Saturday, February 28, 2015

Scrappy Saturday

It is the last week for using up pink scraps over at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. I didn't get as much done with my pink scraps as I had hoped this month, so I might extend my pink sewing into next month. I did add some pink scraps into two finished quilts this month - a Valentine's Day quilt and my Scrap Squad quilt.
And another appliqued pumpkin seed block was finished to add to my collection. I have been making these seed blocks since the summer of 2013 and have quite a collection. But I don't have enough blocks for a large quilt yet. 
The pumpkin seeds are sewn on 4" squares, so the finished block is 7". If I want a layout of say 9 blocks by 11, I would need about 100 blocks. I have 45 blocks made so far. It's a great take along project, so I will keep sewing the seeds :)

To see more Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects, hop over to SoScrappy.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Quiltmaker Scrap Squad Reveal

Today is the day that my Quiltmaker project is posted on their blog. It is my first quilt as a member of the 2015 Scrap Squad. Put on your sunglasses - it's a bright one! 
Here it is! It was a very, very cold and windy day when I asked my brave friends to help me take a photo of the quilt outside. We took about 3 shots and had to run inside to warm up before we got frostbite!
The goal of the Scrap Squad is to take a pattern published in the Quiltmaker magazine and demonstrate how you can use up fabrics from your own stash to make the same pattern, but with your own twist on it.
My version of the quilt pattern called "Pointed Prisms" was made from some of the left over fabrics from last year's Super Bowl mystery. I also added in some wonderful spring colours - greens, yellows, pinks, and oranges from my stash and used white yardage for the background.
I made my quilt one row shorter than the pattern, so the finished size is 67" x 73".
It was a very energizing quilt to make in the middle of the winter, and I had so much fun machine quilting it. I used up at least 4 old spools of thread in the process. 
Who says you can only use one colour when you are quilting? These are the thread colours I used to quilt the brown triangles.

I worked on the quilt when I was at quilt retreat, and it will always remind me of the wonderful friends I have found in the quilting community.
Can't wait to get started on my next Scrap Squad quilt!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Quilt Guild Challenge

For our quilt show this year, my quilt guild is having a challenge. We received kits with two Fat Quarters (which you can see here) which must be visible in the quilt, and the theme is "Nightscape". I really enjoy participating in a challenge, and since the guild has hosted a quilt show, I have never missed a challenge. So fun!
I plan to make a mini quilt and a small wallhanging, if I have time before the deadline, which is less than 2 weeks away. I have been thinking, and cutting fabrics, and sewing blocks, and getting closer to possibly sewing together a quilt top that resembles (even slightly) my vision.
The HST blocks have been  on my white featherweight machine which is such a dream to sew on. We shall see how pieces come together over the next two weeks. One thing is for sure - quilting life is never dull!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

4 B's

This week I've been working on Borders, Backing, Batting, and Binding.

I put the Borders on my UFO of the month... finally. 
Nothing complicated. 
Simple and done.
Nothing like leaving it until the last minute! I'm fairly certain that this quilt won't be finished in the month of February. 

I have been working on a Backing for this UFO. I prefer a pieced backing if possible, and have been cutting polka dot fabric strips to sew a large block log cabin block for the backing.

I bought a new 18 meter roll of Warm and Natural Batting. This should last me almost to the end of the year - approx. 2 meters used per bed quilt, and 1 UFO finish per month from now on = 22 meters. I like having this on hand and being able to cut the size I need with less wastage.

And I needed to finish the Binding on my Scrap Squad quilt, since the finished quilt will be posted on the Quiltmaker blog on Friday.  It needed to get done in a hurry, and although I usually love hand binding, this one gave me hand cramps. You know what they say about "too much of a good thing"!?! It's all fun and games until the blisters and the muscle cramps start!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Design Wall Monday - Log Cabin Blocks

It has continued to be very cold here this week. This was in the local newspaper last Monday.... minus 34 degrees! We are keeping warm by quilting. Well, maybe that's not what everyone is doing, but that is what I am doing!

I have been sewing my blue and yellow log cabin blocks and have the first fews rows made.  

I decided on the blue fabric for the setting triangles (thanks for all the suggestions and ideas on Monday's post). I used the chart on Bonnie Hunter's blog to determine the size of the setting triangles - click here to read her lesson on how to calculate the measurements.
Hope you are keeping warm where you are!
Hop over to Patchwork Times to see more design wall posts.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Life is Beautiful

Ever since I finished my Journey of a Quilter project, I have been wanting to start a new embroidery project. I've decided to start stitching a pattern called "Life Is Beautiful" (not to be confused with a wonderful movie by the same name Life Is Beautiful, which I highly recommend!)

