Sunday, August 31, 2014

Slow Sunday Stitching... Green = Life

Can you believe the summer is over? The weather here was perfect for me this summer - not too hot, with lots of sunny days, and lots of rain. The grass was green all summer, we didn't get the usual city-issued water ration warnings, and there were no brown-outs from lack of electricity due to a high need for air conditioning.  
I am sad to see summer coming to an end. 

And sad to remember that one year ago today was the last day of my brother's life. As I stitch some green seed blocks today, I will remember him and be grateful for all the love, the music, and the fun energy he brought to my life.
beautiful quotes, gras, green, quote, text
Remember to "water your grass" today, and to give thanks for all your blessings and the people in your life who really love you. 
I hope you will join in with all of us slow stitchers today, and pick up a needle and thread and enjoy some hand stitching.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Scrappy Saturday - Green

Isn't green such a great colour?!? This time of the year we are surrounded by the beautiful greens of nature and I can't get enough of them. However, I have seen more than my share of lovely green grass, which has grown like crazy this summer!
Those of us who belong to the Rainbow Scrap Challenge are working with our bright green scraps this month. There has been a little bit of progress on my pumpkin seed blocks. One block is finished and 3 are in various stages of completion. The green colours are "off" in this photo, but you get the idea of what I'm sewing. I'll keep working on these tomorrow for Slow Sunday Stitching.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Marcus Sew Along

The first five blocks of the Marcus and Friends Designer Sew Along have been posted.
The fourth block is my favorite so far (bottom right). It was fun to sew and although it had unusual cutting measurements (1/16" of an inch?) my block came out to the right size!
Block five is posted at Olde Green Cupboard and looks like another fun block to try.
Why not join in the fun of this mystery sew along? You can use any fabric you have on hand and substitute colours as you like - it's your quilt so you can do anything you want!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

August UFO Finished!

My second finish this week is my August UFO called "Fandango and Friends"!

This is a quintessential scrap quilt which has some newer light scraps (Fandango scraps) to perk up the old ones (ancient scraps).  This quilt was 4 years in the making and actually includes some of my oldest fabrics. It is a half hexie pattern inspired by Jamie's tutorial.

I quilted vertical scallopy free motion lines roughly following the hexagons. It was easy to do, but I see places where I could have tried harder to be more consistent with the shape - perhaps if I was concentrating more and singing less (to the newly released album by Factory City!)

I repeated the scallop shape into the borders right out to the edge of the quilt. It was all just "eyeballed" - no marking or measuring.
This is one of my favorite parts... hand stitching the binding. I find it so relaxing, and it's one last chance to stitch in some prayers, and admire the quilt before it goes out into the world on its own!
Linking up to A Lovely Year of Finishing and Hexie Weekend.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Getting a bit organized

When you have been quilting for a long time, you go through several organizing systems that change over the years. As you accumulate more UFO's, and fabrics that you don't love as much as when you bought them, plus the patterns you want to make "someday", and inspiration books for your collection, and threads to match your projects... well, you get the idea. It's a lot of stuff.
In my next life, I want to come back as Teresa - check out this organizational system. But until then, if I don't want to end up on the Hoarder's show, I need to get my mess under control!
 I thought it might help if I ordered a few more bins to inspire me to get more organized. So far, so good. 
However, one of the discouraging things about cleaning out "the stuff" is realizing how many unfinished projects I have that I really like. I either have to have less new projects coming in and/or more finished quilts going out. 
The good news is that tomorrow I will hopefully have one more finished quilt to add to the "finished" list!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

2014 Rug is Finished!

My 2014 rug is finished!
This is a small, two colour rug for my kitchen.  I used the Aunt Philly's Toothbrush tool and instructions. 
To see the other rugs I have made, click here for 2012 scrappy rug, and here for 2013 co-ordinated blue and yellow rug.
I bought yardage on sale for this rug (as opposed to using scraps) and it took 4 meters of fabric. 
I wish there was more green to add around the outside, but that is as much fabric as I had. So this rug cost me $16 to make...not bad for a rug that is machine washable that will outlast me! It is the flatest rug I have made so far.

