Friday, May 31, 2013

Friday Finish

Can you believe that May is over?!? 
And can you believe that I finished my May UFO for the Lovely Year of Finishes?!?

Me either!

This quilt was started at the Red Letter Quilt Along almost 2 years ago. The letters were made using Tonya's book called Word Play Quilts (a great reference book that every quilter should have in their library IMHO). The 37 asterisk blocks were inspired by Jean's quilt, and I used a tutorial at the Selvage Blog to learn how to sew them. They were really fun to sew and I think I will probably be making more of them in my quilting future.

It took a while to settle on a machine quilting design to go around all the letters, but I decided on a swirly pattern. 

Then I had some thread snapping issues.
I tried to slow down, but this did not help.  This is the point at which beginning machine quilters struggle, and sometimes give up.  For sure it can be really frustrating, but I always encourage people to just kept trying a different combination of thread and needles.  It is totally dependent on the quilt sandwich, what batting you used, how thick the fabrics are, the combination of the type of thread that is on top and in the bobbin, and how your machine feels on that particular day! For me this week - the quilting needles and the embroidery needles didn't work, but the Topstitch 90/14 needle solved the issue completely.
I was happy to find this fabric in my stash which was perfect for the binding...and I had enough of it to go all the way around! That hardly ever happens...I usually find the perfect fabric, but don't have enough of it :)

The backing of the quilt is a plain white fabric with letters on it.
Click here to see other quilts finished this month.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Layer Cake Mystery - week 4

It's almost the end of "May For Me", and I have made a conscious effort to make time daily to do some sewing on the  layer cake mystery. There was a lot of block trimming, which was not fun, but it had to be finished before the fun sewing could start!
When sewing the blocks together, I found a few issues, such as places where I sewed too scant of a seam allowance. Those kinds of issues I always fix because I don't want the quilt to unravel in the future.

Then I started to sew the blocks into favorite part! This is going to be really scrappy looking because I am picking up blocks randomly to sew. I am happy with the evolving distribution of the dark blue. The red could be more evenly spaced, but it's not too terrible. 
"Random" does not equal "evenly balanced" LOL
Hop over to Aunt Reen's place to see the other layer cake mysteries being created, and then over to Marcia's for May For Me postings.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

"Votes For Women" Wednesday

More progress to report on my Votes for Women sampler project...

I had a great time hand piecing block #29 called "Seven Point Star for Australia". The centre isn't exactly perfect (LOL!) but I am very proud to point out that I (fairly) successfully sewed 7 set-in seams for this block! 
And it lays flat!
Yah me!

Block #30 is called "Broad Arrow". I didn't like the look of one arrow, so I wanted to sew two arrows in one block, but it was a bit tricky to figure out mathematically. I added a border around the arrows to bring it up to size.

Onto the next block...

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Treadling on Tuesday

I have transplanted all my seedlings, so the treadle machine is back in business. Here is a photo of the treadling going on today. You can see how I am strip piecing and putting through one foundation paper after another, until the strip is used up.
Somehow I ended up with 3 scrap baskets on the table? 
I swear these scraps are multiplying overnight...just can't keep ahead of them!
Quick question...are any of my blog readers planning to attend the LancasterToga? If so, please email me.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Monday Design Wall - Sunny Side Up

I made great progress this past week on Judy's Sunny Side Up quilt along. Sewing the star blocks was really fun, and I was very happy when I put them on the design wall with the alternate chain blocks.

I am ready for step #9 - sewing the blocks into rows.

Here are some of the blocks all ready to sew together. These Dritz row marking pins are great for keeping the blocks in order while you move them from the design wall to the sewing machine.

Once I pin all the blocks into rows, my design wall will be empty and ready for other blocks to fill it up. I have been trimming my HST blocks for the mystery quilt that I would like to do more sewing on this week, and hope they make it to the design wall soon.
To see more design wall postings, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Hand Quilting Inspiration

Every hand quilter has their own style of stitching. I have found it so helpful to watch other quilters' techniques when they are quilting. 
This is my friend Pat hand quilting a baby quilt. I was mesmerized by watching her. 

