Thursday, July 31, 2014

July UFO Finished

This quilt was finished in a nick of time, just under the deadline of July 31st! If you see any layout mistakes, don't tell me cause it's too late now! LOL   
It is called "Plaid Beauty", since it is 100% plaid fabrics in the top and the backing. Some of the fabrics were purchased yardage, and some are cut from old shirts. The finished size of Plaid Beauty is 59" x 71". This is a Bonnie Hunter pattern called Blue Ridge Beauty and was started in a Bonnie Hunter class way back in 2010.  

Can you see where I added in a few tiny 4 patches to use up some little plaid scraps?  I think it makes the quilt sparkle!

This is the pieced backing, made from leftover plaids. I think it looks nicer in real life than it does in this photo!

Here is "Plaid Beauty" hanging in the tree in my parent's backyard.

I just love this quilt! It has such happy memories and holds lots of positive energy. The problem now is that I was intending to give it away as a gift. But now I find myself hesitating and wanting to keep it.

This photo shows the feather quilting in the border a little better. 

To see more finished projects, hop over to A Lovely Year of Finishes July linky party.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


As I was quilting the last border on my July UFO, I discovered that the backing is about 1" too short on one end. I knew I was cutting it close, but sheeeesh! The line of stitching at the top is stitched at the edge of the quilt top. Ugh.
I interrupted my quilting to add an extra strip to the backing, making it long enough to cover the edge of stitching, and went back to quilting.

And then there was a second interruption. I had to do some surgical repair on Granddog Max's favorite friends. They don't seem to mind the stitching on their heads!

Here they are - good as new!

Both are missing their ears, which are Max's favorite things to chew!

Okay... back to quilting!!
No more distractions!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

UFO Update

It's getting down to the wire now! 
I have 2 days to finish my July UFO!
While I was quilting, I came across a little problem with a seam allowance. It appeared as though I hadn't sewn that seam at all...can you see it?!?
I paused the machine quilting and hand stitched that little hole closed, and then carried on.

The machine quilting on all the blocks is finished, and I am now stitching in the ditch just before the first border.
So there are just two borders left to quilt. I'm thinking of a free motion feather with a straight spine going right between the two borders. No rush...LOL! I still have two days to finish the quilting and bind this UFO!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Design Wall Monday

On the design wall today are my treadled scraps
There are twice as many columns as are placed on the wall at the moment.
All the scrap strips are sewn to a black strip, and am trying to get a sense of whether I will like this, or need to change it up. 

It seems dark to me. 

Maybe I should not use this many wide black strips?

For sure I need to take the vertical strip of yellow out of there!
Do you have any layout suggestions for me?
To see more design wall postings, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Slow Stitching Sunday

If you are a hand quilter, do you mark your entire quilting design before you start hand quilting? I like to make it up as I go along and as I feel inspired. Right now I am hand quilting my plaid version of "Always Home" and am deciding the quilting design as I come to each block.

I decided to make some X's in each of the little windows and mark the lines when I get to them using a Frixion pen.

I like the little swirl I added here and plan to add more of these.

I need to fill in some of the light background areas with hand quilting and have been gathering ideas from quilting friends. So far the ideas include hearts, stars, birds, sun and clouds. Do you have ideas for designs I should add?? 

My biggest impediment to making progress on this project is the amazing summer weather we are enjoying. I just can't resist relaxing and soaking up the sun! 

Today I will try to do more stitching and less snoozing!
What are you working on today? Link up your blog post below and share your hand stitching project with us.

