Saturday, August 31, 2013

Scrappy Saturday

I am still playing with my red scraps. I should have been working on my August UFO and/or the wedding quilts I need to finish. But nope!
I treated myself to some paper piecing on a red scrappy Palm Branch block (pattern is from Kristy at Quiet Play and that used up another 14 red scraps. This block will go in the box with the other 9 pieced blocks.

And I have been putzing away here with this ruler and practicing my applique for no reason.  Well, maybe the reason is that I just need some relaxing sewing to do...and this fits the bill. Also, I'm not home much, so I need something small and portable to hand stitch.
I bought this "Leaves Galore" ruler (by Sue Pellon Designs) in Vermont 2 years ago, and saw Sue give a wonderful demo on how to use the ruler to make quick orange peel quilts using multilayer cutting and fusible backing on the leaves. But I am using it the slow stitching way, cutting one 5" leaf/oval shape at a time from scraps. 
I trace the shape on the right side of the fabric with my Bohin chalk pencil (love it!) and cut out the shape with scissors, leaving a 1/4" seam allowance. This size fits perfectly across a 4" square on the diagonalThen I pin the shapes to a background square, and put them in my handy dandy ziplock bag. In the bag I include a cardboard insert from a 5" charm pack which keeps the squares flat, some extra pins in a tiny pincushion, a bobbin of matching thread, and some small scissors.

I am ready to slow stitch anywhere, anytime! 
It's such a cute 8" block...just love it!

I also stitched up 3 more 3" aqua spools...don't know why they are so late in showing up, way past their alloted month!
And there is one little lonely red Alamo Star
See what other quilters are stitching with their red scraps today over at SoScrappy.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Nabby's Dowry Block #7

Are you sewing along with the Pocket Patchwork  mini mystery?!? Did you know if you click on that link, there are two previous mini mysteries and patterns to see?!?
This is my version of block #7I'm hopping over to Pam's to see what the next step is for us to sew today!

But first...
I must clean out my machine. 
I didn't even think I was sewing often enough recently to generate much lint, but goodness me, just look at this shameful mess!

I hope to also sew up my red Palm Branch (aka Red Herring) block for the rainbow scrap challenge
I have all the pieces ready - just need the time and a clean machine!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Deckade the Halls Update

I am scurrying to catch up on the postings for the Deckade the Halls quilt-along.  I treated myself to a sewing session working on step #7, while I watched Bonnie Hunter's Quiltcam. If you are a fellow quilting addict, you will totally understand why this is so enjoyable!
I decided to cut all the pieces and sew one wreath at a time, instead of strip piecing each block component three times. I felt much happier working this way, although it took a little figuring to get the instructions re-organized in my mind in order to sew this way.

This is my sewing table with one block's pieces on the cutting mat to the left, one block being sewn beside the machine, and the red spool leader/ender blocks waiting to go under the needle between pieces as needed.

Aren't these wreaths adorable?
I couldn't decide if I like the bows at the top of the block or the bottom? To see more Deckade the Halls blocks, visit the Flickr group.

The last blocks will be posted at the beginning of September, so I have one more week to finish step #8 (which are the tree blocks).

Thanks again to the Fat Quarter Shop for this wonderful (free!) quilt project!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Only a quilter would understand how funny this is!!

I saw this over at La Vie En Rosie.
I hope the printing is big enough to see it.
And not to be a "braggy boots", but I have to say that I am doing what I SHOULD be doing! LOL
How about you?!?
Did you visit the Hexie blog posts today? Just amazing inspiration!

Monday, August 26, 2013

"Be a Hexie Queen" Blog Hop

We interrupt the regularly scheduled blog postings (Design Wall Monday) to bring you the Hexie Blog Hop Thanks to Madame Samm and to cheerleader Debby for another fantastic blogland adventure.
This is what I created for the blog hop:

This project started in the spring with the "Stitch Me Up" 
blog hop. I enjoyed stitching the embroidery, and then it sat unfinished and waiting for the inspiration to finish it. As soon as I saw the hexie hop posting, I immediately thought of using the hexagons as a border for my stitchery. Always trust your creative intuition!
I am new to Hexie stitching. If you are asking yourself "what is a hexie",  it is a hexagon shape that quilters use as a quilting design unit. They are traditionally sewn together using the english paper piecing technique (click here for a tutorial), which is what I tried.
I made enough hexies (31) to make a frame. I can not explain why the frame's shape turned out to be so odd and asymmetrical, except that it seemed to "fit" around the embroidery. I appliqued the hexies to the red border, and did not enjoy prying the paper out from behind the hexagons. Perhaps you have an idea to share about how to do that in an easier way?