I tried to teach my grandpup Max how to pose for photos but he had a difficult time comprehending.
"Okay, so you want me to do what?"

"You want me to actually sit on the rug and I won't get in trouble?"

"Show me the treats, and I'll think about it!"

He is a work in progress!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Design Wall Monday

On my design wall today is a log cabin project I have been sewing for a long time.
I posted some possible design layouts last week (click here) and am really loving the 'on point' layout that reminds me of a sun setting over the water.
I have about 1/3 of the blocks finished, and about 1/3 very close to being finished, and the last 1/3 barely started.

Life is good... drinking tea, and sewing seams on a pretty featherweight.

I have really been enjoying the relaxing and repetitive sewing of these log cabin blocks. 

Even the usually boring pressing job is fun with these blocks! I am singing along to the recently released song "Come be weightless with me" by my daughter's very talented friend Mike Meacher. You can check it out here. All the amazing underwater photos were taken by Mike.
Hop over to Patchwork Times to see more design wall postings.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Slow Sunday Stitching

Downton Abbey is filming their 5th season. Being a huge Downton fan, I am rewatching shows from season 3 and 4, so that when season 5 starts in January, I will be ready! I have enjoyed seeing the clips of various characters hand stitching.
Lady Grantham - Slow Sunday Stitching
Anna - Slow Sunday Stitching
Dowager Countess slowing down

The upstairs folks are embroidering, and the downstairs folks (the staff) are mending. My favorite character is the Dowager Countess, and although I have never seen her stitching, she does recommend slowing down!

What will you be stitching today? Something decorative and beautiful, or something necessary and boring?

I hope you make time to slow down and enjoy some hand stitching today.
I will be continuing to practice applique stitches on my green pumpkin seed blocks. 
Please link up your hand stitching post below and share your project and progress with us.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Scrappy Saturday - Green

I first saw this star block over at Leehaven about 3 years ago. About two years ago I decided to mini size them and made a block 2.25". Now I freely admit that I am addicted to making them! Still!
This week I made a concentrated effort to cut some batik scraps for a few more stars using green as either the background or the star. These are leader/ender blocks and I put them through the machine between sewing seams of other projects, so no thread is wasted.
I am trying to remember to use more dark backgrounds, but seem to have a problem with that. I'll cut more pieces to sew next week with darker backgrounds!
To see more green scrap progress, hop over to SoScrappy.

Friday, August 22, 2014

TGIF - Marcus Sew Along

It's Friday, so it's time for a new Marcus Designer's Sew Along block reveal.
This is my version of block #3. It was very easy to sew - all HST blocks. That icky green colour might be growing on me a little!
Block #4 will be posted today. Hopefully there will be more blue (less green) in this block.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

UFO of the month - 4B's

August's UFO is coming along nicely. I have now covered the 4 B's - border, backing, batting, and binding. I found a wonderful piece of paisley yardage in my stash that was perfect for the border and binding, and bought a pretty blue wide yardage for the backing.

The quilt is now pin basted and I have prepared my machine for quilting. 
I always change my needle and oil my sewing machine before I start machine quilting a new project. 
The plan is to quilt vertical scalloped lines with my free motion foot. 
Off we go....

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

IOP Update - Derailed again!

You know how it is when you're working on a long term project and fall in love with the scraps from that project, and have to start a whole new quilt?!? 
I have been working on my Indian Orange Peel quilt for almost 4 years now. And it has generated a lot of great scraps, which if you are a scrap lover (addict) is so much fun!
The first pile of scraps I loved was all the cut off bits from sewing the paper pieced arc blocks. I turned those scraps into a quilt called "Shattered" which I finished in 2013.