Friday, July 25, 2014


Not much quilting is going on here. It was such a busy week. This morning I am thinking about thread since Sharon posted about it today.
I love all kinds of thread and in the past have purchased
whatever was on sale. But because my Brother machine prefers the 50 wt thread for quilting, I thought I would try the Aurifil in the large cone size. The large cones (5900m/6452yds) have about 4.5 times as much thread as the spools I usually use (which have 1300m/1430yds).  I have not yet found a price for the large cone which makes it worthwhile to purchase, and you don't get the colour variety to work with when you buy the large cones. Unless I find a great deal on the large cone, I think I'll stick with the regular size that I like to use that fits nicely on my machine.
BTW... I tend to watch the Tristan website for Aurifil thread deals.
Okay... better get going and put this thread to use!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Machine Quilting a UFO

The machine quilting has begun on this month's UFO - Plaid Beauty. When I start working on a quilt, I always quilt stabilizing lines from the center point out to the borders in all directions. I've finished those 8 lines and now I'm coming back to the center and stitching in the ditch on the diagonal of the light/dark HST blocks and straight through the light chains.

It has been a little bit more challenging quilting this one because the fabrics are all plaids and are more stretchy than most other cotton quilting fabric. But it's not terrible and I'm sure "it will all quilt out"!

Maybe all I need is a little more coffee! 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Treadling on Tuesday

My parents were traveling in Pennsylvania and found a very special gift for me - a tiny little treadle machine! Isn't that the sweetest thing?!?  I just love how much this little treadle looks like my big treadle - that it is painted to look exactly like my treadle cabinet's wood, and has two drawers on both sides with gold drawer pulls.

The card that came with it says it was made by "Clay Designs" by Esther O'Hara.

Just look at the size of the new treadle compared to my old treadle! I just love it, even though I can't actually sew on it. It's looks like a Mama machine with it's baby machine ;)

I am treadling away on my scrap strips and have come to the end of my black sashing strips, so the next step is to remove the paper from the back of the scrappy strips and get them up on the design wall. 
Tonight is QuiltCam, so I'll "see" you there!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Design Wall Monday - Finished Quilt

A finished quilt is on the design wall today! It is Pam Buda's Market Day Sew Along quilt. Pam's version is red and blue, so it looks quite different from mine. Also, I added an extra border around the original design and I really like how it turned out. 
A big thanks to Pam for a fun sew along... can't wait for the next one!

It is quilted in straight lines with the walking foot to emphasize the diagonal lines of the design.

And here the quilt is off the design wall and enjoying a photo shoot by the creek at Deanna's country paradise.
To see more design wall postings, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Slow Stitching Sunday

Are you going on vacation this summer? One of the great things about hand stitching is that the projects are portable. You can take them anywhere with you! You will be amazed at how putting in a few stitches here and there will add up over time. And you will be amazed by the relaxation benefits of slowing down, and taking your time to be present in the moment, while you enjoy your stress-free hobby.
I took my hand quilting project camping last week. It was a gorgeous day with bright sunshine and blue skies, but not too hot or humid... just the perfect day for stitching! 

So there I sat, in the middle of the woods, and got out my hand work bag for some hand stitching relaxation. I hand quilted a few more blocks on my "Always Home" wall hanging.

And while I was stitching, what were the kids doing for relaxation and fun?!?



Not relaxing for me at all, even as a passive observer.

Ahhh.... now this is better!
My needle and thread in hand, putting some slow stitches into cloth. 
I feel better already!
No matter where you go this summer, remember to take time for some relaxing hand stitching.

What are you working on? Link up your blog post below and share your relaxation with other hand stitchers.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Scrappy Saturday

Today I am having great fun sewing at my friend Deanna's house and playing with red scraps. Here are some blocks waiting to be sewn together.

Just look at this pile of scraps that needs taming. 
I have been sorting and cutting pieces for more scrappy spool blocks.

Our friend Barb shared her July Shop Hop adventures with us. Here are the blocks she has collected so far, and the fabrics she has purchased along the way. Such pretty blocks for a red and white quilt! If you live in S. Ontario, this looks like a really fun summer project to enjoy!

And we are enjoying the beautiful red poppies in Deanna's garden!

