Monday, April 29, 2013

UFO defeat

It was my goal to get my Roll, Roll, Cotton Boll blocks into a quilt top this month, but sadly I have to admit defeat. It's coming along well, and I am happy with how it is looking, but the sashings aren't even all attached yet. I am reminding myself that this is a big quilt, and there are 28 blocks with 20 HST points to try not to chop off, so it's really slow sewing.
Not to mention a complicated border that I haven't even thought of tackling yet.
Unfortunately, this thing is going back in the UFO closet as soon as I get the chance to stuff it in there! I need to work on something easier this month!
Hop over to Patchwork Times to see more design walls.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Slow Sunday Stitching

It's Sunday!
Time for rest, renewal, and relaxation.
And how best to achieve this?
For me, it is hand stitching.
This past week I discovered (via the LibQuilters) another wonderful BBC show called "The Great British Sewing Bee"
It's kind of like Project Runway, only with regular people who are sewing enthusiasts. I enjoyed watching the first episode while doing some hand quilting, and can't wait to watch the next episodes. 
My favorite quote from episode #1 was from Tilly :
The last thing you want to do when you're hand stitching.... is panic!


You can click here to read more about the Sewing Bee or watch the episodes on YouTube.
Today I hope to be sitting outside hand quilting - for the first time this year. The forecast is SUN! Woohoo!
Link up your hand stitching blog post below and share what you are working on today.






Saturday, April 27, 2013

Leader/Ender Update

 My current leader/ender project is the Alamo Star block. I've been making them since the fall last year. They are so cute and fun to sew, but I must admit that it is tedious work to cut out all the little pieces...17 tiny bits for each block!
When the colour of the month is announced for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, I get out my batik scrap box and start cutting more leader/ender blocks to sew. This month is green...so here are the Alamo Star blocks I cut out this week to be leader/enders while I finish sewing my UFO quilt top together - before Tuesday! Have I mentioned lately how much I love these Clover binding clips? They are perfect for holding block pieces together! 
Hop over to SoScrappy to see the green projects being worked on this week.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Bonus HST's!

Do you sew a second line on your HST's to make baby/bonus HST's???!? I am fanatical about this and always save these bits. 
When I was looking for some fabric to fill in the side setting triangles on the edges of my UFO's on pointe layout, I found a whole box FULL of little baggies of baby HST's. All sizes and colours...so much fun! 
What a great collection I have! I was remembering the projects (or trash bins) they originally came from and was so excited about what I could make with these, that I forgot what I was originally looking for!


Now what was I doing here in the closet? 

Oh yah...looking for UFO fabric! 
The fabric I had planned to use was just too pink, so I went in search of a green or brown.
So there went another evening of UFO progress/ sewing time wasted!  








Now I only have one more week to sew these blocks into a finished quilt top before the end of the month...yikes!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Earth Day


Did you celebrate Earth Day on Monday? 
I almost forgot about it this year, and the only thing I did was go for a long walk and enjoy Mother Nature and the great outdoors.
I took a walk-about in my little backyard and saw that my rhubarb has begun to sprout up! We love rhubarb, in juice and in desserts, so I was happy to see my patch returning this year.
I also noticed that 
the rabbits have returned (insert sad face). 
This is the evidence I noticed on my Rose of Sharon bushes. 
If you have read my blog for a while, you know that I have been battling the rabbits for the produce in my garden, and as I was contemplating how to build a bigger fence to protect this summer's vegetables, guess who came to visit!?!? 




It was as if he was saying... 
"yah lady, just try to keep me out of the garden"!




Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Treadling on Tuesday

Look at the wonderful spool pin doily that Mary so generously sent to me! I just love it!
I had tried to learn to crochet one of these using the spool pin doily instructions posted on the Quiltville blog, but it was not working out well for me.  I learned that crocheting involves a whole new set of skills!

My first attempt was looking more like a machine cover, than a spool pin doily...
way too big and full of holes.


