Wednesday, April 30, 2014

May For Me 2014

Are you signing up for the "May For Me" celebration?  I have participated in previous years and had a wonderful time. Last year we played Bingo during May For Me and we made our own cards! 
At quilt camp this past winter we also played fabric Bingo. Just look at all the creative ideas the players used instead of bingo chips!

We used chocolate kisses, buttons, and bobbins! It was so fun!

Will you be joining in the May For Me celebrations? All you have to do is make time for yourself!  Thanks to Marcia for all the fun and for hosting again this year. Who knows what fun activities will go on in the month of May!?!?
And there is more quilty fun going on over at the Quiltmaker blog this week. Another issue of 100 blocks magazine is being released, and you can see some of the new blocks and win a copy of the magazine (and lots of other great prizes) by participating in the blog hop.
**Warning** ... blog hops can be hazardous to your schedule! Be prepare to lose a lot of time in blogland!! LOL

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Finished the Countdown!

"Countdown to Christmas" is officially finished! This was a free pattern offered by Temecula Quilts back in December.

This is the UFO I wanted to finish this month and I am proud that I accomplished it even before the deadline at the end of the month - that's a first for me!

The machine quilting is very simple but effective -  just diagonal lines following the patterns in the quilt top and quilted with the walking foot. Simple. Really, anyone can do this! Here is the view of the back.

And it has even survived the photo shoot with the cute
Granddog Max. He was not
supposed to be included. I was trying to capture the sunlight streaming through the window to highlight the lines of quilting, but Max loves quilts and this is the perfect cuddle size for him (32" x 40"). Here he is showing the hanging sleeve on the back of the quilt... thanks Max, now GET OFF the quilt!

No quilt is truly "finished" without it's label.

To see more finishes, hop over to A Lovely Year of Finishes.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Design Wall Monday - D4P

I finished sewing the remaining blocks for my Disappearing 4 Patch quilt. Now I am playing with layouts and auditioning border fabrics. Every time I walk by, I change the blocks around again! I wonder how long this will go on??!!
Hop on over to Patchwork Times to see more design wall postings... such great inspiration on a Monday morning!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Slow Stitching and Watching

What do you do while you hand stitch? Sometimes I just sit quietly, or visit with family or friends. But if I don't need the silence or social interaction, this is a list of my favorite hand stitching entertainments:
** I love to listen to CBC radio, which has a wide variety of podcasts to enjoy.
** Did you know there is a weekly Canadian quilt talk show available on podcast?!  How did I not know about this?!?! Brandy Lynn Designs from BC has 40+ podcasts to enjoy while you are quilting.  Click here to start listening while you do your hand stitching (click on live podcasts). 
** Of course I like to listen to Bonnie's Quiltcam episodes which are archived, so if you can't watch it live, you can watch the podcast anytime - click here.
** If I am binding and don't need to focus on the task and can spare a glance here and there, I watch a TV show on my laptop while stitching.
One of my favorite shows is "Call The Midwife". Season 3 has started and you might be able to catch some episodes on PBS - click here. I watched episode #1 while stitching down the binding on my UFO of the month, and saw Chummy (one of my favorite characters) using a hand crank sewing machine. That is definitely on my list of machines to find because no electricity is required which means it would be a perfect camping sewing machine! (You know you're an addict when...)
What do you like to do when hand stitching? Link up your hand stitching blog post below and if you have ideas for shows you enjoy while stitching, please share!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Scrappy Saturday - Last Purple Post

It's the last Saturday of April, which means the last week of working with purple scraps for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge
I am pleased with my blocks this month and did make a good dent in the purple scrap bin. I sewed some Stars - both Alamo and Maverick stars, and some spool and Carrie Nation blocks.  This week I finished up some cute little double 9 patch blocks for the never-ending Omigosh quilt. Each 5" block has 49 pieces, for a total of 196 scrap pieces used in these 4 blocks! WOW!
My last scrappy blocks to finish up this month are purple pumpkin seeds. I have sewn a few while watching QuiltCam, and am happy to be adding blocks to that collection. The finished blocks and an updated photo of the pumpkin seeds will be posted next Saturday.

To see more purple projects being sewn, hop over to visit SoScrappy. I wonder what colour we will be working on for the month of May?!?

Friday, April 25, 2014

Disappearing 4 Patch

Another UFO closet treasure was re-discovered last weekend! I demonstrated how to sew a disappearing 4 patch (D4P) block for my quilt guild a few years ago, and forgot that several blocks were sewn that day. 

I first saw the tutorial here and have had a lot of fun with this block over the years. 
I guess I must really like it, since this is my third D4P quilt! You can see the first quilt here and the second one here

These blocks started with 5" charm squares from the Fresh Flowers fabric line
This week I sewed the remaining squares from the charm pack into the D4P blocks. 
I think I will make a layout 4 blocks x 6 blocks, so I need to find a couple more fabrics in the stash to make up 2 more blocks.
It's a very fresh and spring-like project to work on. On the top right is a possible border fabric. I hope to get these blocks sewn into a quilt top before they go missing again!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

A Mini Finish

I finished this little miniature quilt, which I am calling "Civil (War) Kisses"! Once I decided that scrappy sashings wouldn't work (read more here) the quilt came together really quickly. Because I was using up scraps, the options were limited for the sashing, but I really like this fabric with the little hearts. It was perfect to sash the kiss blocks! The little sashing pieces were cut 1" x 2" - very tiny to work with. I like how the touch of red before the binding brightens it up a bit. The finished quilt size is 8" square.