Then I placed the whole border on top of the embroidered piece, and hand appliqued it to the yellow fabric.

It worked out perfectly and I couldn't be more pleased with the result. The hexies make a perfect frame for the stitchery! 
The quilt's finished size is 10.5" x 9".
I added a bit of hand quilting and embellished the stitchery a bit more. I might add a few more quilting stitches around the hexagons (still waiting for the quilt to tell me that it is finished!) 
If you enjoy hand stitching, I invite you to stop by my blog on Sundays for the Slow Sunday Stitching link up where you will find inspiring eye candy and creative ideas every week!
You can see all the amazing hexie blog hop projects by visiting the Pinterest board.
And I hope you will visit my blogging friends and see what they are posting for your enjoyment today - here is the list of stops:

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Slow Stitching Sunday

Guess what I am finally trying?!?  Hexies!
I hadn't tried hexie sewing yet, and when the "Be a Hexie Queen" Blog Hop was announced, I eagerly signed up, thinking it would be the motivation that I needed to give it a try. Of course, I had to try it out in miniature size and just look at these little cuties! It is a great meditative and relaxing technique, but I don't think I am loving it enough to start making entire quilts out of these things!  It has been fun to use them for a border. 

I have just finished up the binding on this little hexie project. You'll have to stop by tomorrow (that's my day in the blog hop) to see how my finished project turned out.

This weekend my poor "Slow Stitching" hands have been doing this! 
Yep...attending the Mumford and Sons Gentlemen of the Road Festival
Just me and 35,000 of my closest friends! There is only one band on the planet I would do this for, and it is this these guys!

As much as I love Mumford and Sons, I realized that I am way too old for this kind of excitement anymore... can't wait to get back to quilting!

And...a follow up from last week's hand stitching linky party, the lucky winners of the tiny charm packs are posters #4 and #6. Congratulations to Teresa and Amy! 
What are you hand stitching today? Link up your blog post below and share your progress...

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Scrappy Saturday - Rainbow Scrap Challenge Report

I am enjoying the energy of the red scraps scattered all over neatly piled on my sewing table. However, I haven't been inspired to do many Alamo Stars  this month, because I don't have many red batik scraps. Luckily this is a 5 week month, and I do plan to sew up a couple stars, so look for that next Saturday.

Mostly I have been obsessed with spool blocks because they are easy and mindless, and the perfect size for using up piles of small scraps.
These are my latest red spools. I am sewing 4 spools together to make a 6" block. I am trying to group together 4 similar kinds of reds in each block. I think I only will need about a billion trillion to make a decent sized quilt!
And did you notice that lovely orange peel block in the top left corner of the photo? That's my new applique project, and by the end of that quilt, (circa 2025) I hope to become an expert appliquer! I am using the needle turn technique, and am enjoying it so far. I think I am getting a little better at sewing the points and the curves. These orange peels are being appliqued onto 4" squares.
Hop over to SoScrappy to see what other quilt bloggers are sewing with their red scraps this week.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Nabby's Dowry Blocks

I have finished sewing the first 6 blocks for Nabby's Dowry Quilt-Along. I like them all - couldn't even pick a favorite if I tried! 

Are you sewing along? All the patterns are still posted on the blog (click here), so grab some HST blocks and start stitching! I'm just going to hop over there now and see what Pam has for us to sew this week.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Slow Stitching is not just for Sunday!

There's not much to share this week from Kathy's quilt studio. The only thing I'm doing is hand quilting. I don't know if you can tell from this photo that I am running three needles across the quilt at once, so that I can get more stitches in before I have to move the hoop. 