Just look how perfect Mary's doily looks on my treadle! 
See the little flower decal peeking out from under the doily...cute!
It protects the machine from wear and tear when the thread spool spins around when I'm treadling at top speed, AND it looks adorable too!
Thanks again Mary!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Design Wall Monday - Mid Month UFO Report

My UFO for the month of April (Roll, Roll, Cotton Boll) is on the design wall today. 
Some progress has been made.  The sashing strips are cut, and the blocks are being sewn into rows. I haven't made as much progress as I had hoped to by mid month, but that's okay since I met some other quilting goals in April. I finished my FUN quilt, made some mug rugs, and I machine quilted a memory quilt for a friend. 
Now it's time for some concentrated RRCB focus so I can get the blocks together and put the borders on next weekend in order to meet my goal of a finished quilt top by the end of the month.
Check out more design wall projects at Patchwork Times, and more UFO mid-month reports at A Lovely Year of Finishes.

Slow Stitching on Sunday

This is what is in my hoop to hand quilt today. I am working on block #7 of my eternal "Journey of a Quilter" (pattern by Leanne Beasley).
If you are relaxing with a cup of tea while reading blogs today, here are some fun hand quilting sites to visit for inspiration:
*Hand Quilting Tutorial
*Celebrate Hand Quilting
*Tim Latimer 
And if you want to be totally amazed, hop over to visit Teresa's hand quilting marathon at Fabric Therapy. She is attempting to achieve the impossible! Go cheer her on!


Link up your hand stitching blog post below and share your Slow Stitching project.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Vitamin Q - Stat IM

Such a long, challenging week.
Not enough time for life sustaining essentials - quilting, blogging, and sleeping.
This is a shot of my computer screen...yep, I actually have 267 UNREAD emails!  And that does not include the emails that required a response yesterday (as in work related!) 
Photo from abyquilt.blogspot.ca
I know myself well enough to know that this is a "perfect storm" and must be rectified immediately with some "vitamin Q"...in hospital lingo,  I need the max dose stat IM!

So...today the agenda is:
1. blog DONE
2. quilt
3. sleep
Repeat as required!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Good News - A Finished Quilt!

Machine quilting with walking foot
This is going to be called the FUN quilt! I started it at a quilt guild party with many wonderful friends, and I had such a great time quilting it. 
Quilt Backing

I knew I had to use a "forgiving" quilt design, because the backing was wonky, plus I had stitched together 4 chunks of leftover batting, and that turned out wavy too.
So I decided on a very simple quilt design - just some straight wavy lines (is that an oxymoron?!?) 
Simple. Stress-free. FUN!


If you are not confident about your machine quilting but would like to improve, you must try this. Put on your walking foot and just quilt vertical lines across your quilt. It holds the layers together and it is very forgiving. For more great information about quilting with a walking foot, hop over to PetitDesignCo. and you will find enough ideas and inspiration to last the rest of your quilting days! The walking foot design I used is shown on day 9






I added a scrappy binding and then enjoyed some relaxing hand stitching while watching the Masters golf tournament on Sunday.
The sun even came out to shine on the quilt for a photo op!
This quilt will be donated to my guild's comfort quilt project, and I know it will warm a little girl's heart.

I am linking this post to Patchwork Times and TGIFF...
lots of inspiration to enjoy!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

7 Shirts Memory Quilt

A friend's father passed away last month, and she wanted to make a quilt from her father's clothes as a gift for one of his grandchildren. 
I recommended the "7 shirts pattern" posted on Life is a Stitch blog and she quickly sewed up the top. I promised to machine quilt it for her and finally had some time to work on it.

Quilting the inner part of the quilt went very well, but the border was  challenging. The problem was that some of the fabrics were a tight weave (maybe pants?) and some were a stretchy loose weave (probably pyjamas). And the border was quite wavy in spots where the stretchy fabric was. I made some pleats to ease in extra waves but you can't really tell unless you get your eyes up close to the quilt. So I was happy with how it turned out overall. 



If you look close up, she also added some pockets, and some labels from his clothing.

