Saturday, November 30, 2013

Scrappy Saturday - Brown

The colour this month for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge is brown. I sewed up some scraps into brown blocks but didn't make as much progress as I had hoped. Here are my brown spool blocks so far. 
I did do a lot of machine quilting on two quilts with lots of brown... does that count?! One was for a friend (see her brown quilt here) and one was my UFO of the month, which is completely done, done, and DONE! 
Hop over to SoScrappy to see what other folks are sewing with their brown scraps.

Friday, November 29, 2013

New Mystery Starting - Old Mystery Finished!

Bonnie Hunter's new mystery starts today!  
All of my fabric is washed (something I am not usually organized enough to do!) and I am ready to start cutting and sewing.

My goal before starting the new mystery was to completely finish the 2011 mystery, and to finish the top from the 2012 mystery. I am happy to report that I have been successful!
The 2011 mystery 3 Sisters Grace (Orca Bay) was my goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes this month (click here to see more finishes). 

I had a lot of fun with the machine quilting, which is mostly free motion with a little bit of stitch in the ditch. 

The borders were also fun to quilt as I just made up the designs as I went along.
The quilting photos are bad but it is hard to get good detail shots when the weather is so dark and dreary. Hope you can see the quilting lines on the backing here. This is my sixth finish from my UFO wish list (on the sidebar on the right side of my blog) this year!

Left Side
Right Side

And I finished sewing my 2012 Easy Street blocks together. 
Here is my finished quilt top...
in two photos!

It was a challenging project for me due to the large size of the quilt top, the diagonal layout, and the fact that my design wall is about half the size of the quilt.
The quilt top is now about 85" square and I'm considering whether to add the border I picked out or not.  
But today, I'm just enjoying my accomplishments, and am ready to take on the new mystery challenge... bring it on Bonnie!
Hop over to Jo's Country Junction link up to see more "Bonnie quilts" in progress.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Happy Thanksgiving to all the US readers out there in blog land! I hope you have a wonderful day with family and friends celebrating your blessings.
We will be enjoying some of the U.S. television coverage today, especially the Macy's Thanksgiving day parade.

Did you participate in the Sew Sister's Canadian blogathon last week? It was fun to visit old blogging friends and to find some new blogs that I hadn't visited before. AND I won a wonderful package of flannel fat quarters, perfect for winter sewing. Thanks to all the participants for the fun and to Sew Sisters and to Kaufman for the fabric prize! This is what I'll be watching my mailbox for...woohoo!
I wasn't as lucky during the  100 Blocks magazine blog hop over at Quilty Pleasures, and didn't win a copy, so I went out in search of one for myself. Success!
And I just love this magazine so much that while I was there, I picked up an extra copy. So if you want to put your name in the "hat" to win this magazine, leave a comment on this post and I'll draw the lucky winner on my next Slow Stitching Sunday post. Good luck!

One more sleep until the mystery starts! There are so few things in life that are good surprises, and Bonnie's mystery quilts are so fun. If you have been hesitating, thinking you don't have the time or you already have too many quilts to finish, let me encourage you to go ahead and jump into the mystery fun.

The worst thing that could happen is that you hate how your quilt turns out and donate it to a worthy cause! 
Best thing that could happen is that the mystery will encourage you to sit down and make time for yourself to enjoy some sewing at a very busy time of year. And maybe you will even end up with a fabulous surprise - a quilt that you love!!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Celtic Solstice Mystery Starting

Bonnie Hunter's annual mystery Celtic Solstice is starting on Friday and I am so excited! I have enjoyed every Bonnie mystery quilt I have sewn since the inaugural mystery in 2008. 
This is my Quiltville mystery inventory:
1. Carolina Crossroads - started in 2008 and finished in 2010
2. Orange Crush - started in 2008 and finished in 2009
3. Double Delight - started and finished in 2009 
4. Carolina Christmas - started in 2009 and half the blocks became a finished quilt in 2011 (the other half are still in a pile)
5. Roll, Roll, Cotton Boll - started 2010 and still waiting for borders
6. Orca Bay - started in 2011 and hoping to become a finished quilt this month!
7. Easy Street - started in 2012 and very close to being a finished top
I notice that sometimes I follow Bonnie's colour recommendations fairly closely (Easy Street) and sometimes I veer off randomly in a totally different direction (Orca Bay). Sometimes the decision is based on my fabric stash and what I have that will fit the fabric requirements, and sometimes I get inspiration from brand new yardage.
For this year's mystery I am starting with fabric from a Buggy Barn line called "Angels Among Us". I bought some yardage at Ye Olde Fabric Shoppe in Stratford, and am adding scraps and stash pieces that fit with my colour choices.