I would like to say thank you to my faithful blog readers for the wonderful messages of support sent my way. I appreciate each one of you, and hope to acknowledge all the messages I have received very soon.
The hospice has dial-up internet access, if you can imagine!?  So I can only use my computer when I am home (without losing my mind from waiting for anything to download). I will post whenever I can, and show off my new applique project - yep, I'm bound and determined to get better at hand applique!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Design Wall Monday - Sampler Blocks

On the design wall today are some of my blocks for the Grandmother's Choice block sampler. This project has been freely provided to blogland quilters by Barbara Brackman and all of the 49 blocks have now been posted. I put a push on to finish up blocks #41-#46. It was fun to figure out how to use up the scraps I have from my reproduction fabrics. I just have to finish the blocks with hand stitching and then I will be ready to put these blocks together into a sampler quilt top... so exciting! Hop over to Patchwork Times to see more design wall projects.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Slow Stitching Sunday

As most of my blog readers know, my brother has been very sick for a while. (I wrote a blog post a couple of weeks ago about his treatments - you can read about it here.)
He now has cancer in his lungs, liver, spine/bones, and brain. 
Barb, my brother, and me
After a grueling day on Tuesday of meeting with Doctors, having radiation and procedures, he decided to stop treatments. This was an impossible decision to make, but his suffering was unbearable and his prognosis was poor, even with having chemotherapy and radiation, and he didn't want to spend more time traveling back and forth to hospitals. 
We moved him into a lovely hospice on Thursday where they are much better at managing his pain levels and taking care of him.  He is resting more and breathing easier. His left side is becoming paralyzed and he is losing his vision.
And I am quilting like a maniac. 
I don't have any "busy work" to do now. No meals to make or dishes to do for him, no groceries to buy, no medications to monitor, no appointments to go to, no oxygen tanks to maintain, no bedding to change, and nothing to coordinate. It's a lot of sitting and waiting for those moments when he is awake and lucid, and can have conversation. This is the quilt I am working on while I wait for those moments.
My brother is only 47 and yet has experienced so much suffering in his life. And his boys are just teenagers and love him so much. It really is heart breaking.

What else can I do, but quilt?
Trying to stitch together my broken heart and keep my sanity from unravelling, so that I can help the rest of the family to deal with this tragedy. I don't really even know what the quilting pattern is going to be on this project. Apparently I am stitching arrows in pink thread at the moment...we'll see what happens as the week progresses.
I would love for you to share what you are hand stitching this week. Link up your blog post below. Two posters will be randomly drawn to win one of little "Snowman Gathering" collections of 2.5" charm squares...just for a little extra fun. What are you hand stitching?

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Scrappy Saturday

Well, it is Scrappy Saturday already! 
The whole week flew by without much sewing time for me. I did sew a few Carrie Nation blocks because the pieces were already cut out and it was mindless/easy sewing. 

I have been doing a lot of handwork at hospital and at my brother's, but am not doing much machine sewing (I will talk more about that in tomorrow's post). 
I have been admiring Deb's orange peel blocks and decided that might be just the perfect portable project to help me practice applique. So I have cut some blocks from red scraps to start and think this is just what I need! Thanks for the inspiration Deb!
To see what other quilters are doing with their red scraps, hop over to SoScrappy.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Life is full of surprises!

After a long and terrible day at the hospital with my brother receiving his first radiation treatment for cancer that had spread to his brain, I came home to find a wonderful surprise on my kitchen table.
Life is strange that way.
 I had no idea what was in this box.
Imagine my delight to find it was something sewing related!
Singer = Sewing!
But imagine my shock to discover a prized and rare white featherweight sewing machine
Perfect and gorgeous! 

This machine is easy to thread and of course I put her to work right away sewing squares together!

She sews like a dream... such a quiet motor making dainty, perfect stitches!

I burned my hand more than once on the very hot light bulb when reaching through the machine with my right hand to put the presser foot up and down, and had to learn to use my left hand to reach around the back. 

Online research revealed that this beauty is a 221K probably made in Clydebank, Scotland in 1964, born the same year as my sister.
Maybe I should name her "Baby Jayne"??