My friend will add a denim binding from her father's jeans, and it will be ready to be gifted at his memorial service this weekend. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Design Wall Monday - Treadle Piecing

My latest treadled scrap blocks are on the design wall today. Have I mentioned lately how much I love my treadle sewing machine! It defies logic to explain how this is a different feeling from sewing on a regular machine (with "a tail" as the treadlers like to say!). I thought my interest in treadling might wane after the novelty wore off, but NOPE!
What do you think of this layout? 
I think I am liking the vertical orientation (you can see the horizontal layout here), and I like the look of a plain light sashing where the batting on the design wall shows through the strips. 
Hop over to Patchwork Times to gather inspiration from the design wall posting.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Slow Sunday Stitching

Photo by Sarah Allen
All my quilt bindings are stitched by hand - slowly inching along, thinking about the journey of the quilt I am completing, praying for the intended recipient of the quilt, and reflecting on life in general. Sure, you can easily finish a quilt in record time with quick piecing methods, and fast machine quilting (or "quilting by cheque" ie. getting someone else to quilt for you), and then finishing with a machine stitched binding. I've done all of the above when necessary, but my favorite thing is S L O W piecing, quilting, and binding. Quilting is my hobby, my sanity, and my sanctuary, so I need it to be renewing and relaxing.
Just for fun this year I have been keeping track of how many inches of binding I hand stitch each month. 
Here is the binding update...
January - 444"
February - 1,071" (a record never to be repeated!)
March - 190"
I only finished one binding in March, which was my BeAttitudes quiltand the perimeter was 190".
The grand binding total for the end of the first quarter of 2013 is 1,705"!!
Hopefully April's binding efforts will be closer to February's total than March's!!! 
This is the binding I will be stitching down today, and hoping that the relaxation benefits will help carry me through another week of a crazy busy life.
Do you keep track of your binding or slow stitching accomplishments?
Link up your hand stitching blog post below and share what you are working on this week.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Green Saturday


Finally had some time to play with my green scraps, so I started a new Rainbow Scrap project! 
I enjoyed sewing the Carrie Nation block for my Votes For Women sampler, and thought it would make the perfect block to use up scraps. 
I was right! It takes 2.5" and 1.5" squares of both lights/backgrounds, and the colour of the month, which for April is green.
These are the green blocks for my new "Rainbow Carrie Nation" quilt.
To see more green scrap projects, hop over to SoScrappy.


Now I'm off to my sewing machine to quilt this project, which is basted and ready to go!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Good News?

Judy hosts a "Good News" linkup over at Patchwork Times, so on Thursday I wanted to post some good news, so I started a blog post:
"I get to quilt tonight, if I don't fall asleep first! I have everything ready...quilt is pieced, backing is pieced, batting is pieced, and the binding is even made."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Well, that was the start of yesterday's post and you can guess that I didn't quilt, or blog, or accomplish much of anything except chores and sleep. 
The weather has been terrible, and the robins are not happy about being here when the winter is still in full force! 
Where is spring?
Ice storms can look pretty, but are stressful to deal with. There are lots of trees down and power outages around this area.
Just look at my maple tree! All the buds are coated in ice and I am wondering if they will survive this winter? 


Tonight the agenda is quilting, quilting, and more quilting!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Thursday April 11 April Showers Blog Hop

Have you been following the "April Showers Mug Rug" blog hop this week?   There have been so many pretty projects posted and it's only the first week... so much fun and inspiration!
When this blog hop was posted, I immediately thought...
"April showers bring May flowers"! 
And this week has been dark and rainy every single day in my neck of the woods. We are soooo ready for the showers to result in something good!


I had to include some galoshes in my little mug mats ...
one has the galoshes on the front, and the other on the backing.
And I used two of my favorite stitchery blocks in my mug mats. 
These are two of the (free!) embroidery blocks posted last year by Clover & Violet  in their Garden Steps project. Hop over and check out their wonderful designs.



I had so much fun turning these hand stitched embroidery blocks into something useful. 
Both mug rugs have some machine quilting and hand stitching.





I made my mug rugs the perfect useable size for your favorite mug, or tea cup, or cold beverage glass.




I just love this photo...see the "courage" through the glass?!?