This is a quilt pattern by Helen Stubbings which was released in 2009.  I got the pattern from Peg a couple of years ago when she was finished making her blocks. 
The delay since then has been because I couldn't settle on a colour scheme that I was willing to commit to for a l-o-n-g time! You can see some possible colour combinations here. Perhaps the reason I haven't decided is because I haven't found the right colour combination yet? 
But I did go ahead and pick out some variegated DMC floss and jump in with the first stitchery. The pattern book includes iron-on transfers, which I've never used before. It was quick to do, and was much easier than tracing by hand with a light box. 
I cut the muslin just big enough to fit in my 8" hoop and I am using 2 strands of the floss and an embroidery needle.

What are you hand stitching today? Link up your blog post below and share your project and your progress, or lack thereof :)

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Pink Blocks

Not much progress has been made on my rainbow scrap projects this week. I did sew 2 Alamo Star blocks (2.25") and 1 Omigosh block (5"). They are cute blocks... but they sure don't look like much up there on the design wall by themselves!

We are "enjoying" some intense winter weather here this month and we are expecting more snow today. However, we don't have nearly as much snow as the folks out east have. Look at this cute clip of how the dogs are dealing with the weather. 
And to see how the rainbow scrap quilters are sewing their way through winter, hop over to SoScrappy.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Canada Block Challenge

This is the challenge block I made for the St. Jacobs Quilts Show Block Challenge. The theme for the challenge was "Canada", and all blocks had to include the maple leaf fabric.
I got the inspiration for my block from the Quiltmaker blogpost for the 4" Bitty Basket Block pattern
I made 4 baskets and realized that when I sewed them all together the block would only measure 8", and the rules stated that the block must be 10".  So I added 2" of sashing through the middle to bring it up to the correct size. 

There are 97 pieces in this little block and although it looks big on the computer screen, it really is small out in the real world! It was fun to sew but I am glad it is finally finished, because today is the last day to submit the challenge blocks. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Finished Gifted Quilt

This is my version of the Temecula Quilt Company's mystery quilt called "Hugs and Kisses". It was such a fun and quick project to sew. What took quite a bit longer to complete was the hand quilting. But I enjoyed every stitch since I made this for a wonderful friend. With every stitch sewn I thought of all the fun and laughter we have shared over the years we have known each other. 

This quilt is full of love and prayers and smiles. Miniatures quilts are just the perfect gift for someone special!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Scrap Squad Quilt

I have been working on my first Scrap Squad quilt, but the quilt reveal won't happen until later this month. I can show you some sneak peaks though :)

I do not ordinarily use pins when sewing seams, but on this quilt, I am using many pins. The pattern has a lot of bias edges that could stretch, and a bazillion points to match, so using pins is a necessity.

And there are a lot of dog ears to trim from triangle ends, which of course I am keeping. Aren't they so pretty?? I am looking for a little jar to store them in. 
Why, you ask?!? 
Why not?!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Sew, sew, sew...

My first quilt for the Scrap Squad is well underway. I have been sewing up a storm on my machine... or should I say making a dust storm? I had to take a break and give my machine some TLC. I cleaned out the bobbin area, replaced the needle, and gave the machine a good drink of oil. 
(Two of my quilting friends recently confessed that they only change their needle when it breaks! Say what!?!?)

Here is my little plastic bin full of the necessities for some sewing time at a friend's house... weather permitting. As you can tell, my first Scrap Squad quilt will be made with bright spring colours and I can't wait to see how this all comes together! Today we are having temperatures nearing minus 30 C!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Design Wall Monday - Log Cabins

My log cabin blocks are on the wall today. The on point layout is my favorite for these blocks and I have been auditioning stash fabrics for the setting triangles. I don't want to buy more fabric, so it's going be one (or all) of these!
yellow floral (left)? or blue floral (right)?

yellow at the top? blue at the bottom?
Do you have any feedback about these options?
I hope to get these blocks into a quilt top this week.
You can hop over to Patchwork Times to see more design wall postings.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Slow Sunday Stitching Attachments

I have been finishing a mini Valentine's quilt this week. It has been very relaxing to slowly hand quilt this cute project, smiling the whole time, and filling it with loving thoughts for the person who will be receiving it. 

I am not using a hoop to quilt this and have found it to be a very different experience. Some of the hand movements are different, and my left hand does get tired from holding the quilt. It was workable for a mini quilt, but I don't think I would "go hoopless" for a larger quilt.
Julie and I were "chatting" about how hand stitching a project results in feeling a stronger attachment to it. It's a simple, directionally proportional equation...
the more time is spent, the stronger the connection is.
It makes sense in stitching, and in relationships.

