniques, but I must admit that I always make a big mess. I do try to contain the bits of fabric and paper but find it impossible to be neat and tidy when paper piecing. Do you have the same problem?
In my attempt to be a little more organized,
I like to precut as many of the pieces as I can to the approximate sizes. I picked out my bowl fabrics and cut a piece from each fabric 5" x 2.5". Then I subcut that into 5" x 1.5" and 5" x 1" for each bowl. I also precut the red strips that go across each bowl at .75"...these pieces are small! Then I was organized and ready to start sewing.
I had a great time piecing the bowls (that was my favorite part) and stacked them 7 high. Then I appliqued the cherries which I fussy cut from "Oh Cherry" fabric and embroidered the stems (no, that was my favorite part).
Then onto the border...
I sewed together small scraps from the flower fabrics in the "Oh Cherry" line, and attached a tiny red rickrack at the beginning of the border.
I hand quilted around the bowls and in each border square (really, that was my favorite part). 
Then I hand beaded the bowl bands in beads to match each bowl (okay, for real, that was my most favorite part).
Can you tell that I enjoyed each step of making my cherry bowls?!? LOL
To celebrate the blog hop, what better way than a draw for a "Oh Cherryhoney bun by Me and My Sister. Just leave me a comment below and let me know what you have enjoyed about the Bowls with Borders blog hop
What I enjoyed, aside from seeing all the great quilts, was the number of brave quilters who signed up for the blog hop and were beginner paper piecers, but were willing to try something new...bravo! 
Thanks for visiting my blog and enjoy the rest of the today's bowl blogs:

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Quilty Gifts

Remember when my sister dragged drove me around on the Yours to Discover Shop Hop last month?!? Well, not only did we see some great shops and buy a few fabric treats, but we won draw prizes! 
The orange batiks are the prize my sister won from Creative Sisters in Kitchener. 
won two fat quarter collections and an Aurifil thread pack from Country Patchworks in Woodstock! I have already used a couple of the light yellow FQ's for embroidery backgrounds.   How great is that?!?  A big thank you to the owners of the 10 shops that's a lot of extra work for them, and we really enjoyed the quilty adventure.
And I also won a Berenstain Bears Layer Cake from Sharon during the Crafter's Campfire last month. Thanks so much Sharon!
I have already cut into some of those great dot fabrics in the collection...couldn't help myself!  I am hoping to use the yellow yardage on the right for a border or binding (found it on the July shop hop). I even have a pattern picked out (Slide Show by Atkinson Designs) for the remaining layer cake pieces, which I plan to sew at my winter quilt retreat. Yes, I am already working on my list of projects to take to retreat and it's still 6 months away!
There is a big quilt blog hop starting on Saturday at Quilting Gallery and you can enter to win lots of quilty prizes. You visit the blogs on the list and try your luck at winning the draws by leaving comments on each blog listed. I'm not on that blog hop because I'm too busy with other things on my blog this weekend...Saturday is MY day for the Bowls with Borders blog hop and I am very excited. These are the Bowls that were featured on day 10...enjoy!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Leaders - Enders

One of Bonnie Hunter's greatest influences on my quilting journey is the concept of leaders/enders. It's truly amazing how much you can accomplish toward building a new quilt, and save thread by using this system. 
This week Bonnie posted another leader/ender project idea on her blog to sew spool blocks - click here for the instructions. I can barely find my reference book in amongst all my scraps and am in danger of drowning in scraps... it's time to get them organized to sew!
I have not had a leader/ender in development for a long time (and have wasted a lot of thread) because of starting and ending seams on a scrap, or cutting long thread tails. 
First of all, I didn't have any fabric prepared, and you need to be well organized to machine piece two projects at the same time. 
Secondly, I was a bit overwhelmed by my last two leader/ender projects because they are still piles of blocks, and I was thinking...I can't start another one, with two sitting there as a mess!
Here are those two project boxes...
just waiting. Once the leader/ender part was over, the fun was gone for me and it seemed I couldn't make the necessary decisions to make any further progress.  So I took another hard look at these projects and made some decisions (and wrote down some notes so I will remember!) and put them on my UFO list for 2013. Now I feel ready to take on another leader/ender project.
But what to sew? Then I came across Beth's blogposts on her "Dump and Sew" method, and it reminded me how much fun I had sewing crumb blocks last year (click here to see them).  No precutting required, just a bag of scraps and sewing bits together in a liberated, random way...this is the perfect leader/ender project for me!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Design Wall Monday #31

I haven't been doing a lot of machine work this week since I've had sewing machine troubles, but I did manage to get my Temecula stars almost caught up. There are 7 blocks posted, and I've finished 6 so far.
That's all that's on the design wall today!
Get a cup of tea and head over to Patchwork Times for some design wall inspiration.
And if you want to see the latest Bowl quilts, hop over to Carol's blog for today's list (my day to post my Bowl Quilt is Saturday...hope I get the quilting  done by then!)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Slow Sunday Stitching

I had a great day last weekend at the Fergus Scottish Festival. Virginia of Undercover Quilts let me join the hand quilting bee at the Heritage tent, and it was the best afternoon I have had in a long long time. 
"Why?" you may ask.
1) There was a beautiful quilt to work on, that just happened to be in the colours that I am currently using for my bowl with borders project (for my blog hop post on August 25th).
2) There were lots of visitors, and some who just couldn't resist reaching out to touch the quilt...I loved that! Maybe these little ones are the quilters of the future!?
3) There was great entertainment in the Heritage tent, organized by Judith Eckhardt (who did a wonderful job). And if you love Scottish music, which I do, it was just heavenly...hand quilting while listening to great music, and visiting with other quilters!