To see more red postings, hop over to SoScrappy.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Mid Month UFO Update - Plaid Beauty

With all of my exciting projects on the go, I can hardly tear myself away to work on an old project. But my goal for July is to finish this UFO, so I must force myself to make time for it.
I have finished the pin basting and have prepared the binding, so the next step is to get going on the quilting!
First I have to crank up the air conditioning because it's hot in my sewing room and I work up a sweat when quilting a large quilt on my regular domestic sewing machine.
Off I go... I have two weeks left to finish this quilt and meet my goal.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

IOP Update

The Indian Orange Peel blocks are coming along amazingly well. After I sew a block, I just stand there staring at it, marveling at the beauty of all the points and the smoothness of the curves. 
Here is the latest finished block. 
I love each and every one of these batik fabrics. YUM!

And here is the next block all prepped and ready to go. I just have to cut around the freezer paper template, and remove the paper from the back of the curved pieced units, and I'm ready for sewing more curves - which I am loving!
I will consider myself an expert when I complete this project, since I will be sewing a total of 120 curved seams!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Can you relate to my love/hate relationship with technology? 
I love love love my MacBook computer... best purchase ever! But when it doesn't work, and acts up for no apparent reason, it can be so frustrating.
I recently spent about 6 hours at the local "Genius Bar" getting my computer fixed. Even the best geniuses are no match for my "old" computer! 
OLD, you say?!?!
I started laughing out loud, and I mean laughing LOUDLY, because I remembered a Ron James comedy routine. He is one of my favorite Canadian comedians . If you haven't seen his computer rant, I posted it here for your enjoyment. If it's not your kind of humour, at least fast forward it to 4:45 to hear my favorite part about "old" computers.

Okay... back to the Genius the teenaged employees stared at me like I had lost my mind, while I laughed at nothing except my memories of Ron James' definition of "old". Too funny! 
Well, thankfully I haven't lost my mind, and luckily for me nothing was lost on my OLD computer. But it sure was a big "wake up call" for me. I need to back up everything to make sure I don't lose several years of precious memories/photos. 
The geniuses told me that I had to buy a new external hard drive to replace my old broken elephant. 
Say what!?!? My elephant hard drive is hardly used and just a few years old. But they said it was broken, so who am I to argue with a genius?
Of course I bought the new hard drive.
And just look at the difference in size (and amount of cords etc) between the old and the new one!
Look at the difference in width of the devices!
Okay, so maybe the big elephant in the room is OLD!
And so am I!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Treadling on Tuesday

I have been treadling a bit here and there on my old 1901 Singer. I am joining the scrap strips together and then sewing those long strips to the black sashing that I cut a couple of weeks ago - click here to read more. You can't see the black sashing in this photo because it's under the paper. I am drawing my 1/4" sewing line on the edge of the paper as I go along to make it easy to be accurate.
I am removing the paper from the seam allowances where I joined the smaller strips together because it's so hard to pull paper out from under a seam allowance once you've sewn over it.
Have I mentioned lately that I love my treadle machine?  It's unexplainable really and difficult to express how very soothing and relaxing it is for me when I sew on a treadle. 
I should have some progress to show on this project soon. And I am starting to get ideas about how I might hand quilt it!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Design Wall Monday - Triangle Stars

The stars are back on the design wall! 
To read about how I got started on sewing this quilt back in May . click here.
The quilt is coming along quite well now, and I am more familiar with how to sew the triangles together in order to get the points to be MIA. I like how the tumbling blocks appear in the center of the stars.... except the green yellow one on the bottom left.
Oh dear... the star appears to be upside down! 
Where's the seam ripper?!? 
The quilt is now in three long panels, and I need to sew a plain white triangle border for each side. It's very close to joining the "to be quilted" pile!
To see more design wall postings, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Slow Sunday Stitching - Another Rug