 It took me a while to "accept" this gift. A long time ago I was talking with friends about our "bucket lists" and how much I would love to have a featherweight someday. Not only did my friend actually listen to my rambling about sewing (she's not a sewer herself) but she gifted me with a beautiful treasure she knew I would love. 
How can you thank someone for that?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Pets On Quilts 2013

It's time for the Pets On Quilts 2013 show! This is a wonderful collection of adorable photos of pets cuddling and playing in/on quilts, and of quilts made with the theme of pets.
I participated in this last year and it was really fun. You can see my 2012 Pets on Quilts post here.
We have a 14 year old Shih Tzu named Miss Molly and she has an adorable personality plus a princess attitude. We just love her to bits! She has to be wherever her people are and will whine and cry if we separate her from the action. 
We had a fun photo shoot when I finished the Mountain Trail quilt can see more photos here.
This year Molly has developed a large tumour in her mouth and the vet predicted she wouldn't last the summer, but so far she seems to be faring quite well.
She still loves to go for walks and her favourite thing is to lay in the sun and cuddle in quilts. Here she is sleeping on my most recently finished UFO.  We hope Miss Molly will live with us for a few more years, but we are thankful for every day we can enjoy her company.
Hop over to the Pets on Quilts show. There are lots of great prizes to be won and don't forget to vote for your favorite pet photos!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Boring Design Wall Monday

There was not much going on in my sewing room this weekend.I putzed around a bit with my red scraps but couldn't really focus on accomplishing anything. A few more spool blocks and some 4 patch blocks were sewn to make into Carrie Nation blocks but I still have a lot more cutting to do.
To see more red scrap projects, hop over to SoScrappy and to see more design wall postings, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Happy Slow Stitching Sunday!

Photo from Sew We Quilt
It's Sunday!
Do you feel happy today?!?
Did you read the "Happy post" on the Sew We Quilt blog last week? 
Very inspiring and completely true (IMHO).
What will you do today to be happier?
It's not magic, and it's not "rocket science"!

Just take some stitches and think of the wonderful memories you have and the people in your life who love you. I guarantee your face will break into a smile and you will feel happy today.
And if you're still not sure, watch this video (*warning - you may need some tissues).

Who will you call?
What will you stitch?
Let's all try to make the world a happier place by working on ourselves.
This is what my happy stitching project is today. 

I am trying the glueing technique for appliqueing curves to make block #48 for my Votes for Women quilt. 
Wish me luck!
Link up your blog post below and share your happy stitching project.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Nabby's Dowry


And you know what that means... another block pattern is posted for the Nabby's Dowry Quilt-Along!
This is a no-stress Pocket Patchwork adventure and I'm really enjoying the process of anticipating each Friday's release of a new block pattern. 

Here are the first four blocks of my version of the quilt-along.
I'm on my way to hop over to Pam's and see what she has for us to sew today!

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Finished Quilt Top!

Another finished quilt top is on the design wall! 
This is the "Up Up and Away" pattern from the book Sunday Morning Quilts.   This is a great book, and I can hardly wait to read Cheryl Atkinson's next book called "A Month of Sundays".

You can read about the "accidental" beginning of this quilt here when I was at quilt retreat in February. Thanks to my "secret sister" (Jake... who's not a secret anymore!) and to Marjorie for their contributions to this quilt!
I have two wedding quilts on the go that I should be working on but just can't tear myself away from this project. I tell myself that I need to finish this because I need a small portable hand quilting project (this is the perfect size tote-along project since it is a baby quilt) to take back and forth to the hospital when I am at my brother's.
However this is not really the truth since I have a lot of hand stitching projects on the go, but this, my friends, is the face of quilting addiction!!! LOL
AND as soon as I finished stitching the top together, I started pin basting so that I could start quilting right away.  Oh my...I just love how it turned out!
We have lots of hospital visits each week since my brother is having chemotherapy for his lungs and radiation for his spine. The cancer continues to spread in spite of this aggressive treatment regime. 
Hopefully this quilt will raise our spirits with all the happy colours and uplifting theme ;)