4) Besides the quilting bee, there were a lot of other hand work specialties to enjoy and such creativity to soak up! The spinners and weavers were there, and I enjoyed watching them.
There were also knitters and embroiderers. 

And look here...
bobbin lace makers! 
If I wasn't so in love with quilting, I would take up bobbin lace making for sure!
And look who I found! This is my friend Pat, whom I have known for many years. She was demonstrating bobbin lace making in the Heritage Tent. I found out that Pat is a daily reader of my blog, (which may border on stalking, right Pat?!)  She was too funny...she said she reads my blog every morning and is really mad  disappointed if I don't write something every day! LOL You made my day even more special Pat!
5) And did I mention the great music?!?
It is tradition that at the end of the festival, the Fergus Pipe Band comes to the heritage tent and gives everyone one last concert.

Can you see in this photo that it just poured down rain for a bit?? 

And the band played on! 

And the quilters stitched on!
This is the block that I was quilting.  I was able to finish half of the block's crosshatching and enjoyed making every single stitch!
It was a great day!

What have you been stitching this week?  
Thanks to the eight bloggers who linked up to the Slow Sunday Stitching post last week and showed us a wide range of projects they are stitching. 

All bloggers who link up are eligible to win the draw prize, which this month is a package of fruit and vegetable charms (for the fall harvest quilt you will make!) and a cute pair of scissors.
I hope you will post a link to your hand stitching blogpost below and show us your progress.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

FNSI Report Scrappy Saturday

I don't know why I didn't take any photos at FNSI last night...the night went by way too fast! You will have to take my word for it that lots of projects were tackled. My sister worked on a baby quilt, Barb did some binding and beading, Joanne was getting creative with fleece projects, and I mostly putzed around with a variety of hand stitched projects. 
I started a new stitchery project from Violet and Clover's Garden Steps Quilt Along. Quick and easy!  I hope to have more to show next week on my Slow Sunday Stitching post.I also finished the hand quilting on my Bowls With Borders quilt, which I can post next Saturday. You can check out the other bowls posted today at Sew We Quilt

And now onto the Rainbow Scrap Challenge update
The colour this month is teal/aqua/turquoise
I finally got my palm tree branch block sewn and it used up 14 teal scraps. I love it as much as my first two blocks (purple from June, and blue from July).
You can get the free pattern designed by Kristi, and watch the tutorial(And BTW, Kristi organized a paper piecing blog hop for the month of August, so you can hop over and get some more paper piecing ideas.)
If you don't totally love this block yet, hop over to Terri's blog and see her wonderful blocks  Then hop over to SoScrappy and see what other quilters are sewing with their turquoise scraps.
Phew...after all that hoping around in blogland, it'll be time for a nap!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Freaky Friday

So it's TUSAL day and FNSI...but guess what else?!
I met my quilting twin today! Or is it all just coincidence?
We are both named Kathy, we both have quilting blogs (click here to see hers), and we both submitted a scrappy quilt to the Quilting Gallery this week. But even more bizarre is we are listed beside each other, and we submitted the SAME quilt, with the SAME name!!!
Are you saying "NO WAY"! Yes, way! How crazy is that!
So Kathy emailed me this morning, and I have been smiling about it ever since! What are the odds of this happening?!? My twin's spiderweb quilt has black fabric where I have purple, but we constructed the blocks in the same way with a consistent fabric for outside ring around the webs, the same thin inner border and the piano key scrappy border. It is so fun to think about Kathy sitting in another country, sewing her scraps into the same quilt blocks as I was. Two strangers with the same name, making the same quilts, calling them the same thing, and then posting them on the same website!?!?
Go check it out at the Quilting Gallery - click here. You can see a great quilt show, and vote for your 5 favorite quilts, and don't hesitate to vote for the Kathy Twins!! LOL


If you are a quiltaholic blogger you know what these anachronisms mean...
TUSAL = Totally Useless Sew Along
Even the name makes me smile! 
I found out about the Totally Useless Sew Along on Connie's blog. Since I save all my thread bits, I had to find out more about it - click here to read more. I love it! There are lots of people who are as crazy as I am ... almost 400 people are signed up! All you do is post a photo of your thread bits a.k.a. "ORTS" on the new moon, which is today (yes it is...look outside your window tonight!) 
This is my ORTS jar, which was a gift from my friend Louise. It's quite large and is now full...that's a LOT of thread ends!