This week I started another rug using Aunt Philly's Toothbrush pattern. I have already made 2 of these rugs - you can see rug #1 from 2012 here and rug #2 from 2013 here. They are great scrap eater projects, are fun to make, and I enjoy having them in my home.
It's time to start rug #3 for 2014!
But I can never figure out the starting instructions and always consult with my friend Louise to help me get started. Two crafty brains are better than one! Last week I went to her house for a visit and some help in getting started. Even after starting so many rugs, we struggle each time. We read the instructions, we look at the diagrams, and we say "is that how it goes?" about 100 times! It's tricky! And it never looks right, until all of a sudden it starts to work.
We had a lot of distractions (never a dull moment on her farm!) but still we managed to get two rugs started while being entertained by the chickens and the non-stop activities of the children!
Today I am going to put more stitches in my new rug and remember sitting on my friend's porch, laughing at the antics of the chickens, having great conversation and food, and always wishing the visit was longer.
What are you hand stitching today? Link up your blog post below and share your project with us.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Scrappy Saturday - Red

For the month of July we are working with our red scraps over at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. I cut and sewed some of my red scraps to make 36 more spool blocks.
I just have to sew them together in groups of 4 and am looking forward to finishing them up today. 
Hop over to SoScrappy to see more red scrap postings.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Market Day Reveal

**Spoiler Alert**

If you are sewing Pam Buda's Market Day Sew-Along and haven't finished it yet and solved the mystery, don't keep reading today's blog post!

The final step was posted last week and if I wouldn't have become recently obsessed with my IOP blocks, this project would have been completed already!

However... here is the big reveal:

I sewed the miniature version, so it measures 11" square right now. Pretty, eh? I changed the gold in  the centre block (you can see it here) and I like it better now. 
I have an idea for a pieced border and look forward to some sewing time over the weekend to try it out.
Did you make your own Market Day? The parade posting is not until September, so I have lots of time to quilt and finish this little cutie before then!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

IOP Update

I have an Indian Orange Peel obsession.

It's all I can think about.

After it languished on the design wall for 3 years with little attention, I am now obsessed with it! It's craziness!
The most time consuming part now is removing the paper from the back of the arcs before I piece the curves.
I can't wait to sew another curve and finish another block. I practically squeal with excitement each time I am successful!

I still cannot believe it!

Look here - I even joined two blocks together and it was easy. Everything fit amazingly well!

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Indian Orange Peel Revival

The Indian Orange Peel blocks have re-appeared! I have been struggling with this quilt for more than 3 years now. But the struggle is over and progress is being made! Previously I could work a whole afternoon trying to complete a block, struggling, and removing stitches and trying again. It was so frustrating (click here to read more sordid details!)
And I gave up on it for a while.

So what has recently changed?

1. I took a curved piecing class with Pippa Moore at Quilt Canada last month which instilled confidence in my ability to painlessly piece curves on a sewing machine. In the class I sewed several blocks and it was totally fine - I was shocked! No tears! No swearing! No ripping out stitches at all! 
Her tips included: 
a) stitching s-l-o-w-l-y (hard for me to do, but it works!) 
b) using the "3 pin method" - pin beginning, middle and end of seam, and 
c) not pulling or stretching the fabric.
At one point in the class Pippa said "when you are ready to start sewing the curve, let me know and I will come over and help you". So I did. And Pippa came over and stood there. And she didn't even say anything but something magical happened... and ta-da, I could sew curves! 

So when I got home, I took out one of my orange peel blocks, and started working on this project again. I reminded myself how to cut the center of the block using the template and freezer paper.

2. Then The Quilt Show posted a free video of Jacqueline de Jonge demonstrating how she sews the complex curves on her amazing quilts. She recommended taking the paper foundations off the units before sewing.  
After I watched the video, I bravely try sewing the curves on one Orange Peel block without the paper and it was soooo much easier. SO MUCH EASIER! I was a little nervous about stretching all the seams, but nothing happened and the block lays quite flat!

I am so happy! 
I feel like I can now complete this quilt. 
And I am actually looking forward to sewing the remaining blocks! 
I can't believe it myself!
Hmmmm....perhaps this is a life lesson for me to learn about how to overcome challenges?!?