Now I am smitten with the scraps from the sides of the IOP blocks which are cut off before sewing the curved seams to attach the arcs.
See the half moon shape I just cut off there?
Oooohhhh pretty!

I decided to put all the half moon scraps on the design wall to see how it might look. It was so fun to play with various layouts, and I came up with this idea.

Oh my goodness! YUM!

Now I can't focus on the Indian Orange Peel blocks because I am detoured by these lovely scraps.

I think I have a problem and may need someone to save me from myself!! LOL

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Treadling on Tuesday

Progress is being made on my treadle scrap quilt. I am working with this project one design decision at a time. I posted the scrap strips with the black sashing on my design wall last month - see that post here.
From that post I decided that I wanted to sew two scrappy strips together to increase the scrappiness and decrease the blackness. Reducing the amount of black sashing in the quilt makes it look much happier don't you think?

I clipped the pile of strips into sets of two to sew together, and drew the 1/4" seam line on the paper foundation for accuracy in sewing. I sewed a couple of long strips together during Quiltcam last night and started removing some of the paper on the back.

I really like treadling these long seams as compared to all the short seams I've sewn on these strips. FUN!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Giveaway winner

I forgot to announce the closest guesser of the number of
spool blocks in this pile (see Saturday's post). The number of 6" blocks I have sewn so far is 123 which makes the total of 3" spool blocks...drum roll please
... 492! The two closest guessers were Butterfly George at 480 and Margaret at 500. Email me your address and I'll pop a fat quarter in the mail. Thanks to everyone who played along by leaving a comment with your guess.

Tonight at 9 pm I will be sitting right here...
treadling scraps together while watching Bonnie on QuiltCam.

Go get a project to work on and join us!

Design Wall - Mid Month UFO report

Can you believe it is already the middle of August? 
On my design wall today is my UFO of the month.
I haven't made much progress yet. The first part of the month is always the "thinking" part. It takes time to decide what the next steps are and what supplies are needed.

I trimmed down the sides of the quilt and added an inner border using up all of my remaining scraps from the Fandango line.
Now I can't decide on the outer border. I don't want to piece something complex because this will not be a quilt that I keep.
I just want to finish it, so adding a solid chunk to the outside will let me get on to the quilting part. I have purchased a batting, and a backing that just needs to be washed, and then I can get this old UFO finished!
To see more design wall postings, hop over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Slow Sunday Stitching - Applique

Applique is something I've always wanted to do, and I really admire appliqued quilts. It has been a gentle learning curve for me and since I know that the only way to improve is to practice, I have been practicing on "pumpkin seed" blocks. You can see some of my first blocks, and the tools that I use on this post.  Over the past year, my needle turn applique has greatly improved from all this practice.

I was able to confidently applique these four blocks for my Votes For Women quilt last year. 

I only had one more block (block #49) to finish for that quilt so I thought I'd work on that for Slow Sunday Stitching this week.
It was a simple block really, and I just had to construct the wedges, then applique the curve. It went so quickly, it's already done, so I had to look for something else to applique today!
I came across a beautiful free applique block of the month pattern. If you like applique, maybe you will be enticed to start this one - Sycamore Rose.  I was able to exercise restraint (*snort*) and haven't started it (yet!)

It's back to my pumpkin seed blocks for more applique practice today.
What are you hand stitching for Slow Sunday Stitching?! I hope you will slow down today and make some time for stitching! Link up your post below and share your hand work project with us.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Scrappy Saturday Giveaway

It's scrappy Saturday! 
I have been digging in the scrap bags to find some bright greens to cut and sew this month. This is my favorite 3" spool block with the Grinch's eyes in the middle! 
So far in August I have sewn 8 spool blocks, which when joined together give me two more 6" blocks to add to the growing pile. 
The spool block was the Bonnie Hunter leader/ender challenge from 2 years ago (see the post and the pattern here). I was late to get in on the spool craze and started making blocks last summer.