Neutrals are the background, gold is the yellow, pink is the orange, red is the green and black is the blue. This only makes sense if you have seen Bonnie's fabric requirements and I am writing it out here for when I forget what my plan was!!  
In checking my fabric values, I have one pile of background lights, two light mediums, one dark medium and one dark dark. 
I am a little worried that the gold and pink piles show up as the same value, but hope it will all work out okay. My philosophy for sewing mystery quilts is, if you pick fabric you love, you will probably love your finished quilt. 
And I love this fabric, so it's all good!
Will you be sewing along?!?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Baby Quilt Finished

A universal truth = every new baby needs it's own quilt.
My daughter's new fur baby needed me to produce a jiffy quick quilt. I found some perfect fabric in my flannel scraps bin which was leftover from a flannel dog quilt I made for my nephew many years ago.  Isn't it just perfect for a new fur baby?!?!

I just pieced the scraps, used the pillowcase method  to join the layers, and did two lines of SITD quilting.  
Easy peasy baby quilt! 

OMG Max is so sweet!
I am a proud puppy Grandma!

This is the adorable backing I found in the flannel scraps - snuggly bears for this little fluffy bear cub.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Design Wall Monday - Easy Street

I finished machine quilting one of my Quiltville UFO's on the weekend (woohoo!) and decided I would like to make some progress on last year's mystery (Easy Street) so that it will be a finished top by the time the new Celtic Solstice mystery starts on Friday. I am so close to finishing my "Easy Street" top. 
This is how it looks on my design wall, which is too small for this size of quilt!
Only the first 3 diagonal rows are actually sewn together, but I am making progress.

When I got the Easy Street box out of the UFO closet, I was delighted to see that I had written myself this note.
I love it when I am a little bit organized! I knew exactly where I left off and how to quickly get oriented to the next step. Yay me!

I have all the block components sewn, just need to put a few more blocks together. 
Oh dear... there is a mistake I see on this photo. I hope I don't sew it together like that! In reading over my blog posts about Easy Street, I read that I have already purchased a backing for it. I didn't remember that!  It's just one more reason for writing a blog - to remind yourself of your plans and your purchases! 
Hmmm.... wonder where that backing is!?!?
To see more design wall posts, hop over to Patchwork Times 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Slow Stitching on Sunday - Binding Time!

One month from today is Christmas Eve.
Can you feel your anxiety rising? 
Are you starting to worry? Will there be enough time? Will everything get done? Will my children have a memorable and happy Christmas? Will my extended family have a chance to connect and enjoy the warmth and love of the season? 
I torture myself.
I enjoy making gifts for Christmas, but sometimes I put a lot of pressure on myself to accomplish this, and it takes the joy out of it. 
Today while I do my hand stitching, I am going to think about how I want the next month of my life to work out. I want to make more conscious choices about what I spend my energy creating, who do I want to give gifts to, and what are the most important things about celebrating the season for me.
And what will I be hand stitching while I ponder these things today?
Hah Deb... I finished the machine quilting on my UFO of the month (my version of Orca Bay) late last night! Deb had challenged me to finish this machine quilting and motivated me to work hard to finish it and I did!  Now I get to put my feet up and enjoy each binding stitch - my favorite!

I just love this fabric called "Grace" by 3 Sisters and will enjoy looking at it while I stitch the day away today.
What are you hand stitching?
Link up your blogpost below and share your project with us.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Scrappy Saturday

I cannot believe how fast November has flown by. I seem to be having trouble leaving the black scraps behind and moving on to brown. Some organizing of brown scraps was accomplished this week and progress was made on a few of my scrappy projects.
*I made a few more tiny black 9 patch blocks for Omigosh. I put the double 9 patch beside one of my 3" spool blocks so you could get some size perspective... they are teeny tiny!

*I have  cut a few brown pumpkin seed blocks and hope to have time to finish the applique during TV watching time this weekend. 

*And I scored some brown batik scraps from my friend Marg, from the quilt I machine quilted for her last week. 
She donated some of the scraps for my Alamo Stars. I sewed two more blocks and am looking forward to cutting more to use as leader-enders this week.
To see more scrappy brown projects, hop over to SoScrappy.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Temecula's Countdown to Christmas

Are you keeping up with the Temecula mystery
The next step was posted and I am on it! My block doesn't look much like theirs, but I hope it is right. It was pretty challenging, but I managed to save most many of the star points and match up most some of the seams... don't look too closely!
Did you happen to notice that some of the fabric I am using in the Temecula blocks is leftover from the old Quiltville mystery UFO I am trying to finish up this month?