Hands of my quilting friends

Speaking of which, I am planning which of my projects to take to my upcoming quilt retreat. I can't wait to be with my friends again. The same gang of us have attended quilt camp together for over 10 years. That's a lot of life lived, and a lot of stitches we've taken together!

Today I will be hand stitching the binding down on my Valentine's mini quilt.
What are you hand stitching today? 
**Please remember that Slow Sunday Stitching is a celebration of hand stitching only. If your blog post is about machine stitching, there are lots of other linky parties for you to participate in. Val has a great list of quilt related link ups on her blog - click here to check them out. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Scrappy Valentine's Day!

The February colour for the Rainbow Scrap quilters is pink. I have been using little pink Alamo Stars as my leader/ender pieces for this month's sewing, and this is my progress so far...

4 alamo star blocks using pink as either the star or the background.

Cute as a button! 

It might not look like much, but what it means as a leader/ender project is 16 seams per block times 4 blocks = 64 seams sewn!

To see more scrappy projects, hop over to SoScrappy.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Happy Friday the 13th!

The Hugs and Kisses mini has been unsewn and resewn, and is finally ready for hand quilting. It is pin basted, threads are chosen and the stitching has begun.

I am trying two new things with this quilt:

1) I am not using a hoop. I have read in a few Slow Sunday Stitching link ups that some hand quilters don't use a hoop, so I thought I'd try it out and see if I like it.

2) I am using this quilt as a test run for eucalyptus batting. The packaging says it is good for machine or hand quilting, and so far it is needling fine by hand. The price was good, but I have no idea how it will hold up over time, and I could not find much information about that from Mr. Google. Have you ever used this type of batting? 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Hugs and Kisses

My mini Hugs and Kisses quilt top is making progress. Here is my layout without the outside setting triangles.

I was happy to find just enough fabric for the inside squares. That fabric was already a bias binding on two previous valentine's projects (here and here), and I'm using up the last bit of it in this quilt.

I am motivated to finish this quilt for a gift, and I would really like to hand quilt it. So I was rushing yesterday to sew my basket test block AND get this quilt top sewn together. The basket block went together perfectly.

In my hurry to get this sewn together, somehow between the layout stage and the sewing stage, something happened. The hugs got sewn together, the kisses got sewn together, and a corner triangle was hanging down. 
How on earth...???
The rest of my sewing time was spent unsewing.
Maybe tomorrow this will be a finished quilt top?

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Bitty Baskets

Have you seen the Bitty Blocks on Quilty Pleasures
On the first monday of each month a new free block pattern is posted. I wasn't enticed by the January bowtie block, but I was quite smitten with the 4" February basket block. I got out my collection of baby HST blocks, and opened up one of the baggies to try just one block. The 1.5" HSTs are the bonus triangles from my Angel Solstice quilt. I only needed to press and size them. I love the Bloc Loc ruler for trimming HSTs. It has an indentation underneath the ruler that snugs up against the seam and makes it easier to trim the blocks accurately. It's an expensive little ruler, but I think it was worth my money for how often I have used it.

And here is my test block.
Uh oh... I can tell right now that these are addictive. It went together smoothly (since I had the tiny HSTs already made), it is tiny and adorable, and I am using up scraps. 
What could be better?

Monday, February 09, 2015

Design Wall Monday

On the design wall/cutting board today is a new project for Valentine's day. This is the Temecula Quilts sew along called Hugs and Kisses
I haven't yet finished the Valentine's quilt they posted last year (click here to see it) and here I am starting another one *sigh* 
But it's just a small quilt, so it doesn't really "count" as a new quilting project. It counts as using up scraps. How's that for rationalization?!
So far we have made 6 kisses (9 patch) blocks and 6 hug blocks. The cutting took way longer than the sewing. 

The next step will be posted today, so I am hopping over now to see what to sew next!

To see more design wall postings, visit Patchwork Times.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Slow Sunday Stitching

I have to start today by saying thank you for all the encouraging comments left on my blog yesterday.  I am a lucky person indeed to have so much positive energy to spur me on in my new adventure on the Scrap Squad
Today I will be calming down from all the excitement and enjoying some hand quilting on one of my scrappy projects - Always Home. I hadn't worked on this one since last summer and would like to finish it so I can hang it on the wall and enjoy it every day.
I am using my usual strategy of making up the quilting design as I go along. Using a ruler and frixion pen I mark some lines to roughly guide my stitches. I am using a lot of mustard colour of thread on this quilt because it seems to melt in with these plaids.

This pattern is by Country Quilts and is perfect for using up 1" scraps. (For local readers, I bought my pattern at the Heart 'n Home quilt store in New Hamburg.) 
Every time I pick up this quilt to add a few stitches, I remind myself of the challenges of working with loose weave homespuns. See how it looks wobbly on the right hand side? See how the red apartment building is leaning slightly to the right? It's not just the photo - it is wobbly. I love it anyway... just like my home, wobbles and all!