Pat uses the 1/4" quilting tape to mark her quilting lines across the embroidery blocks. 
She doesn't like to use a marker on white fabric "just in case" it doesn't come off. She is crosshatching the background of the block, but not stitching through the embroidery. I love it!
If you don't have any friends to watch quilt, you can watch some experts through the magic of the internet.
Here are some videos you might enjoy:
*Sarah Fielke - larger stitching with Perle cotton.
*Marianne Fons - I like her description of the difference between machine and hand quilting. 
*Thimble Lady - lots of commercials to watch but neat ideas...I might have to try one of these thimbles.
*Tim Latimer - Tim has a unique style of quilting with a thumb thimble on his left hand.

Photo by Squidoo a special treat to enjoy, Celebrate Hand Quilting blog had a fantastic blog hop last week - click here to start at day one. 
Now that you are inspired, don't just keep reading about the magic of hand quilting, go do it!
Today I will be continuing my relaxing "Journey of a Quilter" and I will be working on block #8 while thoughts of yesterday's quilt auction dance in my head.
Link up your hand stitching post below and share what you are working on this week.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Mennonite Relief Sale 2013

It was another fun day at the annual quilt auction in New Hamburg. I have attended annually with my Mom for as long as I can remember. Various friends have joined us over the years, and this year my Dad even stopped by to get in on some fun! We didn't actually buy a quilt this year, but it was the coldest year I can ever remember, and I was ready to buy a quilt so that I could wrap up in it and keep warm! 

This was the line up for strawberry pie at 8:30 am! 
I kid you not!
I had to taste test the pie to make sure it was safe for public consumption.
No, I did not eat the WHOLE pie!
My small group of quilting friends (the "Sew 'n Sews") have made 4 quilts for this quilt auction over the years: 
*Wings of Friendship - $475
*Split Decision - $400
*Chicklets - $325
This year our quilt was a Bonnie Hunter pattern called "Bricks and Stepping Stones" and it sold for $375! It looked great up there on the auction block/bed!
There were so many gorgeous quilts to enjoy, which you can view on the website catalogue (click here). And you can see some video footage that someone posted of last year's auction (click here). The video gives you a feel for the auction and features one of my favorite bid "spotters"...he is quite a character and entertaining to watch!
The featured quilt this year was made by the amazing and talented Judy Pearce. Here she is with her quilt, which was inspired by a photo taken at a previous quilt auction (which is clipped to the left side of the quilt). 

Judy gave me permission to post this photo of herself with the new quilt owner Brenda Jewitt (on the left) and Judy's parents (on the right).
Guess how much this quilt was sold for?!?
Yep... that is with 4 zeros!
We are just so proud of you Judy!
On the local news tonight it was reported that they raised over $310,000 at the sale this year. Here is the local news report.
It was truly an inspiring day. I will count down the days until next year... and we better get to work on planning our next donation quilt!

Friday, May 24, 2013


It's Friday again and I have scheduled a special Friday Night Sew-In to meet up with my friend/blog stalker from North Bay. Deanna is in town for Quilt Festival and is coming over to help me sew my chompers quilt. Well, that's not exactly what she said...she said that she is coming over with some friends to sew tonight.
That means I will have to send my Mom and Dad to buy our reserve seats for the Mennonite Relief Sale and Quilt Auction. I can't wait to see my group's quilt on display. It was hanging at the Waterloo City Hall for a couple of weeks and looked fabulous there. If you see any incorrectly creatively place 4 patches, please don't tell me!
Bricks and Stepping Stones
A free pattern by Bonnie Hunter
I like this photo because you can even see the hand quilted waves in the blue border. You can bet I will take a lot more photos tomorrow at the quilt auction!
Between the late night sewing party and the early morning rising to attend the quilt auction tomorrow, I don't anticipate a lot of sleeping tonight!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

A new FREE mystery quilt

Friends can sometimes be a bad influence.
Kathy over at Kindred Quilts twisted my arm, well, um...okay, she just mentioned the event. But she convinced me to join in the mystery quilt sew along over at Aunt Reen's and I'm blaming Kathy (not me, the other Kathy!) 
Here are the four good reasons why I just can't resist the current mystery that Doreen is hosting:
1) Because I have no willpower due to having a terrible case of Startitis. I am powerless. LOL!
2) Because it's "May For Me" month and I need some sewing time just for a fun ME project. Now don't you be going over to Marcia's blog and entering her draws there, because I want to win!
3) Because I have all the supplies (a layer cake and scrappy background) and don't have to buy anything for this sew along, so basically it's a free quilt...right?!?
4) Because I love mystery quilts, and haven't done one in a while (never mind looking around my sewing room at all the quilts in progress!).
I am using a layer cake called Independence Trail by Minick and Simpson:

"Independence Trail is a reckoning of a family's trek across our country in it's centennial year.  Inspired by journals  from several young ladies of the time, it reflects on an imagined journey from the Midwest to a new home in Oregon.  Leaving their family farm and orchards on the Great Lakes and making for a new place of bounty near the Pacific, we fill this family's landscape with the fabrics of the time.    Domestic simplicity with the hope of an abundant future – these fabrics evoke the time and the inspiration of that journey."

Here are all my blocks (168 HST's!) cut and ready to press and trim, which brings me almost to the end of step #2

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Votes For Women Wednesday

A big thank you to everyone who gave me feedback and ideas in the comments on my design wall posting last week. 
I will try out the suggestions for improving my umbrella block and report back on my success...or lack thereof!
Here are the next blocks for my Votes for Women sampler quilt.
This is block #27 called "Grandmother's Dream: The Houghtons". The history lesson about the Houghton family was inspiring to read. 
I thought I was quite clever in figuring out how to sew this block with no set-in seams. It took quite a bit of sketching and measuring, but it turned out great!

Here is block #28 called Ocean Wave. No calculations required for this one...easy peasy. This block is symbolic of the women who enlisted in the navy. 
I love this line from Barbara's lesson for block #28:
"Each generation fights for rights the next generation takes for granted."

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Mid Month UFO Report

It is a good thing to have a mid-month UFO check in. It reminds me of the goal I set for myself at the beginning of the month and motivates me to stay on task (in spite of starting new projects!) which hopefully increases the probability of a finished quilt by the end of the month.

This photo shows the pile of the chosen backing, the batting and the quilt top all pressed and ready to go. Just getting that pile organized takes a big chunk of time - everything purchased, measured and pressed.

I enjoyed the pin basting while listening to CBC radio.

And since then, the quilt's been sitting... and waiting... 
for a decision on the quilting design to emerge....hmmmmm
See more UFO progress reports here.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Design Wall Monday - Sunny Side Up

It's Monday again, which means it's time to show what's in progress on the design wall today.  These are the blocks for my version of Judy's "Sunny Side Up" quilt along.
I have moments where I wish I would have left out the two really light background fabrics, but I'm not changing it now and hope that I like it more once I put the alternating star blocks in.

These are all the pieces cut for the stars in step #6. I hope to piece these will be a lot of trimming to do for the needed 68 QST blocks!
I actually have two design walls, and on the other design wall is the dreaded IOP (aka Chompers). When my Mom lasted visited the quilting room, she actually offered me cash to take "that thing" off the wall! LOL!  I told her I'm not taking it down until it's done! Wonder when that will be!?!
And while I'm talking about chompers, here is the latest instrument of torture from my orthodontist....
elastics - which hook around the top front eye teeth brackets and stretch to the bottom back molars to yank the top teeth into place.
Doc even gave me some brightly coloured elastics to try to entice me to wear them.  
I hate them.
They make my teeth and jaw hurt. 
He calls it "uncomfortable". I call it agony :(
I also got "power chains" put on the top and bottom teeth.
I still cannot believe I willingly agreed to this torture!
But as if to compensate for the torture, a wonderful treat arrived on my doorstep.
Look what I won from the Quiltmaker 100 blocks blog hop!
Not only did I win an issue of my favorite magazine, I won a collector's MUG!
I cannot tell you how happy this makes me! You would think I'd just won the lottery (although it didn't make me forget that my mouth hurts!)
To see more Monday Design Wall postings, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Slow Sunday Stitching

It's Sunday! 
Time for some relaxing Slow Sunday Stitching!

 I am excited to share that I have finished 1/3 of the hand quilting (not including the border) on my Journey of a Quilter. I have quilted parts of some of the other blocks too, but blocks 3, 5 and 6 are completely quilted as of today! 

I finished the hand embroidery on block #3 in the fall of 2007 and here it is only 5.5 years later all quilted!

Wow...that journey went by fast!