Deb challenged me to get the quilting finished on this quilt so I could hand stitch the binding for Slow Stitching Sunday.

I am pleased with how the free motion machine quilting is coming along, with only one thread snapping incident  so far. I might actually finish this quilt before the next Quiltville mystery starts next week! 
And I might even beat Deb at her own challenge... woohoo!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

UFO Mid Month Report

It's time for a mid-month UFO progress report. 
My goal is to finish my 3 Sisters Grace quilt (aka Bonnie Hunter's Orca Bay mystery) by the end of November. 
First I spent some time piecing a backing from the leftover fabrics that I bought for this quilt. For some reason I seem to have a lot of leftover green fabric. I can't remember if I just didn't use as much green in the blocks as I should have, or if I was being creative, or perhaps I made a mistake, or did I miss a border or what??? It doesn't matter now I guess!

The quilt top is done, and there was a lot of green leftover, so it is now in the backing and I threw a few leftover blocks in there too!

Here is everything ready to pin baste - quilt top, Warm and Natural batting, and my pieced backing. 

I decided on red Isacord thread for the top and taupe Aurifil thread for the bobbin. I have my favorite basting tool "Kwik Klip" and my pins and I'm ready to get this quilt one step closer to finishedness!

And while I had all the fabric out, I cut and prepared the binding from brown and red striped pieces.

So progress is definitely being made and it is possible that I might get a finish this month!
You can see other mid-month reports over at A Lovely Year of Finishes.  And to see more Bonnie Hunter mystery projects being finished this week visit Jo's Country Junction.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Blue White

In October I wrote about my new/old sewing machine purchase. I thought I had a very rare find because I could not find out much information about it with my internet research. 

Thankfully some blog readers came to my rescue.  
Angie emailed me to say she thought my machine looked a "Singer 15 clone". 
And Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting showed me a blog post about her new Victor which looks exactly like my White, except with fancier engraving and gold decals.
Using the search topic of Japanese or Singer 15 clone has provided a wealth of information, such as this posting on the Sew-Classic blog and this posting at Vintage Sewing Machines. Apparently these machines were mass produced (not at all rare!) in Japan after the war and then specific companies could put their own name brand/badge on them to sell to their customers. Check out this post over at Dragon Poodle Studio where you can see a wide variety of the clones in a range of colours that look exactly like my blue "White", but the brand names are "Royal", "Modern Age", "Remington", and "Elgin"... never heard of them!
I had two problems getting started with my Blue White:
1) When I plugged it in, the motor raced at top speed and it was sewing on it's own! Oh dear... I thought I might have a big repair bill on my hands right from the start.  But my trusty mechanic told me I had just reversed the plugs.  See the 'M' and the 'L' on the receptacle?
I had plugged the light into the machine, and the machine into the light, and it didn't like that! 
How much did he charge me for this assessment? 
Nothing!  That's a great guy that tells you the truth and teaches you something, when he could've milked the situation, charged me a bundle of stash cash for looking at the machine, and/or made up a story about what I "needed" to buy that was expensive and actually unnecessary. 
So home I went to try again with the plugs in their proper place.

2) Then I couldn't figure out how to thread the thing! 
This tension contraption was new to me and the instruction manual could have been written in Japanese for all I could understand. Again, internet research to the rescue. I found a Youtube video which showed me how to wind a bobbin and at about the 3 minute mark, it shows how to thread the machine.
Once I had conquered these two issues, I had to find the 1/4" seam, and then we were off to the races (or as my friend Cynthia says "Bob's your uncle"...whatever that means!)

I have successfully sewn my first blocks on my new/old  "Blue White" machine!  So fun to use and has a perfect stitch.
I am just loving these vintage machines!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Design Wall Monday

I sure am late posting my design wall photo today.
This is what's up there ...

still stitching away on my Temecula sewalong called "Countdown to Christmas".
This is not at all the layout, I was just having some fun and trying to inspire myself to get going on it. I'd better pick up the pace or it will not be ready until NEXT Christmas! I have only finished 4 of the 24 star blocks and 40 of the 140 four patch blocks. But lots of cutting is done and parts of blocks made, so it will start coming together much faster (she says optimistically). The next step has been posted, so I am back to work on my 4 patches!
To see more design wall postings, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Slow Sunday Stitching - For your health

I think you can consider participating in  Slow Sunday Stitching as important as a prescription from your Doctor. If you are not stitching along with us, it could be hazardous to your health! 
From BeliefNet

Don't believe me? 