What are you stitching today? Link up your blog post below and join the hand stitching party.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Exciting Scrappy News!

I am so excited to share some happy quilting news with you. I have been accepted as a member of the 2015 Scrap Squad for Quiltmaker magazine! I submitted my application at the beginning of January, and was almost beside myself when I found out that I was accepted as one of the 6 members for 2015. I am the only Canadian scrapper on the team this year, so I really have to represent - no pressure!

What it means to be on the Scrap Squad is that over the coming year I will make 6 quilts from their magazine patterns using my scraps. Those quilts will be posted on the Quiltmaker blog called Quilty Pleasures. Here's my new photo for the Quilty Pleasures posts (with my "Dotty for Kaffe" quilt in the background).

So now I really have to get organized. Seriously. This pile/mess will not suffice! These scraps need to spruce themselves up, blow the dust off, and become irresistible.
Before I start my first project, I'm getting my scraps in order so I can find what I need, when I need it.

Today I will be sewing up some pink scraps. I have started a new Valentine's project from Temecula Quilts called "Hugs and Kisses". Here are the tiny pieces I have cut so far plus 60 little 1.25" squares... don't you just love mini quilts?!?!
Hop over to SoScrappy to see what the other rainbow scrap quilters are sewing with their pink scraps this month.

Friday, February 06, 2015

Building Log Cabins

Do you remember the log cabin project?
This has been my "no thinking required", mindless relaxing piecing project for a long time. I have my white Featherweight set up to sew exclusively on these blocks. 
What a wonderful machine!
I adopted this project from someone's UFO closet. She had already precut much of the fabric before she fell out of love with the whole shebang. I sewed as many blocks as I could and then I needed to search out more blue fabrics to cut logs for the remaining unfinished blocks.
Thanks to my quilt friends Deanna and Barb, I was able to get some similar blue fabrics that were needed to continue on... quilting friends are the best! You would really have to get your nose up to the blocks to see the different blues that have been added.
So I have returned to building more log cabin blocks, but when being distracted by yummy cookies, I admit to having made a few errors. 
Where's that seam ripper?!?
I missed QuiltCam earlier this week, so today I will watch the archived version over at YouTube, and "visit" with Bonnie while I do some unsewing.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

FInished Quilt #3

I don't think I showed my finished QPOM (Quilt Pattern of the Month) on my blog. You've seen me working on it, but here it is completely finished... even the binding is done. I enjoyed every part of working on this quilt, and really like the idea of flying geese blocks side by side for a border. The pattern is by Jackie Syer of FRJ Designs. 

I don't often sew with solids, so using the brown for the border was a bit unusual for me, but I like it, particularly how well it shows the quilting. I do wish the corner quilting design met together in a way that the diamonds would be the same size as the diamonds that are down the rest of the borders. But the photo I took conveniently doesn't show that, and now I seem to like it more. It's funny how that happens! This is finished quilt #3 for 2015!

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

February UFO

Okay so I was a total fail for January's UFO of the month.
I like the quilt and wanted to work on it, but kept being distracted by other projects and didn't get to it. Several times it was on the design wall and I did audition a few border fabrics, but just didn't make a decision.

Bad self discipline.
I just ordered a new roll of batting, so I have no other excuses now since I won't have to piece together a batting.
So, Sweet Treats is back on the list for the February Lovely Year of Finishes.
January's UFO is still February's UFO.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Grand Illusion

The snow continued to fall here yesterday and through the night, with lots of shoveling happening today to find the sidewalks and dig out the vehicles. 
Yes... I know that I should take down the Christmas decorations, but it's snowy and cold outside!

Bonnie Hunter is having a link up for the Grand Illusion mystery quilts being made from her mystery pattern - click here to see the quilts. I worked hard on mine last week and got it to this stage.

If you follow my blog you might remember that I had to remove my green fabric all together. The green fabric I bought was ...       je ne sais quoi ... too flat, or too grey, or too dull? As soon as I removed the green, I liked my quilt so much better. That issue doesn't happen when you go scrappy (instead of using yardage like I did) because with a wide variety of different greens in there, it would have all worked together. Lesson learned!
Anyway, I made 12 blocks, removed the green sashing strips and have started working on the borders. I have lots of the blue and the cream floral fabrics left, but not much of the other fabrics, so am not sure what I will do next in terms of adding more borders. It was such a fun mystery to sew, since I love lots of small pieces to put together like a jigsaw puzzle! To see more mystery quilts, hop over to Quiltville.