Here is the pile of spools I have made so far.  Can you guess how many 3" spool blocks are in this pile?!? (Hint - remember that each block in the pile is made from 4 spool blocks) 

The closest guesser will win a fat quarter of one of my favorite green fabrics. Good luck! 
To see more green scrap postings, hop over to SoScrappy.

Friday, August 15, 2014

TGIF Sew Along

It's Friday and you know what that means?!?

A new block for the Marcus Designer Sew Along!
I finished sewing block #2 yesterday and it was as fun to sew as block #1. It was tricky to get the HST's going the same way as the pattern. And even as I posted the photo on my blog, I rechecked again because it doesn't look right - but it is right!!
I don't know if I'm liking that reproduction green (read more about the 'ick' greens) but maybe it will grow on me?
Block #3 (of 9) will be released today over at Homestead Hearth

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Mindless Sewing

I always like to have a machine ready to go with mindless sewing. The project needs to be one that requires zero cognitive ability. It's the kind of sewing that you can do at the end of a long day when you are exhausted but want to sew. You can just sit down at the machine and start putting pieces under the needle - no cutting to do, no matching required, no decisions to make. Just sewing. 
My mindless project is sewing these log cabin blocks on my Sweet Baby JayneEach block has twenty 1" logs to attach.  It is relaxing and easy sewing. 
And sometimes boring.
And that can be a good thing sometimes!
I had to buy more of the darker blue fabrics, so that has proven to be somewhat of a treasure hunt. 

But fabric was finally found that is "close enough" (thanks to Deanna and Barb) and I could proceed with sewing the 100+ blocks.

I have finished sewing 28 blocks and couldn't wait to put them on the design wall.
Here are some possible design ideas...

What do you think?
Do you have a favorite log cabin layout?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Adding to the herd

I am almost embarrassed to admit to my blog readers that I have acquired two more sewing machines! I know. It's out of control. But what could I say when a faithful blog reader asked me if I would like an old sewing machine or two? Of course I said YES! And then she told me they are 301s. I gulped and tried to remain calm, but couldn't wait to meet them, since I don't think I've ever seen one in real life.
So, here are my new old machines which are both Singer 301s. 

Meet machine #1 - a long bed Singer 301

Maybe she was a school sewing machine because she has the "T419" with permanent marker written on her? 
According to this article on dating your Singer, the machine's serial number is NA349993 which indicates it was made in 1953 in Anderson, South Carolina.
Look at this interesting sticker on the bottom of the machine. Canada was trying to take some credit here!

Meet machine #2 - a short bed Singer 301

Her serial number is NA294165, so she was also made in 1953 in Anderson, South Carolina.
These sewing machines must be long lost sewing sisters. 
And since they were born in 1953, I think I'll call them Lucy and Ethel! I can't think of more appropriate names for the 1950's, can you?!?!

These machines also came with some attachments, but I don't know what all these things are yet. I do know that the two bobbins that were in the box are not for the 301. One is plastic (no plastic for these old gals!) and the other bobbin is too wide for the 301 bobbin case.

Can you see the difference?
The bobbin with the grey thread is the right one. 

I have started to get to know them. First I read about them on line - Judy Laquidara loves her 301s and I read her review here
More interesting information about 301s can be found here and here.
Then I started cleaning and oiling the machines, and buttering them up by telling them how beautiful they are. And then it was time for the big test... can they sew?!?!
First time out of the gate, they both sewed beautifully. Yippee....they both work and made a perfectly tensioned stitch!
They also have a very unique sound when they sew that I really like. It's amazing how each machine has it's own voice. 
So now I am a "collector" apparently. 
And sewing machine collectors call their machines "the herd".  These old gals gravitate to my herd because they know I love them and they will be used and well cared for.  (For a funny blog post on my kind of "problem", click here)
A big thanks to my blog reader Liz who allowed me to adopt these beautiful Singers into my care.