Read this amazing post "The Lost Practice of Resting One Day Each Week" by Joshua Becker (and note the completely ad-free blog... love it!)

In this current fast-paced world where everyone is connected 24/7, where stores are open 24 hours a day - 7 days a week, where many of us work shift work, and where very few people make it a priority to have a "day of rest", we have forgotten the importance of rest.

Thinking about resting will not help you feel rested!

Thinking about doing some hand stitching will not give you the benefits of actually doing it. 

Reading about the wonderful slow stitching projects of others will give you a wee bit of benefit in terms of inspiration, but it will not help as much as actually doing your own slow stitching on your very own project, for your own health benefits!                              

You actually have to DO it!!

I am practicing what I am preaching believe me! I am resting and slow stitching today. There are only a few more rows to quilt on this project, and I am feeling so happy about it and enjoying each relaxing stitch! 

Breathing...  stitching... relaxing.... ahhhhh...

Today, I challenge you to get out a project you can enjoy and put some stitches in it. Just start with a few stitches, and you will begin to relax, and you'll remember how much your life NEEDS the benefits of hand stitching. 
And your rested, healthier body will thank you. 
Link up your blog post below and share how you are stitching and resting and experiencing the benefits!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Scrappy Saturday - brown

November is brown month - we are turning our brown scraps into quilt blocks. A big part of conquering the scrap pile is being organized, and I am really happy with how the Rainbow Challenge has helped me to actually set manageable goals and create quilts with leftover bits and pieces. This week I cut and sewed 4 more Carrie Nation blocks. 

I just love these blocks and have to admit that I feel proud turning scraps/garbage into something so beautiful!
Working with a specific 
colour every month has also helped me to appreciate each colour in a way I haven't before.  Yummy, chocolatey, rich browns!

Another wonderful thing about these brown blocks is that they are the very first pieces sewn on my new/old White sewing machine. I treated myself to watching the lastest QuiltCam episode while I got to know my newest machine. I will write more about this machine next week, but for now I will just is awesome!

And speaking of awesome...have you been touring the 100 blocks magazine sites? It has given me lots of ideas for new RSC projects. How about this nameless block or Splash to practice my applique skills with circles? Not that I need another RSC project as I could easily continue into next year with the ones I have on the go already. 
To see more brown blocks, hop over to SoScrappy.

Friday, November 15, 2013

You know it's bad when....

I forgot that it is FNSI tonight! Did you sign up? I totally forgot until this morning. I'm blaming Max and his cuteness.

I have been putzing away on my Countdown to Christmas project this week and would like to make some progress on it tonight. I haven't finished sewing the 24 star blocks, but do have them all cut out and ready to sew. 
I also started strip sewing the 140 four patch blocks, but ran out of the background scraps I was using up, so will have to look for some yardage to cut into to finish cutting that step. 
I have been sewing at the kitchen table while I keep an eye on little Max ("housebreaking" always seems to take forever).  And he has already trained me not to let my strip piecing hang over the table. Come back here with my 4 patches!

Well, the little furry creature is barking again. Time for another run to tire him out. Well, I won't be actually running, but he will be! We bought him a little sweater to match my sewing project... not really, it was just a coincidence!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

All New Distractions

I haven't been accomplishing much this week. I missed quilt guild meeting and even missed QuiltCam last night **gasp**
What is going on? 
This is going on...
I am captivated by my new Grandpuppy Max. He is just the sweetest little dog with the most wonderful loving disposition. 

However, our crusty old Molly dog is not sure what to make of this young whippersnapper. She is not at all amused by his antics, and tolerates him at best. I spend a lot of time mediating! I know Molly will get used to having a young 'un around... it just takes old dogs a while to adjust to change.
Also, I have spent too much time on the computer this week, because a new 100 Blocks magazine has been released and the Quilty Pleasures blog is hosting an amazing blog tour. I am having fun visiting the block designers' websites to see some of their blocks and entering draws to win copies of the magazine. During the last blog tour I won a free copy of volume 7 AND a mug which I love (but not as much as I love Max!!). 
So much fun to be had, and so few hours in the day!