Today I am going to spend some minutes hand quilting and hope you will make some time to do some relaxing stitching too! Link up your hand stitching post below and share your progress to inspire all of us slow stitchers.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Friday Night Sew-In and Scrappy Saturday

A couple of quilting friends came over for a hastily organized FNSI. It's the long weekend here, so I was happy that anyone was in town to come and sew with me. I have decided that sewing with friends is good for "whatever ails ya"! 
A full evening of sewing last night got me to the end of step #5 of the Sunny Side Quilt Along. It seems like 18 blocks is an odd number to need, but I double checked the pattern last night, and that is the correct number. I am using my collection of Kansas Troubles fabric, and think it will be perfect for this pattern.Today I am cutting for the alternate star blocks in blues and green.
And in between sewing these chain blocks, I was able to
finish 9 leader/ender Alamo Star blocks for the rainbow scrap challenge. Looks like I've had a hard time giving up the green month since all the bright blues seem to be getting paired up with green scraps :) I will try to throw in some other contrasting colours for the last week of the blue month.
Hop over to Soscrappy to see the other blue projects being made this week. And feel free to join in at any time - start organizing your scraps and getting them into quilts!

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Accidental Quilt

Way back in February at Quilt Retreat, I accidentally started a quilt.

(*** See previous post on my serious case of Startitis)
Marjorie brought this great library book (Sunday Morning Quilts) to show us, and I fell in love with a quilt in that book called "Up, Up and Away" (which is shown in this book review)! And then my secret sister gave me this adorable little package of Marmalade squares which happened to be the perfect size to start that quilt. I thought it was meant to be! LOL
I added some white yardage (note to quilt retreaters...
always take along extra plain yardage just in case you need to start a new quilt!) and Marjorie tossed a few Kaffe Fassett strips my way, and before you know it, I was starting another quilt!
Then I came home from retreat and immediately forgot about that impulsive transgression...Oopsy!
When shopping at a quilt store recently, I found a 5" charm pack of the Marmalade line of fabric and remembered how much I liked that fabric, and the memories of my impulsive quilt project from February came flooding back! Of course I bought the charm pack, and then went in search of the rest of the project in my sewing room.

Luckily I found the project easily, and discovered that I had already sewn and trimmed more than 50 blocks! Woohoo!

Handmade by HeidiI now have everything re-organized, and have all the fabric cut out and ready to make some major progress tonight at Friday Night Sew-In.

Thursday, May 16, 2013


I used to sew with any kind of thread I could find on sale.
But then I found that when sewing tiny pieces for miniature quilts, the piecing was more accurate with a thinner thread. By trial and error, I found that Aurifil thread makes the best seam.
Plus my Brother sewing machine LOVES machine quilting at high speeds (oh wait...maybe it's me that loves it!) and it does a great stitch with Aurifil. Believe me, I tried many other threads that my machine chewed up and spit out.

I recently ordered a box of neutral Aurifil for piecing from Tristan threads and I immediately wound up 6 bobbins. Wonder how many seams I can sew with these bobbins? And I wonder how long this box of thread will last?!?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Treadling or Gardening

Did you catch QuiltCam with Bonnie Hunter last night? If you missed it, you can watch it anytime on her YouTube channel - click here.
I really enjoyed watching her treadle the borders on a plaid quilt. I got some great tips on how to handle the quilt top while attaching borders by treadling. 
The problem is, my beloved treadle machine is covered with a "mini garden" at this moment. I know that is a bad bad bad thing to do to my treasured treadle, but I covered the entire cabinet in plastic before placing anything on it :) This is an older photo, but it shows the wonderful light coming through this window...just perfect to grow little vegetable seeds.
Gardening season is quickly approaching, although you'd never know it, since it hailed here yesterday, and it is 3 degrees outside as I write this blog post.  We have such a short growing season here (only 3 months of warmer temperatures) that I wanted to give my veggies a little head start and started growing some seeds indoors.

This year I am trying some organic seeds made by a local company. Here is the traditional method of starting seeds in egg cartons. 

And I'm also trying a new seed starter method that I bought at the Canadian Tire store. It is called a "Jiffy Professional 72 Cell Windowsill Greenhouse Kit".
Sounds fancy, eh?!?  
I'll let you know if any of these things actually grow!All of this paraphernalia is sitting by the window on my treadle machine just until the seeds get going.