FNSI = Friday Night Sew In
This month the FNSI is being hosted by Bobbi, and I invited my sister and my "regular FNSI friend" Barb to join in. For FNSI all you do is plan a party for yourself or invite others, get some projects ready, and enjoy a relaxing evening of sewing. (To read my July FNSI report - click here.) We usually have snacks, music, drinks, and lots of great conversation and laughter, and if we have time, we do some sewing! I have a long list of projects to work on, and if my sewing machine cooperates, I hope to have lots to report on tomorrow.
Happy TUSAL and FNSI!!
And if you are following the Bowls with Borders blog hop, here are the links for today:

August 17th

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Sewing Machine Woes

Apparently I really broke my Brother 1500 while quilting the Tshirt quilt, and my trusty sewing machine technician who has fixed and maintained my machines for as long as I can even remember, tells me that he is going to rebuild it.
Here he is - my therapist sewing machine mechanic... Reza at Triangle Sewing. He is always so reassuring..."yes, don't worry, I will fix it for you". 
He's so nice to me, maybe he saw me crying in the parking lot when I had to drop off my baby sewing machine for an undisclosed length of time. Of course they don't make the parts anymore (it's 12 years old) so Reza has to substitute other parts, which he has ordered.He hopes to rebuild the shaft and the something something...I don't remember what all he has to do. But he says that this is an industrial machine, and should last me a lot longer than it has, and he is sure he can figure it out.   
Okay Kathyrn - take a deep breath and have some faith!
So today I take out my back up machine Janome Jem Platinum, which is lightweight and easy to take to classes. I was trying to sew my Temecula star block, and the seam looked like this. What a mess! So I think to myself, I will just open up the side and see if there is a tension or thread issue, and guess what happened? 
OMG I broke this one too! I am totally jinxed! This part fell right out...yes, it did! So I call Reza in a panic and guess what he said?
"Don't worry. Bring it in and I will fix it for you". 
I drove over immediately and you can see in the top photo that now he has both of my machines on his work bench!
But thankfully this one was a quick fix. It was just a thread guide that fell off (or maybe I jammed the case into it and broke it?) which he put back in place with a little glue to hold it together, and a tissue and some reassurance to hold me together, and we were good to go!
For a minute there I thought I might have to go to a quilting detox centre if I didn't have a machine to sew on!! Is there such a thing?!?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Photography Course - Advice From A Tree

I finished my online photography course at Superhero Photo called "Elevate the Ordinary". I enjoyed completing the assignments, and reflecting on the themes that were presented. Andrea Scher is so inspiring... if you are not familiar with her work, just read this one blogpost and tell me if you don't feel immediately more hopeful about life, and less critical of yourself.
I've had many ongoing problems with my camera (and my sewing machine, which will hopefully be rebuilt if the repair wizard can find the necessary, but "not being made anymore", parts ... seriously, what is with all my recent technical glitches?) and I wasn't very happy with many of my photos (forget what I said above about being less critical of oneself!)
But I forged ahead anyway with the Leonard Cohen's mantra:  "Act the way you'd like to be and soon you'll be the way you act". I want to be able to capture memorable moments and feelings, and use those snapshots to increase joy and love in my life, my family, and my community. 
Soon maybe, eh Leonard Cohen?!?! LOL
Anyway, one of the course assignments was to photograph your favorite tree.
This is mine
I have "known it" since 1988, and it is leaning more precariously over the water each year.
I love weeping willow trees. What a great name for a tree. Did you ever wonder why it is called that? 
Here's some info from 20-20 website:
"Few trees offer more drama than the Weeping Willow. World-famous botanist Carl Linnaeus named the tree after mistakenly believing that it was referenced in the Bible. It turns out that the tree he was thinking of was a poplar. Still, the name stuck and for centuries the Weeping Willow has been used as the symbol for grief, sadness and sorrow."
There is just something so stately and elegant about these trees, and they usually grow near water, so that's a bonus too! 
My favorite willow tree is old, and gnarly, has obviously weathered many injuries, and is still beautiful and inspiring to me.
I first saw this wonderful poem on the Raspberry Rabbits blog...

Advice From A Tree by Ilam Shamir

"Dear Friend,
Stand Tall and Proud.
Sink your roots deeply into the Earth.
Reflect the light of a Greater Source.
Think long term.
Go out on a limb.
Remember your place among all Living beings.
Embrace with your joy the changing seasons,
for each yields its own abundance;
The Energy and Birth of Spring,
The Growth and Contentment of Summer,
The Wisdom to let go like leaves in the Fall,
The Rest and Quiet Renewal of Winter.
Feel the wind and the sun
and delight in their presence.
Look up at the moon that shines
down upon you
and the mysteries of the stars at night.
Seek nourishment from
the good things in life;
Simple pleasures
Earth, Fresh Air, Light.
Be content with your natural beauty.
Drink plenty of water.
Let your limbs sway and dance in the breezes.
Be flexible.
Remember your roots.
Enjoy the view..."

If you would like to enjoy the poem set to relaxing music...