If you would like to have one of these mug mats at your house, leave me a comment below. I will pick two winners at the end of the hop.
Thanks to Madame Samm and Madame Erin for organizing all this quilty fun for us!
I encourage you to visit my other mug rug friends and see what special projects they are sharing today...

Kathy @ Kwilty Pleasures
Jill @ Apple Avenue Quilts
Cathy @ Cathy's Chatter
Quilter Kathy @ Kathy's Quilts
Marsha @ Quilter in Motion
Pat @ Life in the Scrapatch
Connie @ Shepody Mountain Crafter
Vickey @ Gingersnaps Quilts
Danielle @ A Geeky Crafty Life
Gwen @ Get More Done...Today
Rachel @ Sew Happily Ever After!

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Backing pieced

I did a bit of sewing last night to piece a backing for the quilt top I sewed at a guild class last month. I just took a piece of stash yardage and added all the leftover scrap pieces that didn't get sewn into the quilt top in order to make a backing big enough to fit. It looks very baggy and messy, but it will probably quilt out, right?!?
I am looking forward to guild meeting tonight when we will get to see the layouts that people designed using the rectangle block at last month's party. I was really hoping to have the entire quilt finished by today, and I have everything ready to quilt this project...except time!
I have also been working on my mug rugs for the "April Showers" blog hop. Here's a clue for what I am making..."April showers bring May flowers".
Hop over to see the wonderful mug rugs being posted at Sew We Quilt...and come back on Thursday to see how mine turned out.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Design Wall Monday - UFO progress

On the design wall is a few "Roll, Roll, Cotton Boll" blocks, which is my UFO to finish this month. And by "finish", I mean a finished quilt TOP!
I have a good start on cutting the sashings and am trying to decide on the cornerstones. I have green on the wall now, but might go with brown. I also decided from this photo that I don't like the half blocks on the outside edges, so I am making progress on the layout choices and will soon be ready to start sewing the rows.
To see more design walls, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Slow Stitching and Connecting

This weekend I attended a party with some of my highschool friends. 
We lost touch with each other for a few years when we were finishing our education, getting married, setting up homes, having babies, raising children, establishing careers... and generally trying to keep our heads above water. But in a wonderful serendipitous way, we have reconnected in the last couple of years and enjoyed some wonderful time together. "Old people" like us always discuss the effects of the technology... the "world wide web", blogging, tweeting, facebook, instagram, etc. 
Then I came across this interesting thought provoking article to read - "Stop instagramming your perfect life".  
So much to reflect on.
This is the quilt that I hand quilted while I visited with my life long friends... stitching together the threads of our lives, and choosing to be "a friend", instead of just "an observer".
I am quilting block #8 on my "Journey of a Quilter" (pattern by Leanne Beasley) not because I have already finished 7 blocks before this, but because this block seemed to be perfect to stitch this weekend.
I am making slow and steady turtle progress...just the way I like it!
What are you S L O W stitching this week? Link up your hand work post below and share your project with us.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Scrappy Saturday

GREEN! 
GREEN! 
GREEN! 
I am starting off this month with a paper pieced Palm Branch block for my scrappy rainbow collection. I hope to get enough dark green scraps together to make a second block this month too.
So that's a total of 8 palm branch blocks so far...oh they are so pretty! 
The pattern is here if you want to make some - try it, it's a fun block to sew and uses up a lot of scraps!
Hop over to SoScrappy to see what other quilters are sewing with their green scraps.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Good News

Over at Patchwork Times, Judy has a link up for "Good News Thursday". 
Well, my good news is that it is now Friday...woohoo!
And I have a few other bits of good news to share...
the robins are back! Of course I have let them know that I am not happy that they are returning so LATE this year! I have been looking for them for weeks, and wondering what is taking them so long to saunter back into town (they mentioned the daily "below zero temperatures" and the snow).
But I love waking up to their songs in the morning, so all is forgiven!
More good news....the colour of the month for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge is green...yum, I love green and miss it so much over the winter! I have been digging around in the scraps and pulling out bits of bright spring green to sew something this weekend.
Also...I found the first season DVD of "Call the Midwife" at the library, so I am having a marathon tonight, and maybe a little hand quilting if I can tear my eyes away from the show!