I love this photo taken in the maple tree in my backyard. You can see that the buds are just starting to grow and soon we will have leaves again!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Treadle Trouble

Sometimes you learn the hard way how NOT to do something.
I wanted to take my treadle machine in for servicing and was unsure of how to remove it from the cabinet.
It seemed to me that the only way was to remove these two contraptions at the back of the machine.
This is not how to do it!  
I should have asked for advice first!
Apparently these screws do not have to be removed, taking the wood with them! There is a little hidden screw at the end which attaches to the sewing machine. Now I know. But how do I repair this wood? Any ideas?
I am missing my treadling already :(

Monday, April 21, 2014

Design Wall - Mini Magic

Sometimes you're just in the mood for a little mini magic and a quick finish. I found a little baggie of partially made blocks in a junk pile storage box ,and just felt like playing with them. The scraps are Civil War reproductions leftover from my Freeze Frame quilt finished in 2010, so they really needed to get sewn up into something!

These are little connecting corner blocks from a workshop I taught many years ago. The background light squares are cut 1.25" and the connecting corner dark squares are cut 7/8". When you sew four of them together they make a 2" block and you can arrange them as either a kiss (X) or a hug (O). To see a Valentine mini quilt I made using this block click here.
I had a little trouble with figuring out the setting for this quilt. I thought it needed some sashing to separate the blocks, but going totally scrappy just looks too frenetic to me. Hmmm... go with only 1 fabric sashing, or a light fabric, or no sashing?
Don't you just love playing in the quilting room?!? There are no life altering decisions to make, no wrong answers - just fun to be had! 
Did I mention that these blocks are 1"?  Yep - this is how big they are! This is not a quilt you would be able to sleep under!
To see more design wall postings, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Slow Stitching Sunday - Cross Stitching

When searching for my DMC floss for my Superpower wallhanging, I came across a box of old cross stitching UFO's. 
These are really old... as in more than 20 years old! And some of the projects were so close to being finished. I was happy to find these little baby bibs that I could easily finish up for gifts. I got totally absorbed in stitching them, and just need to finish outlining the balloon with the teddy bears. So cute! Sure you can easily buy little bibs, but isn't it so much more fun to have hand stitched ones?!?
I haven't done a lot of cross stitching since I became addicted to quilting, and now that I have started working on it again, I remember why I don't cross stitch much anymore...
I just don't have the eye sight for it! These charts and stitches are teeny, tiny, small

For the month of May, I am going to stitch up these loose ends and try to finish up some of these treasures, such as this one. This is part of a pattern by Tedd Arnold and I've always loved it. My stitches are so pretty and just wait until you see the finished masterpiece!

From It's a Small WWW

I am wishing all of my slow stitching friends the blessings of Easter and sending you thoughts of healing love and creative renewal. 
What treasures are you creating with your hands today? Link up your blog post below and share with us!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Rainbow Scrap Challenge

Purple is the colour of the month over at the Rainbow Challenge. I don't think I 
use a lot of purple in my quilts, but I sure do seem to have a lot of purple scraps kicking around here!
I've had a fun time sewing purple spool blocks as leader/enders, and so far this month have finished 36 spools. I am sewing them together in sets of 4, so I have 9 purple blocks to add to my growing collection.

And speaking of collections, I thought I should add a couple of purple Carrie Nation blocks to that block collection. 
I must admit to getting bored with these blocks, but I will keep making a few here and there in order to make the quilt larger. Here are the blocks on the design wall. 
Hmmm... I don't know why I skipped pink month with these blocks? I think it does need some pink and some orange, and maybe a bit more green. What do you think?
Hop over to SoScrappy to see more purple projects. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

FNSI and Mid Month UFO Report

TGIF! It's Friday Night Sew In... are you sewing tonight?!?! I plan to sew until I can't keep my eyes open. I might even make more progress on this month's UFO, which is Countdown to Christmas by Temecula Quilts.  I must admit that it does seem quite odd to be working on a Christmas quilt on Easter weekend!

However, the machine quilting is coming along well and I am actually ahead of schedule for a finish this month! That's a first!
It has been a perfect size to quilt and it has been very relaxing just stitching straight lines.
Next up is making a binding and a label!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What is Your Superpower?

Welcome to the Superpower Blog Hop! It's my day to share my Superpowers!
I bet you didn't know I have Superpowers! Well, I do! But I only made a quilt about one of them! LOL
Guess which one?!?

Getting a full set of railroad tracks put on my teeth when in my 50's was not a good idea. It was agony at times, and the rest of the time it was just plain miserable. My mouth was full of sores and my teeth constantly ached from being poked, twisted, and shoved around.
But I survived having braces and lived to make a quilt about it!
Now...more about my quilt...
The stitchery was done with variegated   DMC floss. I added some metallic thread to the word 'braces' but it doesn't show up well enough to make it worth the trouble of struggling with it!

The machine quilting is a combination of some walking foot straight lines, and some free motion quilting.

The centre block is a paper pieced mystery block from Paper Panache. This is one of my favorite websites, and you can buy this block and many more here.
Did you see the braces attached onto Ms. Sunshine?!? This is the real piece of hardware that was attached to my bottom teeth for 2 years. And now it is stitched onto my Superpower quilt!  

What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger!
A big thanks to Madame Samm and Pauline for giving us another fun blog hop celebrating the Superpowers of our blog friends. You can visit the blogs of the day by clicking on the links below and discover what their superpowers are:

And as a little giveaway for the Superpower blog hop readers, I made a couple of little scrappy mug mats. If you'd like to win one, leave me a comment about what your superpower is, and I will draw two winners from the comments.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Treadling on Tuesday - Max the Treadle Dog

Yesterday I auditioned some scrap strips on my design wall, and here are my newest strips of treadled scraps. They are just sitting on the cutting board waiting to get trimmed up.  I think I need more yellow to throw in there to brighten them up a bit...they are getting a little on the dark side.
I sure am enjoying my treadle project, but it is very challenging to treadle when little Max is around.

My Granddog Max has finished his puppy training course, and he thinks he's pretty smart. But he's definitely not smart enough to learn to treadle! He is fascinated by the treadle and loves to get right in there to see how everything works!

Max - you are not helping at all. Get out of there you crazy treadling dog! 
I should try to get him on video... he could be a Youtube sensation with quilters!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Design Wall Monday - Scraps

I have my treadled scraps on the design wall today. I have been working on this project since I got my Treadle machine, and am piecing the scraps onto adding machine tape.
I found a nice black fabric called "Moda Weave" to use for the sashing. Now I can't decide how wide to cut those black spacer strips.

Should the block sashing strips be the same size as the pieced strips like in the photo on the left? Or more narrow sashing strips as on the right?

What are your thoughts? Which do you think looks better?
To see more design walls, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Slow Stitching Grunt Work

In slow stitching land, all stitching is not created equal :)
Some stitching is what you might call "grunt" that is menial, thankless, repetitious, and boring. Grunt stitching (for me) is thread basting a quilt, or doing a lot of stitching that is boring (quilting with a dark thread on a dark fabric where you can't see your progress or the texture as easily), or searching for and measuring hunks of batting or adding boring borders. 
Attaching the binding on Journey of a Quilter

I know a lot of people who would say that finishing a binding is grunt work, but I love hand stitching a binding. And this week, I have done a lot of binding, without one bit of grunting! 

Binding ready for Celtic Solstice

Maybe preparing a binding might be considered grunt work - cutting strips, joining strips end to end, and pressing all the strips in half. Although it is sometimes boring, I don't mind this task either. I like to remind myself that a bad day spent grunt stitching is still better than almost any other day!! LOL
Since finishing my Journey of a Quilter last week, I had been trying to decide on another project to hand quilt. I finally decided on Always Home, and finished the pin basting with a little bit of grunting.

I plan to start the quilting today while watching the 59th Masters Golf Tournament. It's total enjoyment of the first signs of spring - all that green grass, and beautiful flowers, and birds singing. Oh yah, and the golf is enjoyable to watch too! 

What is grunt work for you? Do you dislike cutting, or basting, or tracing patterns, or binding? 
Link up your hand stitching blog post below and share your progress (or grunting) with us. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Scrappy Rainbow Challenge - Purple Month

We are clearing out the purple scraps this month over at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge
Here are my first 9 Alamo Star blocks with some purplish scraps, and they are cute, cute, cute! I have more blocks cut and ready to use as leader/enders over the next two weeks.

I also started making a few of these scrappy star blocks just for fun. I just used the scraps that were sitting around, and am not sure if I will continue making more of these or not. Bonnie Hunter calls them Maverick Stars - to see the pattern click here.
To see more purple scraps being sewn this week, hop over to the linky party hosted by Angela.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Fantastic Friday Finish!

After 7 years of stitching, my "Journey of a Quilter" is finally finished! It was a long journey and I loved every stitch!
The pattern is by Leanne Beasley with some slight liberties taken along the way in changing some of the stitching.
The finished size of the quilt is 50" square. The piecing of all those little scraps was done by machine, and the embroidery and quilting was done by hand. 
I am delighted that this quilt is finished, but also admit to feeling somewhat sad. As my son used to say "it's a happy sad". This quilt has travelled a lot of miles with me over the last 7 years - to the lake, to the farm, to parks to camp, and to the hospital. I will miss hauling it around with me everywhere I go just in case I have some time for hand stitching. It was kind of like my security blanket at times. I guess I'll need to get another quilt prepped so I'll have something else to drag around with me! 
I am linking up my finish at "Finish it up Friday" at Crazy Mom Quilts.